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Pará, Brazil - Economy
Industry. All terciary industry of Pará is concentrated in Belém. Most production is for internal consumption. Timber is exported, but with very little added value; much of the production is smuggled.
Primary sector. Since colonial times, the economy of Pará was based on the exploration of natural resources. Except for a brief period in the end of 19th century, when rubber became a valuable commodity, most of the production is based on the so called drugs of jungle (drogas do sertão), which grew naturally in the wild forests and were later on cultivated: black pepper, juta, manioc, castanha-do-pará. In the fertile areas near to rivers, tradicional products are cultivated for subsistence: rice, beans, corn, etc.
Cattle farms are found in the island of Marajó
Energy. The most important hydroelectric plants are Tucuruí and Curuá-Una; before these plants, built in the 1980s, much of the energy was of thermal origin (still important source).
Minerals. Pará is probably the richest State in Brazil, when it comes to minerals.
Serra dos Carajás has proven large reserves of iron, cupper, manganese, niquel, aluminum, thin and gold.
Large veins of manganese were found in the basin of Rio Vermelho.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the government authorized exploration by individuals of the gold veins of Serra Pelada; soon, adventurers from the entire country rushed in, and dug the biggest hole in the world. Today, the zone is closed, but it is estimated that plenty of gold is still to be explored.
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