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An entrance to the mines, April 17, 1894.

A bridge connects different parts of the
mining works, December 27, 1893.

Erecting additions to the mining works,
October, 1893.


click any of the photos for more detail.

The Saint John d'El Rey Company was a British joint-stock company that operated a number of gold mines in Brazil, including the world renowned mine at Morro Velho in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Though people had long known that substantial deposits of gold ore rested in the hills of Minas Gerais, prior to the mid-nineteenth century few large scale mining operations existed in that state. That changed when the Saint John d'El Rey Company entered the fray with British capital, mining experience, and a license from the Brazilian government. logo

The mine at Morro Velho reached its height of fame in the 1890s under the able leadership of Superintendent George Chalmers after a disastrous cave-in had shut down operations for a good part of the 1880s. Chalmers not only expanded and modernized the operations at Morro Velho but also documented the progress through a series of photographs compiled into albums and kept by the Saint John d'El Rey company until it ceased its endeavors in Brazil in the 1950s. The albums, along with the rest of the Saint John d'El Rey Archives eventually passed to the Nettie Lee Benson Collection at the University of Texas at Austin.

The photographs on this page and in the exhibits linked to at the bottom of the page are scans of originals in the Benson Collection that date from the 1890s when Morro Velho experienced its rebirth and dramatic growth.

Power House
The Morro Velho Power House, ca. 1893.

Cable Cars
Mine cars travel up and down the mountain,
September 22, 1894.

A Panorama of the mineworks at
Morro Velho, ca. 1894.

Powering the Operations
Powering the Operations
The Role of the British
The Role of the British
Working the Mines at Morro Velho
Working the Mines at Morro Velho
Mining Technoloyg of the 1890s
Mining Technology of the 1890s
The Self-Sufficiency of Morro Velho
The Self-Sufficiency of Morro Velho
Additional Materials in the 
Additional Materials in the Archive
Last updated: May 3rd, 2010.
Created by: Beau Steenken - Graduate Research Assistant
Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin
Please send comments to: schroer@mail.utexas.edu

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