Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

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.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

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.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Victor,55, has been working at the mine for 33 years.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

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!

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Now they are working nonstop.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

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.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

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.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

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.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

When CATs appeared here each was given its own name: “Jaguar”, “Vanguard”, “Golden antelope”, “Orange”, etc.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Drivers say the work has become much cleaner with such vehicles.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

This is an excavator RH 120-Е TEREX. Its long-term performance is 2000 tons per hour. Only its bucket itself has a capacity of 15m ³.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

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.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

First of all the deposit is measured observing the strict technological regime. Then geologists determine the presence of gold-bearing ore.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Then drillers start their work. They drill small pits sixteen meters (52 ft) deep which are going to be blasted.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

The explode the rock twice a week. One hour before an axplosion all people and equipment leave and the electricity is turned off.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Then the same process starts. The excavator buckets the ore and loads it on the trucks which bring it for crushing.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

The ore is crushed to the size of a fraction (350 mm (14 inches)). Then it goes to roll-presses and further to ball mills.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Crushing is carried out in two stages.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

When the ore is fully crushed gold finally can be extracted.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

In 2007 they built a spacial factory for gold extraction. At its full capacity it can give fifteen tons of gold a year. Today Kazakhstan produces more than twenty tons of gold annually, if they start producing thirty five tons the country will be among the fifteen biggest gold mining countries of the world.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Any visitor is strictly examined before entering.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

“This person is responsible for your safety today”.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

And this is a control room from where one can observe the entire production cycle.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

This is a ball-mill “Outotec” specially made for the mine. There are no analogues of such size anywhere in the world.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

This flotation machine is intended for separation of gold from other non-ferrous metals.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

It’s the flotation and gravity shop.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

The gravitational process is based on the use of the force of gravity, when minerals are separated from waste rock due to the difference of their density and particle size. This principle is illustrated by the separation of sand from sawdust when it is thrown into the water: sawdust floats while the sand sinks in water.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

The final product resembles mud but it’s probably the most expensive mud in the world.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

This is the shop of hydrometallurgy, where gold is also extracted from the ore by means of aqueous solutions with certain chemicals.

Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]

This Dore bar is what they get in the very end. It contains 80 % of gold and 20 % of silver. Such bars are sent to the refining factory where they turn into ready bars of precious gold.

via voxpopuli

17 thoughts on “Kazakh Mines, Akmola Region: Where Gold Comes From [20 pics]”

      • Actually, it is:
        Greed is the inordinate desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects of abstract value with the intention to keep it for one’s self, far beyond the dictates of basic survival and comfort. It is applied to a markedly high desire for and pursuit of wealth, status, and power.

        • How is this “greed”? Simply because it involves gold? This is just a corporate mine employing people to produce an economically valuable product, like the components in the computer you wrote that ignorant statement on. The gold produced by this mine isn’t going into the bank vault of the mine owner where he can horde it away, stare at it, and play with it like some kind of greedy scrooge. It’s being sold on the open market to produce valuable products. The money from its sale pays for fuel, equipment, wages, and returns for investments. If this is greed, then so is any economically productive activity. If it wasn’t for “greed” motivating people to produce goods, we would all still be living in the stone age.

  1. @Nobody
    yeah, and I bet it all flows back to those American and Canadian corporations and the multibillion bonusses.
    The report didnt even mention the environmental damage the company leaves behing by using “certain chemicals” to extract gold, which is a certainty. Like the locals get compensated for that; Thankk you America

  2. “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.”

    Riiiight….. so they’re only bringing in $850 per year before expenses. Pretty sure something in that paragraph is way off.

  3. Actually Outotec is not the name of the ball-mill, but a Finnish company that built/delivered it, and is a major provider of mining technology in central asia. I bet most of the ‘new technologies’ mentioned above, is from them.

    And a funny detail: in the most big mines, that use those big Cat’s – even bigger ones thant those 777’s – most of their driver’s are women. Why? It’s said that they take better care of them than men.

  4. If aliens were examining human behavior, they would mostly puzzled by the fact that humans make huge efforts to produce a rare metal with little practical use and then they just store it in guarded safes!

    • Little practical use? Gold is the single best conductor of electricty we have. Why do you think the price spiked in the mid 2000’s? Demand for it on PC boards, cellphones, chips, etc…

      • To add to that, it is also totally inert and the absolute best protection from radiation in space. Unless you think being stuck on Earth forever is a good idea, gold is required to make space exploration and travel practical.

  5. “This is a ball-mill “Outotec” specially made for the mine. There are no analogues of such size anywhere in the world.” Garbage. Take a look at some of the SAG mills at various copper mines in Chile. Easily bigger than those little things.

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