This place is in the Akmola region, Kazakhstan. Here gold is mined. The history of the mine reflects the history of the country itself. It underwent declines and stagnation but finally it managed to revive.
There used to be a small pit here which for 33 years turned into a huge mine 135 meters deep and as wide as 1210 thousand square meters.
Victor,55, has been working at the mine for 33 years.
He is one of those who still remember how it all began. How a small pit was slowly growing. In the middle of the 90s there was even a period when gold was not mined at all because it became very cheap (260 dollars per ounce) and the work was not financed. People had to wait for work for months. But in the middle of the 2000s the mine seemed to start its second life. They got so needed investments at last. To revive the production they needed 700 million dollars.
For the last two years they managed to mine as much gold as they had been mining for 20 years – 11,5 tons!
Now they are working nonstop.
24/7 excavators bucket the ore and load huge Caterpillars with it which transport it for crushing. Then it will go via the conveyor to the factory where gold will be extracted.
The project output should be eight million tons of ore a year. However they mine only six tons yet. Two grams of gold is found in one ton of ore. All this colossal work is done for this tiny amount of gold.
One dumptruck “CAT-777″ weighs seventy tons but its lifting capacity is 90-100 tons. It’s like a huge ant that can lift a cargo heavier than the truck itself. Besides, drivers say that CATs are even easier to drive than cars.
When CATs appeared here each was given its own name: “Jaguar”, “Vanguard”, “Golden antelope”, “Orange”, etc.
Drivers say the work has become much cleaner with such vehicles.
This is an excavator RH 120-Ð• TEREX. Its long-term performance is 2000 tons per hour. Only its bucket itself has a capacity of 15m Â³.
The process of gold mining was absolutely different. The ore was irrigated with a solution of sodium cyanide and extracted from the rock. But that method was effective only for oxidized ore, amount of which was gradually decreasing. So they needed new technologies and big investments. Now they blast the rock and extract gold in a more sophisticated way.