The asbestos open pit we are going to visit today is the richest pit in the world that lacks crocidolite and tremolite – substances harmful for people. The deposit was opened in 1885 during development of gold placer. The first tones of asbestos were extracted in 1889.
Initially asbestos was extracted without any system. They made shallow holes and many separate pits were developed. Asbestos was obtained with a shoulder-blade and transported with help of horses and stretchers.
In 1901 they initiated explosions. In 1904 railway lines were constructed making the process much easier. In 1922 the deposit was systematically examined.
Later they estimated the field reserves located 100-150 m and 300 m deep. The pits were increased in size. They started to use excavators instead of a tram. Soon the nearby city was approached and all the residential and industrial buildings were demolished.
The Central and Southern pits were connected with an automobile road. But after the pit expanded it was not safe to use the road anymore due to the huge and deep holes of the pit around it. The road you see in the picture was closed.
Two lakes were buried in the pit. The picture shows an old part of the city, an entrance to the stadium built in 1930. The stadium is not there anymore.
This is how two pits were connected. In future all the numerous shallow pits will be united in one big pit which will be 11.5 km long (about 7.15 miles), 2.5 km (about 1.55 miles) wide and 700 m (0.43 miles) deep.
Approved reserves of asbestos will guarantee the presence of work for the next 100 years.
The cargo is transported both by cars and by trains.
Today the pit is 300 meters deep and has the following sizes: 2,3 x 1,3 km (1.4 x 0.8 miles).