Red Star in Koktokay

The Relics of Empire: Resource Extraction and the Making of Modern Xinjiang

Red Star in Koktokay

The gate to a virtually abandoned repair shop stands just opposite the Number Three Ore Vein (shown in image 15) in Koktokay, on the southern bank of the Irtysh River in far northern Xinjiang. The extraction site was first discovered by Soviet geologists in 1941 and was worked throughout much of the twentieth century. In 2016, it was on hiatus awaiting higher lithium prices on the global market. As a consequence, the repair shop was seldom used and is largely overgrown.

Source: All photos in this essay are taken by Judd C. Kinzley.