Sep 5, 2016

10 facts about Chiatura, Georgia, the mining village that time forgot

2 min
"Stalin's rope roads"
Mining has a rich history across the world. There are hundreds of abandoned mine sites and projects with decades, and in some cases centuries, of his...

Mining has a rich history across the world. There are hundreds of abandoned mine sites and projects with decades, and in some cases centuries, of history deep within that have had a say in the development of many modern mining practices today. But sometimes, a mine site or a village continues to operate – in this instance, Chiatura.

Chiatura, in Northwest Georgia, has made the news in recent weeks due to the fact that time seems to have quite literally stood still but production definitely hasn’t.

Here we take a look at 10 things you didn’t know about Chiatura

  • During the 19th century, the tiny village, located in a mountain valley on the banks of the Qvirila River, was discovered to have layers upon layers of commercially exploitable manganese oxide, peroxide and carbonite.
  • Extraction of manganese started in 1872 and seven years later in 1879 buildings and constructions appeared within the area under the leadership of Georgian poet Akaki Tseretetlli.
  • Manganese production intensified at the site in 1895 following the construction of a railway connection between Chiatura and the port city of Poti, allowing manganese to be exported internationally
  • By the time 1913 rolled around, Chiatura was a huge player in the exportation of Manganese, supply 50 percent of the world’s market
  • World War I completely ground the manganese industry to a halt, with Georgian production only beginning again in 1921 with the establishment of the Soviet regime
  • The village is catching the public eye due to its famous rope road. The cable car network, what locals call “Kanatnaya Doroga” was built in the 1950s. The road was installed to transport workers around the entire valley and up to the mines, literally covering all corners of the village
  • To this day, 17 of the cablecars still work and unbelievable are still used on a daily basis
  • The Soviet regime collapsed in 1991 and the production of manganese struggled to continue and the town suffered a great economic decline
  • Today though, mine operations are still underway. Under the stewardship of Georgian American Alloys, the Chiatura Mine is capable of producing an estimated 261,000 metric tons of manganese ore per year
  • As a result of its Soviet origins, the cable cars are sometimes referred to as “Stalin’s Rope Roads”

Photo: Amos Chapple/Rex Features


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Get in touch with our editor Dale Benton at [email protected]

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Jan 30, 2019

Deloitte predicts industry transformation - Tracking the Trends 2019 report

Daniel Brightmore
3 min
Deloitte reveals top ten trends transforming mining in annual Tracking the Trends report
Deloitte has published the eleventh edition of its an...

Deloitte has published the eleventh edition of its annual report on the mining industry. Tracking the Trends identifies the top ten trends transforming the future of mining in 2019

The Deloitte report endeavours to provide the mining industry with insights it can leverage to support its continued quest for productivity, capital discipline, strategic development and sustainable growth.

Philip Hopwood, Deloitte’s Global Leader - Mining & Metals, commented: “It appears that the mining industry is poised for greater growth than it’s seen in a decade, but today’s market realities are very different than those of the past. We’re now dealing with geopolitical tensions in the form of trade wars and tariff concerns, as well as looming asset shortages. Rising commodity prices should fuel expansion, but could also result in a return of inflation and the costs that go with it, eventually eating into margins. 

Disruption and volatility has become the new normal and the pace of change is outpacing our ability to adapt. This makes it imperative for mining companies to clarify how they plan to drive value into the future and how they intend to respond when prices inevitably drop again.” 

Related stories:

EY survey finds losing 'licence to operate' is the biggest risk to the industry in 2019

Predicting the disruptors of tomorrow’s mining industry: Deloitte’s tracking the trends 2018

Renewables the key to energy cost savings and competitive edge says Deloitte

Here are the key messages provided by the 2019 report:

  • Disruption and volatilitymake it imperative for mining companies to clarify how they plan to drive value into the future and how they intend to respond when prices inevitably drop again. To thrive into the future, mining companies will need to challenge the status quo by soliciting a diversity of opinions and taking the risk to do things differently. 


  • Technology and artificial intelligence (AI) will play akey role, not only in helping companies envision future scenarios, but in identifying risks at an enterprise level and transforming the supply chain. Moreover, advances in finance platforms, sensor technology, autonomous vehicles, cloud- based solutions, and analytics are paving the way for the design of a digital mine. 


  • Understanding the needsand perceptions of people both inside and outside the organization will be critical. Companies must build amore diverse workplace and address succession planning, while fostering loyalty and retention among existing employees. At the same time companies must do more outreach to local communities, governments, and consumers so they can be more transparent and receptive. 


Top Ten Trends Transforming the Future of Mining:

  1. Rethinking mining strategy - Embedding the discipline to deliver measurable value across the cycle 
  2. The frontier of analytics and artifcial intelligenceMoving up the maturity curve 
  3. Managing risk in the digital era - Exploring a new approach to controls and risk management 
  4. Digitizing the supply chain - Why innovation requires integration 
  5. Driving sustainable shared social outcomes - Finding value beyond compliance 
  6. Exploring the water-energy nexus - Making the case for a systematic approach 
  7. Decoding capital projects - Learning from past mistakes
  8. Reimagining work, workers, and the workplace - A blueprint for the future 
  9. Operationalising diversity and inclusion programs - From theory to practice 
  10. Demanding provenanceEVs and battery minerals provoke the desire for provenance 

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