Siberian Mining Press of the End of the 19th and the Beginning of the 20th Centuries about the Liquidation of Silver Smelting Production and Perspectives of Mining in Altai
The article deals with the image of Alai between the 19th and 20th centuries in Siberian mining press which was represented by two journals: “Mining and Manufacturing News” and “Bulletin of Gold Mining”. The specialists’ attention was focused on the so called “silver question” as the decline of the world prices on silver was main reason for closing of five silver smelting factories in Altai in 1893–1897. The author uses a lot of illustrative materials on the global economic conditions and the dynamics of the world silver prices fall in the 2nd half of 19th century. Researching the materials of the Siberian mining press, the author of the article has found out that in 1892 the Emperor’s Cabinet took a decisive step to change the specialization to copper after 150 years of silver production which was caused by the high world copper prices. The new Cabinet’s plan involved the borrowing of the new but untested technology of copper refining. In 1892–1897 electrolytic production in Altai was unprofitable and did not equal the hopes; however the technology was successfully implemented in Russia, in Europe and in the USA. After unsuccessful experiments with electrolysis at the Zyrianovskaya and Zmeinogorskaya factories the Cabinet had no purpose to continue the copper production at the Suzun factory that went on till 1914 in the conditions of growing copper prices by inertia. After that big failure the Cabinet did not have any political wishes to support Altai mining with its own funds in spite of deep-rooted imaginations about Altai as a reach mining region.
Key words: Altai mining district, “Bulletin of Gold Mining”, “Mining and Manufacturing News”, Suzun foundry, Zmeinogorsk factory, Zyryanowsk factory
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