The Saint John d'El Rey Company
cut its own primitive roads.
Luckily, Brazilian oxen are quite hardy.
Self-Sufficiency at Morro Velho
click any of the photos for more detail.
Located as it was in the rugged and heavily forested mountains of Minas Gerais, the mining operations at Morro Velho necessarily included much more than just the mines. In fact, the Saint John d'El Rey Company built an entire support infrastructure as well. For instance, the Company cut its own roads and constructed its own buildings, including residences for the mine employees.
Of course, such large-scale construction required a substantial amount of building materials and tools. As it was significantly cheaper to produce the materials locally than to import them, the Saint John d'El Rey Company constructed a number of shops for everything from woodworking to blacksmithing and tool-making.
The local operations at Morro Velho also took steps to provide for the site's safety. For instance, mine workers constructed and maintained a fire hydrant system. Also, miners could qualify as crack shots for gold shipment guard duty. In fact in the 1890s, Morro Velho was nearly entirely self-sufficient, which was a good thing considering that the nearest rail line was over a hundred kilometers away.
The Saint John d'El Rey Company constructed residences for its employees. Not all of them were as
lavish as the manager's house seen here.
|Last updated: May 3rd, 2010.