Olintho Pereira da Silva


The first Portuguese pioneers who entered the newly discovered Brazilian lands were not succesful inthe prospection of precious metals and stones. The primitive inhabitants were not enough cultivated toextract the metals from the rocks. They lived in the stone age yet. They became the sole valuable productof the “entradas” ventures. The mining in Brazil started when, in the end of the XVIII century, goldplacers were found in the lands which were later named Minas Gerais.The beginnings were terrible. The rich placers were depredated, the environment heavily spoiled byunskilled and thoughtless miners.The Portuguese royal authorities tried to recuperate the mining activities by sending to Minas Geraisthe German Metallurgical Technician, the baron W.L. von Eschwege who did a great effort to improve thegold and diamond mining works and to create alternative metallurgical undertakings.During the Imperial Times, several English ventures were organized to continue exploiting gold depositsin Minas Gerais. The majority failled being succesfull. English capital left Brazil when the South Africangold rush started in 1886.By 1910, American entrepreneurs tried to exploit the rich iron ore deposits found in the heart ofMinas Gerais state. Political controversy prevented the American from implanting the projected iron oreundertakings. Now, looking far back, some doubts remain about the feasibility of the proposed ventures.The year of 1934 marked important dates for the Brazilian mining legal structure. In 1942 werecreated the Companhia Vale do Rio Doce and the Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional.In the second half of the 1960 decade started the best times for the Brazilian mining, but by 1982 thepolitical and economical turmoils reverted the trend. Wild gold rush bursted out with great politicalsupport.In 1988 a constitutional assembly elaborated a new Charter in which foreign capital was forbidden tocontrol a mining company and the wild mining activities were deserved an encourageous treatment.Minas Gerais has always been in the heart of old mining history. This prominent position was affectedwhen the Carajás district came upon. Nobody may say this trend will be reverted.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18285/geonomos.v3i1.217


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