Were there gold mines in Karelia?

Were there gold mines in Karelia?
Were there gold mines in Karelia?

Recently, Russian TV showed the TV series Ashes, in which the famous actors E. Mironov and V. Mashkov starred. The action of one of the series takes place near Sortavala, where gold mines in Karelia became the object of robbery. This turn of events was a complete surprise for the viewer, and even a subject of ridicule, especially for local residents. But are the creators of the series so far from the truth?

gold mines in karelia

A Brief History of Gold Mining in Russia

As you know, in Kievan and Moscow Russia there were no gold reserves, and the map of gold mines was a blank spot. All jewelry was then made of gold and precious stones, brought into the country mainly from Byzantium. Therefore, the main currency of that time was most often sable skins. And yet, the then rulers did everything possible to discover their own deposits of the precious metal. The Russian Tsar Ivan III sent specialists in the mining sector from Italy, and under his grandson Ivan the Terrible, Siberia was conquered, including in order to find gold there.Although it began to be mined much later - under Peter I. For this purpose, the Ministry of Mining was specially created, consisting mainly of German specialists, who developed the gold mines of Russia. Since then, the map of gold-bearing regions has been constantly updated with new objects.

Although it is generally accepted that gold mining on an industrial scale began in the Urals in the middle of the 18th century, gold mining began in Karelia a little earlier.

Karelian gold

map of gold mines

In this beautiful, but harsh region, there is a very picturesque Vygozero, into which more than twenty rivers flow, and only one flows out - the Lower Vyg. On this river, which flows into the White Sea, there are many rapids and waterfalls, the most famous of which is the Voitsky Padun. It got its name from the fact that the water falling down the three arms from a height of four meters made a loud roar and howl.

Upstream (or, as they say, above the waterfall) in the 16th century, a small village of Nadvoitsy appeared here, the population of which in 1647 consisted of only 26 households (100-150 people). The village belonged to the Solovetsky Monastery. Since it was very problematic to feed on agriculture in those parts, local peasants were engaged in digging copper ore and handing it over to the monastery, from which small icons and crosses were cast.

In 1737, a local resident, Taras Antonov, found a copper vein that made it possible to begin mining on an industrial scale. Copper was smelted from local ore in Petrozavodsk.ingots, which were then sent to St. Petersburg for the production of copper coins.

The attention of one of the mining engineers hired by Peter I was attracted by yellow shiny grains in the ore coming from Nadvoitsy. From that moment, gold mines in Karelia begin their history.

For half a century of work, 74 kilograms of gold and over 100 tons of copper have been mined at the Nadvoitsky mines. Subsequently, the mine was closed due to its depletion. Although there are rumors that the locals still earn their living by mining the golden sand.

gold mines russia map

Gold mines in Karelia today

Repeated attempts to find gold in these parts were made later. Developments were carried out in several places, and in the Pryazha region and on the border of the Kondopoga and Medvezhyegorsk regions, they even found gold veins, the reserves of which, according to geologists, do not allow starting mining on an industrial scale. In order for the gold mines in Karelia to work again, it is necessary that the deposits contain at least five tons of precious metal.

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