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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 6, February 10, 2008, Article 31

HIGHER PRICES BREATHE LIFE INTO GOLD PROSPECTING INDUSTRY

[This morning's Washington Post had a good article on how
today's higher gold prices are encouraging more prospectors
to search for the metal.  -Editor]

Membership in gold prospecting clubs is climbing nationwide,
along with sales of pans, dredges, metal detectors and other
small-scale mining equipment. A trade show recently hosted
by the Gold Prospectors Association of America in Orange
County, Calif., typified the trend.

"I saw more people walking out with more metal detectors
and sluice boxes than I can remember in a long time," said
Ken Rucker, general manager of the 45,000-member association.
"That $900 is really getting to people."

The group has received hundreds of calls and e-mails from
interested gold seekers. New memberships are increasing,
and the number of membership renewals at the close of 2007
was twice as high as the year before, said Brandon Johnson,
the director of operations. As a result, the association
is preparing to add to its staff.

The heightened interest is nowhere near that of the famous
19th-century gold rushes in California, Alaska and Canada's
Yukon Territory. Those grizzled prospectors have long since
been replaced by recreational gold hounds -- mostly seasonal
workers and retirees.

About 150 families in Alaska live off gold they have collected,
state officials said. But longtime prospectors say small-scale
mining is generally unpredictable, tough on the body and yields
little to no profit.

"If you love ditch-digging, you'll just love gold mining,"
said Steve Herschbach, owner of Alaska Mining and Diving, a
mining-supply shop in Anchorage.

Toni Logan Goodrich, who co-owns Oxford Assaying and Refining
in Anchorage, said high prices are bringing a younger demographic
to mining. It's a shift from 10 years ago, when she wondered
whether her business of purifying and assessing gold would
survive.

Goodrich displayed the impressive amounts of gold unearthed
by her clients. In the workshop, her husband smelted 18 pounds
of gold into a brick worth $250,000. Three fistfuls of gleaming
nuggets and two quarts of gold flakes sat nearby, with a total
value of another $500,000.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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