By Shihoko Goto – Exclusive to Gold Investing News
Alaska is the new El Dorado of the United States, or so it is according to a reality television series by the Discovery Channel. With the US economy still in the doldrums on the one hand, and the price of the yellow metal reaching record highs on the other, it’s perhaps no surprise that some families are uprooting themselves and hoping to strike it rich by gold prospecting. What is more eyebrow-raising is how the hunt for gold has become widespread across the United States and other wealthy nations as commodity prices surge and economic growth remains weak.
Cameras have been following the Hoffman family from Sandy, Oregon to Alaska’s Porcupine Creek prospect for the past 12 months through the reality show Gold Rush, but the gold rush trail has extended into the middle of the United States, too. The northern region of the state of Wisconsin has seen mining interest bubbling, and Aquila Resources (TSX:AQA) is at the forefront in mining for the yellow metal in areas bordering Michigan with three projects in the area.
Earlier this month, Aquila Resources acquired the Bend copper and gold deposit near Medford, Wisconsin as part of its exploration alliance with HudBay Minerals (TSX:HBM). Aquila has been issued an exploration license by the Bureau of Land Management which covers 5,560 acres within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and the license gives the company exclusive right to explore the Bend deposit.
“The acquisition of Bend is part of an effort, together with HudBay, to explore for and acquire mineral deposits in the Penokean Volcanic belt, an area of vast untapped potential in Michigan and Wisconsin,” stated Aquila’s CEO Thomas Quigley.
In Montana, meanwhile, RX Exploration (OTCQX:RXEXF) acquired the Drumlummon mine that had closed down at the turn of the 20th century which has since given new life to the town of Marysville. RX gave the green light to a $3.5 million underground and surface exploration plan for the mine which has not yet benefited from basic modern exploration techniques.
“We started a new drilling campaign in August (of 2011) and we are extremely pleased with the results we’ve seen so far,” stated RX’s CEO Darren Blasutti, adding that the discovery of new targets near the mine “give us great confidence in our ability to identify new veins and new ore zones in 2012 and beyond.”
Tapping into the gold wealth within the United States, however, is not just for large mining companies. In fact, junior miners are viewed as more nimble and less able to go prospecting in new territories. It is becoming much easier for smaller companies, as well as daring individuals, to find potential sites, not least with Web sites such as GoldMapsOnline that identifies 181,134 abandoned mines across the United States as well as 378,890 active mines in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming as well as Alaska and Montana.
However, the urge to find new mineral mines within the borders of wealthy nations is not confined to the United States and Canada. Britain is also finding its shores being explored for gold. Scotgold Resources (ASX:SGZ) was granted permission this year to open the first commercial gold mine in Scotland near Loch Lomond, with support from national groups such as Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.
With gold prices surging and jobs being scarce in Scotland as elsewhere, the economic gains have won over environmental concerns, with the Covener for Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Linda McKay stating that “there will be a temporary loss to Glen Cononish’s special character, but we have greater confidence that we can secure both long-term conservation gain and economic benefits to the local economy and Scotland.”
I, Shihoko Goto, have no interests in the companies mentioned in this article.