Is California on the Verge of a Second Gold Rush? – by Becki Robins (The Atlantic -January 30, 2022)

Gold mines are reopening in places where mining was once thought to be economically unfeasible.

On the outskirts of the Northern California town of Grass Valley, a massive concrete silo looms over the weeds and crumbling pavement. Nearby, unseen, a mine shaft drops 3,400 feet into the earth. These are the remains of Grass Valley’s Idaho-Maryland Mine, a relic from the town’s gold-mining past.

Numerous mines like this one once fueled Grass Valley’s economy, and today Gold Rush artifacts are part of the town’s character: A stamp mill, once used to break up gold-bearing rock, now guards an intersection on Main Street, and old ore carts and other rusty remnants can be spotted in parking lots and storefronts around town.

Gold still exists in the veins of the abandoned mine, and Rise Gold, the mining corporation that purchased the mine in 2017, has reason to believe that reopening it makes financial sense. When the mine shut down in 1956, it wasn’t because the gold was drying up; it was because of economic policy.

The 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement had established a new international monetary system to create stability in exchange rates. As part of the effort, the price of gold was fixed at $35 an ounce. Gold mining became unprofitable in the U.S.

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