OPINION: How society pays a high price for gold – by Thomas Walkom (Toronto Star – March 13, 2019)


I grew up over a gold mine. That didn’t make me rich. My father worked in the mine; he didn’t own it. Even if he had, neither we nor the other families that lived on this particular mine property just outside Timmins would have been rich.

In those days, when the price of bullion was pegged at $35 U.S. an ounce, many Canadian gold mines survived only through government assistance. But living there did make me curious about the sought-after but seemingly pointless metal upon which my community relied. So when a friend mentioned that he was working on a documentary about gold. I was eager to see it.

The Shadow of Gold is an ambitious exploration of a metal that still fascinates the world. More than anything else, gold is an idea. It is desired simply because it is desired.

The documentary opens with a wedding ceremony that focuses on the gold rings being exchanged. Gold symbolizes purity. It does not rust or corrode. It may not be as useful as iron or steel. But it lasts forever.

From there, the camera moves to the more prosaic task of finding and mining this literally precious metal. The best place to find gold, we are told, is where people have already found it. The key to the economics of gold mining is to locate ore with enough of the mineral in it to make exploitation worthwhile.

For the rest of this article: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2019/03/12/how-society-pays-a-high-price-for-gold.html