- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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extracted, and in the south ; in the government of
Irkutsk there are particularly rich gold-fields, some of
which are reputed to be the richest in Siberia ; in
Transbaikalia many gold-mines are working ; in the
Amur District gold has been found in many places
along the rivers, and there are some who believe it will
turn out to be the richest gold country in Siberia ; in
the Ussuri District gold has also been found, and even
on the Anadyr, north of Kamchatka, gold is said to
occur in abundance. In Siberia gold is still extracted
to a great extent by very primitive means, often, indeed,
simply by hand washing, and by the introduction of
machinery the yield might be increased many times.
From a report of 1908, gold-washing in Siberia employs
about 45,000 workmen, whose wages amount to between
thirteen and seventeen millions of roubles annually, and
the yield in pure gold, for Siberia not including the Ural,
is given as more than 2000 poods (32*8 tons) a year.
Siberia has other mineral wealth besides gold. Iron
is abundant, but imperfectly exploited ; there are also
copper, silver, and lead. Precious stones and valuable
minerals also occur in places, and there are mineral
springs, but at present all these are turned to little
account. Coal is found in many parts, some of it of
good quality ; in the eastern maritime province and in
Sakhalin alone there is thought to be enough to supply
the whole navigation of the Pacific. But the working
of coal-mines is still in its infancy in Siberia, and it has
a great future. In Sakhalin rich oil-wells have been
discovered, which, it is asserted, might supply the
whole of Siberia with petroleum, and, indeed, Australia
as well. That Siberia possesses endless forests has often
been mentioned, and that their value is in reality enor
mous is a matter of course ; the difficulty consists in
transport, and in most parts this renders them for the

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