Haunting Images Of Russians Mining For The Gold That Stalin Once Needed

Russian gold miners

Russia is the world’s fourth largest gold producer, and Kolyma in the far north-east of Russia is one of the regions most flush with gold. 

During Stalin’s rule, prisoners of the Gulag were sent to Kolyma and forced to mine for gold, which was desperately need to finance economic development.

Now many of those in the region choose to mine for gold, though since 1990s, the miner settlements have been decreasing. 

Russia Beyond The Headlines (RBTH) and photographer Sergei Smirnov put together a feature giving us insight into gold mining in Kolyma.

Thanks to Russia Beyond The Headlines for giving us permission to run these images.

Gold ore is then loaded onto the rinser.

Operators release water through a hydromonitor.

The lighter ore and water are then deposited in mounds.

Workers open the lid of the pan (trough) and begin collecting the gold, by first flushing the mats of the trough.

Larger chunks are removed first.

And the gold is rinsed properly and separated.

Ore with smaller gold particles are washed in a separate room.

The Shturmovoy gold field is being developed by mining cooperatives and in warmer weather is produced using the open-cut method.

Now look at the lives of India's illegal coal miners...

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