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Empire Of The Ring 291 A Piece Of Cake 1

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Youngho remodeled the carpet factory according to Mustafa's advice.
What Youngho focused on the most was the work environment. Youngho freaked out after hearing that the dust and floating particles were fatal to the human body. So, air purifier and forced air circulation device were installed inside the factory to filter the air and supply fresh air to the building.
Since women worked long hours sitting on a chair, ergonomically designed chairs were brought in, and the maximum work hour was limited to five in a day. The reason that the work hours could have been reduced was that the modernized equipment and automatized machines were used to shorten the work time. Youngho wanted to buy automated looms as well but the carpets would lose their value as hand-made items, so modernized ones were ordered.
Also, since carpet production was not a major industry of the state, Youngho wanted to let it stay as a sideline. Since it started as housewives who wanted to help for the economic development of the autonomous state, it would not be right if they focused more on work, rather than on their house and family. Making a lovely family would be their best work to help and to develop the state's social well-being.
The carpet factory now had 300 women making carpets. It was more than the workers in the drone factory. Since many processes should be done by human hands, naturally it needed more people. Nonetheless, all of them could make enough money since the carpets were sold at awfully high prices.
A part of the profit was saved for the autonomous state, and the rest was given as payments for workers.

Youngho was trying his best to develop the environment of the carpet factory, but Kim Chun did not really care for it. He did not see it as a big business. His focus was only on wheat farming. He may be right because wheat farming was the base business that could affect the whole autonomous state.
The reason that the Kazakh government gave the land to the autonomous state was so that the state could develop its land. The more the people of the state developed the land, the more territory that was added to the autonomous state.

"Boss. This year's crop is about 6,573 tons. It could've been 8,000 tons if only there was another rain in the summer. Well, it's still great though."

That was still great.
If calculated by the international wheat price, it was about 2.4 million dollars already. Although this was only about half the amount of other regular wheat farms, this was a great achievement for the autonomous state. This was twice the amount of last year's crop.
Youngho was satisfied with the result. The huge change was made only in a year because people worked hard to form gra.s.sland, reservoirs, windbreaks, and little hills. These creations changed the course of the wind, so dust storms were greatly reduced.

"What an amazing turn out of crop this year! If you think about our autonomous state's given environment, this is more than great."


"Should we plant more wheat next year, Boss?"

"Let's keep it steady like this year. We need to focus on increasing developing more gra.s.sland and windbreaks as our priority. Those are now proven to decrease dust storms."

"That's true. If we kept our straws, we could've used them as manure for gra.s.sland but it's too bad that we already turned the field."

If the wheat field was neglected after harvest, all of the straws would be blown by the wind, so the field was hastily plowed so that the straws could be used to manure the wheat field. It was the only option because straws would be crushed when the field was harvested by large combines.
It was truly amazing what people could do to change natural surroundings.
As a result of continuously planting and watering trees and plants, gra.s.sy fields were formed in the deserted land. Those were small but effective steps. Youngho thought that it would be great if this custom could be carried on to other regions of Kazakhstan. They did not cost a lot. If people were determined to improve the natural environment, anyone could easily do it. It was a shame that the Kazakh government did not care too much about the country's natural environment.

"Commissioner Kim. Now that the harvest is over, why don't we spray all of the water left in the reservoirs on the gra.s.s fields? We'll be able to fill them up again during the wet season in the winter again. Let's not try to save them."

"Actually, that's what I was going to do. Also, Dr. Park Youngsun said that he's going to investigate the border area for the underground water resource. Let's hope that we'll find something soon."

The accuracy rate of underground water resource investigation these days was about 30 percent with the help of satellite image interpretation, subsurface investigation, and geophysical prospecting technologies. Not long ago, the accuracy rate was only about ten percent but it was greatly improved because of Park Youngsun's effort to buy professional equipment. A mineral resource exploration expert was now turned into an underground water resource exploration expert.
It would take days to dig an exploratory hole after transporting all of the necessary equipment. Not only that, while the hole was being dug, an expert would have to stay at the site to monitor the process, so a temporary lodging facility should be set up at the site. The exploration process was an extremely complicated and exhaustive job, and when one or two attempts had failed, people would be dreadfully discouraged.
Park Youngsun had endured countless failures before he found one, but the water resource he found did not have the amount that he was expecting. He must have lost his motivation but he still persevered even after that. He was indeed a stubborn and persistent person since he did not give up on his mission yet.

***

Because Park Youngsun's daughter, Park Seo-young went to Goethe University in Frankfurt with Zeynep, Park Youngsun had no reason to stay in Baku. He had been staying in the Arirang Autonomous State for now.
His major interests were underground water resource exploration and searching for rare minerals that could be existing in the autonomous state.
Because his area of activity was too wide, Youngho a.s.signed a light-armored vehicle to his use only and arranged two Countryside Force guards for personal protection.
Not even one-fifth of the state's territory was developed yet, so the danger was always waiting outside developed areas. In empty fields, wolves and snakes could be deadly but people were also equally dangerous.
Any people roaming around in a man-less area must be suspected. They could pretend to be travelers at first but turn into robbers at any time. This happened only seldom but it was better to be prepared. Anyway, Park Youngsun had been busily investigating all over the state that there was no land left that he had not trodden on.
He usually first surveyed the land from the sky on a light airplane. Then, he went to the site on a light-armored vehicle to see it for himself. He was always prepared to camp out on his exploration. That was why the guards arranged for his protection were single men. They had been working with him when he first came to the state to investigate the subsurface of the land to develop farmland.
Today, he was out in the eastern region of the state for a two-day exploratory trip.
The purpose of the exploration was to survey the land that he had watched from the sky a few days ago. He had spotted an unusual feature, so he came to check on the land.
Even if he did not find anything special, he genuinely enjoyed being in the wild. His guards also liked to come along with him since they could fish and hunt for fun together.

"You guys should also check if there's any rocks or earth that look different from others."

The Countryside Force guards investigated the land as Park Youngsun had asked.

"Doctor! The color of the earth here looks different. This kind of looks like mud but it's very hard."

One of the guards came back to him holding ash colored clay.
Park Younsun's eyes were widened after looking at it closely. The ash clay was Bentonite clay that was sometimes called white clay.

"Did you find more of this?"

"There's a ton of it over there."

Looking around the site that the guard pointed at, Park Youngsun smiled big.

"You had an amazing discovery today! I should reward you for this."

"Is this a valuable earth?"

"Of course. It sure is valuable. This is used in cosmetics, medical products, and construction materials."

Bentonite clay was not a rare mineral but it could be used in so many purposes.
It was used in chemical additives for drilling oil crude, different kinds of cosmetics and medicines, construction materials, and so on. Ground into powder, it was used as a cosmetic ingredient since it had about 60 minerals in it.
In steel mills or smelting factories, the process of refining inevitably caused environmental contamination but Bentonite only needed a simple refining process that it would not affect the environment. If the Bentonite found today was high quality, a refinery could be built in the autonomous state which would raise the value of the state.
In other words, they had found an expensive earth.

"Dr. Park. We wondered if we could find treasure buried under the earth but guess we really did find it. We'll have to dig a hole anyway to make a reservoir. We can do that as we dig up Bentonite."

Kim Chun was exuberated to hear that a valuable mineral was found in the territory of the autonomous state. He began to find ways to make money.

"We need to investigate it. If it's not high-quality Bentonite, we won't be able to use it for medical or cosmetic purposes but for construction materials only. I should go to my lab now and find out the quality of the clay."

"We'll make money anyway. I hope it sure is charged more than cement."

"Hahaha… It can't be compared to cheap cement. Low-quality Bentonite would be a few times more expensive than cement."

Youngho was also excited about the news. He searched about Bentonite on the Internet and found that the raw mineral was sold at 50 dollars for each ton but refined mineral was sold at 10,000 dollars for each ton. Since wheat was sold at 300 dollars a ton, this was extremely valuable found.

"Dr. Park. Do you have enough lab equipment?"

Park Youngsun smiled as he knew why Youngho asked.

"Phew, Mr. Lee. Why are you doing this? The result will come out in several days. Please take it easy and be patient. I investigated in roughly with my eyes but I don't think its quality is bad."

He must have been confident in his discovery since he came to Youngho's office with the raw Bentonite. If he was not confident, he would not have come to show it to Youngho. Youngho already knew that Park Youngsun was that kind of person but he still could not wait until the result came out. To him, this was the most welcoming discovery of the autonomous state in a long while.

***

Youngho could not concentrate on any work while he waited for the result of the component a.n.a.lysis of the Bentonite. Although the mineral was not rare, it was high in demand that it could make good profits. This was another opportunity for the state to step up.
Bentonite was modern alchemy of getting gold out of the mud. The mineral had been looked away because refinery technology was not developed enough in the past, but now it had taken center stage as a bio-mineral.
Youngho, who just learned that non-metal mineral could be valuable, was getting fidgety. It was another hope for the future of the autonomous state.
Eager-hearted, Youngho visited the discovery site with Park Youngsun to survey the amount of deposit. The minerals on the surface were hardened naturally and had many impurities, but the ones buried underground were expected to be of high quality since impurities could not permeate into the depth.
Since it was scattered widely on the surface of the earth, it seemed that it would have high payability.

"Doctor, how many times do we have dig holes to estimate its deposit?"

"It depends on the type of mineral but Bentonite is usually exposed on the surface. A good rule of thumb is that it's all deposited where there's a big lump. If we excavate at an interval of 100 meters, we'll be able to get a roughly estimated deposit."

This was indeed a great discovery that had the potential of becoming a golden goose business of the autonomous state. Who would have thought that this kind of treasure was hidden in the wasteland with nothing but spa.r.s.ely grown gra.s.s?

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About Empire Of The Ring 291 A Piece Of Cake 1 novel

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