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At the extreme southern extent of the Ural Mountains in Russia, about 140 km west of the border with Kazakhstan, there are some hills that are composed largely of iron ore. So rich is their iron content that magnetic compasses cannot function near it and birds avoid flying over it. The Russians call the mountain “Magnitnaya” or the Magnetic Mountain. It is at the foot of the Magnitnaya Mountain, on the eastern slope of the Ural mountain, lies Magnitogorsk, the second largest city in Russia that is not the administrative center of any federal subject or district. It is home to “Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works”, the largest steel plant in the country and one of the largest in the world.

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Photo credit: Philipp Hilgenberg/Flickr

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