In 1937 Balkhash was founded as an industrial city centred around metallurgy. Presently copper is still exploited. The city lies approximately 500 km west of the Chinese border on the north side of the lake on an altitude of 440 m.
The history of city is closely connected with opening deposits of copper and development of metalurgical factory.
In 1928 english capitalist Lesli Urkvart wrote to the Soviet government: «..will you enable me to search in the Kirghiz steppe, about Balkhash and further? Earlier than in 50 or 100 years you will not develop in these places but I shall look for something, maybe I will find». Has passed since then 10 years, in Kounradsy´s hills, near lake Balkhash, bolsheviks have opened copper ore.
In the same year to northern coast of lake Balkhash has arrived a prospecting party from Leningrad which was headed by engineer-geologist Michael Rusakov and has lead the first investigation of deposits of copper. Encouraging results have been received and prospecting work proceeded. Expedition has come to conclusion that the deposit has the richest stocks of ore and on its base it is possible to create a cooper-smelting factory. Michael Rusakov sent the telegram to geological committee in Leningrad: «…Disccovered big cooper-porphyritic deposit Kounrad, near lake Balkhash». Chairman Valerian Kuybyshev has informed the delegates of XVI congress VKP(b). Soon has started development of deposit in Kounrad. In October 1931 was created management «PribalkhashStroi». Its main problem was construction copper-smeling Factory. The location of the basic industrial constructions and cities approves coast of bay Bertis. The chief of building was Vasily Ivanovich Ivanov, who in 1938 on the forged charges has been arrested and shot as «the enemy of soviet people».
In 1932 to building of the copper giant has been sent 100 million Rubles — the third part of the capital investments allocated for development of the heavy industry of republic.
In March 1938 has started approbation of the equipment of concentrating factory and received the first concentrate. In July the first reflective furnace has earned — the beginning is necessary to metallurgical manufacture. In 24th November 1938 was given out the first Balkhash´s copper. Now the memorial board established at an input of metallurgical factory reminds of this event. 24th November considers the birthday of metallurgical factory. The ingot of the first Balkhash´s copper is stored in Moscow in the Museum of Revolution.
The peace life of inhabitants in Balkhash was broken with an attack of Nazi Germany to the USSR. The workers must give front more metal. Many metallurgists, miners were sent away to front, their places in shops and mines have borrowed mothers, wives, sisters. Before war in factory worked 600 women, but already in the first year of war worked 2453.