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Sibai Quarry
February 16, 2017 01:02


If you look at Sibai and its quarry from above, from a decent height, you’ll see a huge hole in the ground, resembling an imprint of the giant pyramid stuck into the ground. And the town will seem a modest settlement dispersed along the edge of the funnel. This is no exaggeration: Sibai quarry ranks second in the world by its depth after Chile’s Chuquicamata. Its depth is more than 500 m, its diameter amounts to two kilometers. Six kinds of ores containing 15 components are produced here: gold, silver, copper, iron, sulfur. Severe black and red slopes are surrounded by a road, leading right to the bottom. Earlier Belaz trucks – the quarry’s dump trucks several meters high - permanently shuttled there.

The way took two and a half hours earlier, and the people at the top saw toy cars no bigger than a nail. We say earlier, because now open works in Sibai quarry are suspended. It happened not because there is nothing to produce, but because there is a real danger that the walls would collapse. Now there are only mining works.

In addition, another quarry - Kamaganskii – emerged nearby, also within the town limits. Now Sibai quarry, as well as its banks, started to be overgrown with plants. The spectacle is beautiful and surreal: gentle leaves of birches tremble at the dusty slopes, huge ravens drink from copper-red puddles, and cows are jumping on the panels at the edge of the funnel, saving themselves from a troublesome fox, or are quietly grazing above the giant quarry.

History of Sibai

According to a legend, a hunter from the village of Old Sibai found red clay while digging a marten’s hole in early XX century. The clay was taken to the Mines Administration for analysis, and the analysis showed that this was brown iron ore with inclusions of gold and silver. Thus the Sibai deposit was opened.

Its exploration started soon, and the first mine was opened in 1915. The mine had not worked for a long time - during the civil war it was flooded. The works were resumed only in November of 1925. The ore was transported on horses and bulls and delivered to the Baimak Copper-smelting Plant. And the new working settlement of Sibai was being built nearby. In 1939 a new deposit was opened in the vicinity and called Novosibaiskoe. The ore was found too deep, at the depth of 80 meters. All this made it possible to launch its own copper-smelting plant in Sibai several years later.

Not only copper was mined here: during the war the local Komsomol members gave two and a half kilograms of gold to the Fund of Victory; for this deed they were awarded by a letter of gratitude from Stalin. In 1948 the construction of the Bashkir Copper-Sulfur Plant started, and this plant is still giving life and work to the entire Sibai that received the status of a town in 1955. The truth is that now this enterprise has become a branch of the Uchalinskiy Ore Mining and Processing Complex. The 100-millionth ton of ore was extracted at the complex in 2000. At the same time the works at the depth of 500 meters were suspended because of the risk of collapse of the quarry’s walls.

Travel Tips

Trains from Ufa, Magnitogorsk, Surgut, Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Uchalov go to Sibai.

The town has three hotels: “Sibai” - an old hotel built in Soviet times, “Tatiana” - a small and comfortable hotel with tea and coffee in rooms, and “The Golden Yurt” - a new hotel in a European style. For example, you can have lunch in the “Agidel” Café at 17 Lenina Street. It is not expensive, but tasty.

Jasper workshop is located at 11/2, Industrialnoe Highway. You can not only buy something, but just look at the process of creating of small figurines and large works. Surprisingly, the machines in the workshop are almost homemade - the owners didn’t have enough funds to purchase all the necessary equipment. It is amazing that the most thorough work on the creation of a Florentine mosaic sometimes occupying more than a month is paid very modestly: for a medium-sized picture a master receives less than a third of its cost - about 15 thousand roubles.

Events and celebrations:  autumn - Interregional Contest of Bashkir Songs “Irandyk Mandary”. The contest was established in 1996 at the initiative of the administration of Sibai and has been regularly held on the central square of the town since that time. The contest gathers together performers not only from Bashkiria, but also from other regions of Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.




Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Urals Sibai    

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