Balkhash (city)

Balkhash (City)

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Balkhash (city)

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Balkhash (; ) is a city of 66,724 inhabitants at Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan.

Balkhash was founded in 1937 as an industrial city centred around the mining and smelting of copper, and presently copper is still exploited there. The city lies approximately 500 km west of the Chinese border on the north side of the lake at an altitude of 440 m.

The history of the city is closely connected with mining of deposits of copper and development of a smelting plant.


In 1928, English capitalist Leslie Urquhart wrote to the Soviet government: "...will you allow me to search in the Kyrgyz steppe around Balkhash and further? You will not develop in these places sooner than 50 or 100 years, but I shall look for something, and maybe I will find it." Ten years later, in the Kounrad hills, near Lake Balkhash, Bolsheviks began mining copper ore.

In the same year as Urquhart's proposal, a prospecting party from Leningrad headed by engineer-geologist Michael Rusakov arrived at the northern coast of Lake Balkhash and carried out the first investigation of deposits of copper. The results were encouraging, and prospecting work proceeded. The expedition came to the conclusion that the deposit had very rich stocks of ore, and based on this it would be possible to create a copper smelting plant. Michael Rusakov sent a telegram to the geological committee in Leningrad: "Discovered big copper-porphyritic deposit at Kounrad, near Lake Balkhash." Chairman Valerian Kuybyshev...
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