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city in Chita Oblast, RSFSR; located at the foot of the Borshchovochnyi Ridge, on the Unda River (Amur basin), 55 km south of the Priiskovaia railroad station (on the Trans-Siberian Railway). Population, 28,000 (1967). It is an important gold-mining center with mines, open-cut mines, and ore-concentration factories. There are medical and pedagogical schools. Balei arose on the site of the mining settlement of Novotroitsk; it became a city in 1938.