Monday, November 22, 2010

Mining For Gold In California

With gold prices at record highs, perhaps we should start mining for gold again in California, no? No:

Despite sky-high prices and the state's rich gold legacy, the industry here is mostly dormant. California trails the leading gold-producing state, Nevada, by a wide margin.

A California revival is hardly imminent. Companies trying to reopen old mines in Grass Valley and near Sutter Creek have slogged through years of red tape, and there are no guarantees of success. The Sutter Creek plan is at least a year away, while Grass Valley is several years from reopening.

Standing in the way: scarcity of capital and strict environmental standards...

In the Mother Lode, many mine shafts have filled up with water, adding to the environmental issues. And the partial urbanization of the region creates local opposition.

"If you are near civilization, it is difficult," said John Parrish, the state geologist.

Parrish said it can take seven to 10 years to assemble the needed permits for mining in California.

This...(said in best Lowell Thomas voice) California.


Anonymous said...

Another reason to love The Golden State. And if you don't like it, move to Nevada.

There's nearly always a nickel to be made by destroying the environment. The nickel spends quick. The environment stays dead much longer.

Darren said...

Odd, I don't see any "dead" environment here in California--or in Nevada.

gbradley said...

Plus the Gold Mines here in California make more money selling tours than they can earn mining Gold.

Darren said...

At $1500/ounce, you really think so? Is that why companies go through *years* of paperwork and other hoop-jumping to restart mines, so that they can make *less* money?

gbradley said...

That's what they told us Summer of 08.
I don't remember what the price had to be for them to restart the mine. Maybe it's there, but I thought that it had to be closer to $2,000?
They said that the ore in the ground was like money ion the bank.

Darren said...

Perhaps it's so for that one mine, but not in the "Gold Country" along the appropriately-named Highway 49.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of environmental concerns, the current Sutter Gold Mine water treatment plant produces water that is cleaner that the cities own drinking water... plus this is a modern mine, and anyone who knows anything about mining knows that these guys won't go anywhere near risking opening up into the old shafts. This would be an engineers nightmare.

One of the biggest issues the mine owners have is dealing with the tour company who still has a number of years left on their lease AND is probably the single most effective tool in educating the public about current mining practices. Obviously they prefer to get them out of the way and even mis-reported this to the press themselves.