In the Amazon’s Wild West
Christophe Cousin begins his journey in the heart of the forest, at the iron mine of Carajas, in the heart of the Amazonian wild west. It is the largest iron mine in the world. A train trip and a few days later, he stops in Serra Pelada, where there are “cowboys” on every street corner. Obviously this is no longer the gold mine portrayed in Salgado’s photos in the 80’, but it still retains a good measure of gold rush spirit. They keep digging and they keep looking… Chico does it in his kitchen. Underneath, he has a shaft 90 feet deep where he still nurtures his hopes of wealth. But times have changed. Now the giants of the mining industry are casting their shadow over his hole. Our route also crosses the region of Eldorado dos Carajas. Here, the forest gives way to ranches. We meet real ‘rancheros’, cattle ranchers with branding irons and jingling spurs. The train stops at Sao Luiz, in the state of Maranhão, which was colonized by the French. The town’s historic centre has remained almost intact, while at its port the iron reaches the sea.