Сибайский карьер

Sibayskiy Kar'yer - Sibaysky Open Pit - Sibay Mine


Useful Information

Location: Sibay, Bashkortostan Republic
(52.695607, 58.637973)
Open: Observation Deck: All year daily no restrictions.
Sibay Museum: All year Mon 8:30-15, Tue-Fri 8:30-18.
[2021]
Fee: Sibay Museum: Adults RUR 100, Children (6-16) RUR 50, Children (0-5) free, Students (-26) RUR 50, Seniors (65+) RUR 50, Disabled free, Foreigners RUR 150.
Guided Visit: Adults RUR 120, Children (6-16) RUR 60, Children (0-5) free, Students (-26) RUR 60, Seniors (65+) RUR 60, Disabled free, Foreigners RUR 200.
[2021]
Classification: MineCopper Mine MineIron Mine
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=1,370 m, W=1,190 m, D=578 m.
Guided tours: Min=10, Max=24.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Sibaysky Open Pit, Sibay 453832, Republic of Bashkortostan.
Sibay Museum, Sibay, Prospect Gornyakov, 45, Tel: +7-8-34775-5-53-05. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1913 copper ore discovered by hunter at Stary Sibay.
1915 begin of mining with an 42 m deep exploration pit.
1917 mining ends due to the October Revolution.
1925 restoration of flooded mine.
1936 mine finally reopened.
1938 miner city Sibay founded.
1939 polymetallic ore deposit discovered south of the original mine, open cast started.
1943 first copper-sulfur smelter in Bashkiria was opened.
1955 Sibay becomes a city.
1996 departmental museum of the Bashkir Copper and Sulfur Combine with the city museum.
2004 begin of underground mining.
NOV-2018 pyrite in the mine starts burning.

Geology

The Novo-Sibayskoye deposit is a sulfuric polymetallic deposit. The copper ore deposit has an iron hat, so the first ores which were discovered contained mostly iron. Such an iron hat is characteristic of many copper ore deposits. The ore also contains zinc, gold and silver, but the copper is the economically most important part. The main minerals are copper-zinc and copper-sulfur pyrite.

The deposit is part of the Karamalytash Formation (D2zv1), which is a rhyolite-basalt formation. The formation is bordered by steeply dipping faults. The quartz rhyolite has ore bodies at the lower and upper contact. The main Novo-Sibayskaya deposit consists of three thick lenses of sulfide ores which are connected by an ore column.

Description

Сибайский карьер (Sibaysky Open Cast) is said to be the second largest open cast mine in the world. It was named after the village Stary Sibay, where according to legend a hunter was chasing his prey with his dog. The dog went into the marten burrow, and which was built in red rock. The rock was extraordinarily heavy and had strange speckles of pyrite, so the hunter thought it could be some kind of ore. It actually was iron ore, but it also contained high amounts of copper, zinc, silver, and gold. The mine was started with an exploration mine with a 42 m deep shaft, but due to the October Revolution it actually became not productive. The second attempt in 1936 lead to the first ore production in 1939. Until 2000 a total of 100 million tons of copper ore were mined.

In the new millennium it became necessary to stop the open cast mining and continue with underground mining. The mining of the ore in the center requires to widen the upper steps of the hole, to avoid collapse. With greater depth the amount of rocks which have to be remove increases and at some point the method is not profitable any more. The deeper deposits are called Kamaganskoye and Nizhnyaya deposit.

The mine is not open to the public, and there is no underground tour. But there is an observation deck which allows a view into the huge open cast. Contact the local travel agency "Buranbai", they will organize a pass and a guide for you. Unfortunately it is not possible to see the ground of the pit from the observation deck.

There is also a museum at the town which is dedicated to the mining history. Its name is Сибайский историко-краеведческий музей (Sibay Museum of History and Local Lore) and it started as a school based museum. Today it has exhibitions on geology, mining and local history. The mining exhibition is a result of the merger of the museum with the departmental museum of the Bashkir Copper and Sulfur Combine. It is called Зал истории Башкирского медно-серного комбината (Hall of History of the Bashkir Copper and Sulfur Combine). It includes a mine replica, models of machinery and the open cast, tools, lamps, documents and photographs. It also offers tours, generally coach tours, on numerous topics, like local mining, the State natural reserve Shulgan-Tash, Fortress Settlement Arkaim, and Literary places of the Trans-Urals. The city Sibay today has a population of 60,000 inhabitants, but it is a mining town which was founded in 1938 and only exists because of the mine. It was named after the nearby town Sibay, which is now called Stary Sibay (Old Sibay).

In the last years the mine became quite infamous as an ecologic disaster zone. Due to an accident the pyrite (FeS2) ore started to burn, which produced high amounts of sulfurous gases, mostly sulfur dioxide SO2, which are at least unhealthy, but some are quite deadly. As a result the pit was full of poisonous gas which also made the living in the nearby town almost impossible. To extinguish the fire the ground of the pit was flooded with water which now forms a 410 m long and 320 m wide lake at the bottom. The water was pumped into the open cast from below, and it was quite difficult to make sure it did not flood the mine below. The fire is now extinguished, but the water of the lake is still quite poisonous. The water will be purified and pumped out again, so that the mining and processing complex can continue mining.