Workers at one of the highest gold mines in the world, hidden in the beautiful Issyk-Kul region in Kyrgyzstan are definitely willing to go the extra mile in the search of precious stones. Footage filmed on Tuesday shows the mine and the magnificent surroundings in all its glory.
The mine is located at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level. The unique gold deposit was discovered by Soviet geologists in late 1970s.
Despite the natural riches of the region, developing and opening a gold mine in such an inaccessible area turned out to be an impossible task, and the deposit was left as a remaining reserve.
Work at the mine started in earnest following the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Kyrgyzstan became an independent republic and was able to attract foreign investors.
The Kumtor gold mine is currently fully owned by the Canadian gold mining company Centerra Gold Inc. Last year, the mine’s gold production amounted to seven thousand metric tons.
The Petrov alpine lake that is located near the mine is named after its founder. The reservoir doesn’t seem deep at first sight as it is covered in a meter-long layer of snow. Nonetheless, significant reserves of the water are used in the mine. Every year, hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of water are taken from the reservoir to be used in the pit. Simultaneously, the lake continues to grow due to melting glaciers.
Despite the small size and commonplace appearance of the mine’s tailings dam it is no less valuable than the mine itself. According to the Kumtor administration, the tailings dam contains tens of tons of gold in when in dissolved form. However the extraction of gold from waste remains quite costly up to this day.
Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Muhammetkaliy Abulgaziyev visited the Kumtor gold mine on Tuesday, October 1. Together with Centerra Gold Inc. CEO Scott Perry, he inspected the quarry, all heavy machinery that is being used for gold mining, and visited a gold processing plant.
Concluding the visit, Abulgaziyev said that efforts are continuously being directed at ensuring that the work in the mine is done under environmentally safe conditions and in a stable manner. He also spoke positively of the general achievements of the company.