Rock Brynner in the Russian Far East

Bryner Mines

Juli Bryner (1849-1920), the Swiss-born entrepreneur and industrialist who helped found the city of Vladivostok, and built from scratch the mines and town of Tetukhe, four hundred miles from Vladivostok.

From the endless mountainous forests, taiga, of the Primorye region, in 1896 Chinese ginseng traders brought Juli a sample of ore that was rich in silver. And it was here that he created the mines and town of Tetukhe, that today is a city of 15,000, renamed Dalnegorsk in the Soviet era.

The train stop on the Bryner railroad where ore is loaded from the Upper Mines and carried 25 miles, where it is dumped onto barges that carry it to ships in the harbor, which transport the ore for sale in Europe. The system works just as it did when Juli Bryner designed and buiit it a century ago.

In 1932 Stalin finally siezed the mines from the Bryners, and for the next sixty years they were the property of the Soviet State.

As a guest of the new owners, Dalpolimetall, I was taken down a half-kilometer into the zinc, lead and silver mine. I was honored to have as my guide Leonid Sinevitch [right] who has worked in these mines for almost fifty years, and who shared many stories he knew about Juli Bryner.

Valery, my friend and interpreter, with Sasha Doluda, my Russian brother, who first invited me to Vladivostok in 2003, and organized our trip.

After dropping 1,500 feet in a cage, we went down shaky metal ladders another 100 feet. But after a few hours with Leonid I felt like an old hand.

With Leonid and Valery

After walking for miles underground, Leonid and I got a ride on the scoop of a transporter.

From this quartz deposit 500 meters down in the Bryner mines, I retrieved a beautiful stone, which I gave to Olya at Sidemi.

Re-emerging to fresh air and sunlight is a real relief.

The Bryner railroad begins in the shafts, where ore is loaded onto the narrow-gauge wagons. . .

. . . which carry it 25 miles to the harbor. . .

. . . powered by small locomotives. . .

. . . out to . . .

. . . the Bryner pier at Pristan. . .

. . . where the ore is dumped on to barges . . .

. . . and towed out by a tugboat. . .

. . . to the ship moored in the harbor. . .

. . . beneath the lighthouse at Cape Bryner.

This is "The Twins" rock formation. . .

. . . and Sasha and Rock formation at "The Twins."