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Jun/19

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Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region

Lermontovsky Uranium Mine #1 is a former uranium mining enterprise located on Mount Beshtau near the city of Pyatigorsk, about 200 km south-east of Stavropol. The mine was closed in 1975.

Today, it is a popular object with diggers and other extreme lovers. The official name “Mine #1” was used in the documents due to the high secrecy of this object. Mount Beshtau on Google Maps. Photos by: Vladimir Mulder.

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 1

In 1944, industrial reserves of uranium were discovered on Mount Beshtau. In 1949, it was decided to start the development of this ore deposit. In 1954, “Mine #1” was officially commissioned. In 1958, uranium mining reached the planned level. August 31, 1975, the mine was closed.

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 2

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 3

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 4

The main reason for the closure of “Mine #1” was the exhaustion of ore reserves, which made it economically unprofitable to continue the further development of this uranium deposit. In total, there are more than 200 km of vertical and horizontal mine workings.

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 5

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 6

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 7

After the closure of the enterprise and the collapse of the USSR, the open galleries of the mine attracted “metal hunters”. In subsequent years, local residents actively carried out scrap metal from it, despite increased levels of background radiation in the tunnels.

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 8

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 9

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 10

In the late 1990s, the first attempts were made to close the access to the underground workings, but without much success. In the period from 1990 to 2010, almost all non-ferrous and ferrous metal was stolen from the mine.

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 11

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 12

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 13

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 14

Since 2005, diggers have become interested in these abandoned tunnels. People visit them for the sake of thrills, unusual photos and gaining some knowledge about the once secret enterprise. As of 2018, there are still several open mine entrances at Beshtau.

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 15

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 16

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 17

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 18

The main health hazard when visiting this mine is inhalation of the radioactive gas of radon and its decay products. Immediately after the mine was decommissioned, its ventilation system stopped working. In summer, radon concentrations in dead-end and non-ventilated tunnels can reach very dangerous values.

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 19

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 20

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 21

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Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 24

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 25

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 26

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 27

Abandoned Uranium Mine in the Stavropol Region, Russia, photo 28

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