In Brazil, most small-scale miners work on secondary deposits. They use pumps and suction hoses to get the auriferous soil processed on sluice boxes. On the rivers, the secondary deposits are exploited through the use of balsas or dragas, a technique which was pioneered in the Brazilian Tapajós region. 

In the 90s and later, many Brazilian garimpeiros (small-scale gold miners) migrated to other Amazonian countries to try their luck. In their cross-Amazonian movement, the Brazilians introduced their mining techniques in neighboring countries. Initially, garimpeiros crossed the border with small hydraulic pumps (1” and 2”) that could be carried around. Once they had established themselves in an area, they switched to larger and heavier machines. Also balsas and dragas are now used in neighboring countries.

In the past years some larger operations, more mid-scale than small-scale, have started working with sophisticated equipment in the Tapajós mining region. They also work on primary rock deposits, using excavators and bulldozers.