Alaska Gold Rush in Face of High Prices
With gold prices nearly quadruple what they were in 2005 and recent discoveries in Alaska, a renewed interest in the country's metals is surging. There's even a reality TV show about the recent phenomenon on the Discovery Channel, called Gold Rush.
According to state reports, the number of family run operations in the industry has risen from 350 in 2005 to 581 this year. Two major mining projects in the works in southwest Alaska, Pebble Mine and Donlin Gold, are considered to be of the largest undeveloped gold mining projects in the world.
However, aside from finding the gold, cost is a major challenge and work during winter months is limited. A big find could take years of development and billions of dollars in investment.
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Bill Dunlevy, who has been prospecting for about 46 years and wears his greatest find, a 5-ounce nugget, as a necklace, told the NZ Herald, "It's [all about] the thrill of finding that gold.” The last offer Dunlevy received for his find was $20,000, but the piece remains in the family with no plans of being sold.
Helping to lead prospecting clubs in dreams of striking big, Dunlevy estimates that there are up to 10 new members a month coming into Alaska. Over the last couple decades, around 180 million ounces of gold have been discovered in the state, but it is believed the potential for more is great.
For many, that prospect along with the thrill of the hunt keeps them going as Alaskan moves towards a possible second gold rush.
From Discovery's Gold Rush, miners speak out about realities of gold mining: