Brazil, 1979. While swimming in a river near Serra Pelada, 430 km south of the mouth of the Amazon River, a boy finds a small gold nugget. Soon word of his discovery spreads; hundreds of prospectors arrive within a week, then 10,000 within a month, followed by 100,000 over the years. The mountain is transformed into an open pit mine, where thousands of miners shouldering sacks of minerals scramble up and down ladders. An emblematic place, immortalized by SebastiÁ£o Salgado in a famous account, but now a small lake contaminated by the accumulation of mercury used in gold mining.