A long history of gold mining. People in the region talk about the mines that the Russians helped build and operate in the first half of the 20th century. The Russians left the area after the People’s Liberation Army took over the vast Xinjiang region. Altay is located near the borders with Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, and this is where legends travel far and wide.

On Friday, another story about gold and fortune emerged, when Chinese state media reported that an ethnic Kazakh herder came across a giant gold nugget shaped like China . An official news website even posted a slide show of the nugget weighing more than 17 pounds, measuring 9 inches long and 7 inches wide.

State news agency Xinhua reported that shepherd Berek Sawut found the gold nugget on Friday while he was resting at dusk near a mine.

The herder said he was worried he wouldn’t be able to keep the ore because he believes all ore from mines in the area is state-owned, but so far no government official has asked for it. he handed over his findings.

According to a report by China News Agency, gold nugget is natural gold ore mixed with quartz and other minerals. This type of nuggets is often called “dog-headed yellow”, because the nuggets have a rough, round shape that if one squints one’s eyes, one can recognize the eyes and nose of a dog. These types of nuggets are popular in the Altay region. They are sometimes called “horseshoe gold.”

According to Modern Express, a newspaper owned by Xinhua News Agency, the gold nugget found by Kazakh herders in Qinghe district is the largest nugget discovered in Xinjiang.

Folklore has it that Empress Dowager Cixi craved such nuggets and was once angry when no one could find one for her birthday.

Official news reports do not estimate the value of the recently found nugget. If it were pure gold, it would be worth about $346,000, at $1,250 per ounce.

Photos of the gold nugget were widely circulated on Chinese social media on Friday. Some people asked online whether Taiwan was included in this golden map of China.

Xinjiang has more than 600 gold mines and the region’s estimated gold reserves are 207 tons. This industry has grown rapidly in the region. Last year, Xinjiang produced 20 tons of gold. The Chinese government also appreciates Xinjiang for its oil, natural gas and coal reserves.

Herders in Altay say they have had financial difficulties over the past year because of the drought. The lack of rain means a lack of grass and vegetation, causing the sheep to become thinner. Breeders are selling sheep at lower prices to merchants traveling to the Altay region.

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