Chiatura, a small mining town in the heart of Georgia is one of the largest manganese reserves in the world. Prior to World War I in 1913, Chiatura alone produced half of the world's output of manganese ore.
Due to the steep sided river valley, production workers spent a large amount of time walking up from the town to the mines, thereby reducing productivity. In 1954 an extensive cable car system was installed by Soviet authorities to transport workers around the valley and up to the mines. Still utilising the same infrastructure installed originally in the 1950s, today some 17 separate aerial lift cable car systems still exist around the town.