The great Carajas Project was devised in 1980 and it covered one tenth of Brazil’s 900000km squared land area. The main purpose of the project was to mine iron ore. Other minerals were mined in Brazil such as Gold, Manganese, Bauxite, Copper and Nickel but there were low resources of these minerals so are mined from smaller mines. Also, they are ranching and refining aluminium.
The great Carajas project is situated in the heart of the rainforest and is powered by the hydroelectric dam in Tucururi.
Two rivers run into the reservoir – the Rio Araquaia and the Rio Tocantis- the dam has flooded a lot of the rainforest. The Tucururi dam was built between the years of 1976 and 1984 intending to power the project. The dam’s construction caused the reservoir to cover over 2000km squared of rainforest and had many problems. Chemicals contaminated it and the rotting vegetation of the trees led to an increase of micro organisms which will extract oxygen out of the water and kill fish.
A large train that travels on a railway that runs from Sierra Dos Carajas to Sao Lui transports the minerals to the port where the minerals are shipped to other countries. The train journey takes 24 hours each way and travels a distance of 1380km there and back. The trains are 200 wagons long and take about 3 hours to load. There are two main mud roads that run through the project area – The Brasilia-Belem highway and The Trans-Amazon highway. The heavy rain often makes these roads very muddy.
The project cost ï¿½2billion and it was intended to be shared with an American and a Brazilian company but the American company backed out. $3.5billion was invested from different sources including the EU and the World Bank. The project had an annual income of $25 billion and has kept it since 1985.
1.6% of land was deforested to make way for the railway and buildings. 30000-60000 hectares of rainforest are cut down per year to provide charcoal for the 25 pig iron furnaces. The more plants that were created, the more trees that will get cut down resulting in habitats being destroyed.
The biggest mineral extracting mine is in Sierra Dos Carajas where they mine for iron ore. There is a 200m deep hole which is continuing a further 200m deeper. They have predicted enough iron ore to mine for about 400 years. This hole alone produces 8% of the world’s iron ore. The iron ore obtained from this site has to be cleaned and purified – it is high quality iron ore, 66% pure iron ore. The Great Carajas project gives several thousand jobs and is highly secured with a 4 metre fence running round it. All of the employees live in the area with their families.
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