The best way to invest in gold: An insider secret for non-criminals – by Stuart Kirk (Financial Post/Financial Times – December 13, 2023)

Commentary: Here’s how the experts buy gold rings and bracelets for less than the scrap price

There was lots of humming and huffing in our household this week after gold prices hit a record high recently. Not that I can afford even the smallest memorial coin. But my wife is a jeweller, so we have skin in the game. I rarely comment on gold. When journalists do, insane end-of-worlders leap from their bunkers to scream abuse. Fiat money is a sham. Governments can’t be trusted. Zombies are coming.

And the yellow metal isn’t the most expensive ever. After adjusting for inflation, its peak was July 2020, with real prices on a downward path since. But loads of readers suddenly want to know more about gold — so here goes.

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The history of Real del Monte, Mexico’s little slice of Cornwall – by Diana Cooper-Richet (The Conversation – December 12, 2017)

Sitting at an altitude of 2,700 metres, Real del Monte is a pretty town in the Mexican state of Hidalgo. But with its architecture, heritage of silver mining and meat pasties, it is also a little slice of Cornwall, a region in the southwest of England.

The silver mines surrounding Real del Monte were the source of more than half the silver produced during the 300 years that Spain rule Mexico (1521–1821). By 1824, however, they were in bad condition, and were bought by a group of English investors.

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[Silver Mining History] Potosí and its Silver: The Beginnings of Globalization – by Kenneth Maxwell (SLD Info – December 13, 2020)


A decade after the Spanish Conquistadores toppled the Inca Empire (1532-34), an indigenous Andean prospector, Diego Gualpa, in 1545, stumbled onto the richest silver deposit in the world on a high mountain of 4,800 meters (15,750 feet) in the eastern cordillera of the Bolivian Andes.

Here in the shadow of what the Spaniards called the “Cerro Rico” (“Rich Mountain”) at 4,000 meters (13,200 feet) a mining boom town quickly developed. By the end of the sixteenth century, it had become one of the largest and the highest cities in the world, and in 1561, Philip ll of Spain, decreed that it should be known as the “Villa Imperial de Potosí.”

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[History] Women in Welsh Coal Mining – by Norena Shopland (Nation Cymru – July 31, 2023)

When 19-year-old Ann Bowcot from Dowlais was interviewed for the 1842 Children’s Employment report, she told the investigators that when she started work at the mines she was so small she had to be carried on her father’s shoulders to work.

She was not alone. It was common to see men carrying small children in the dark hours before dawn to the mine, where they would descend and remain most of the day. Society was appalled, and demanded something be done. The 1833 Factory Act had restricted the employment of children but why, people were asking, had this Act not been applied to other industries such as mining – so the government ordered an investigation.

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Brazilian Gold Rush 1693 (Minas Gerais) – A Defining Moment in Brazil’s History – by Liam Williams (Gold – June 12, 2023)

Brief Overview of the Brazilian Gold Rush

In 1693, a significant event unfolded in Brazil, then a Portuguese colony – the Brazilian Gold Rush. This period was more than just a discovery of gold; it was a transformative era that shaped the nation’s destiny.

Ten Facts about the Brazilian Gold Rush

The Discoverer of Gold: It’s believed that the Brazilian Gold Rush began in 1693 when a group of bandeirantes, Portuguese colonial scouts, found gold in a tributary of the Rio Doce. Bartolomeu Bueno de Siqueira is often credited as the initial discoverer.

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When coal was king in the Welsh valleys of the Rhondda – by Dana Huntley (British Heritage Travel – June 15, 2023)

The scars left behind by the collieries of Wales’ Rhondda Valley are beginning to heal, but some things never change.

Scarcely an hour’s drive west of the pristine villages, prosperous cottage gardens, and sylvan landscapes of the Cotswolds lies the southern Welsh county of mid-Glamorgan. Throngs of touring coaches, camera-wielding photojournalists, and well-heeled tourists don’t come here. These are the valleys of the Rhondda.

In the Valleys

Fanning out above the Welsh capital of Cardiff, these valleys are the coalfields of South Wales, narrow glens snaking their way south to north, from the Bristol Channel coast toward the Brecon Beacons. Every few miles up and down the hills lie the skeletal remains of a pit head, rusting silently, majestic.

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The View from England: Win their hearts, and minds will follow – by Chris Hinde (Northern Miner – May 19, 2023)

I shed tears within 30 pages. I expect you would too and, if you’re a miner, so you should. In a recently-published novel we are taken back to a small mining town in October 1966 when our industry killed children, young children, half a school of them.

Published by Faber & Faber, ‘A Terrible Kindness’ reminds us (as Jo Browning Wroe writes in her opening sentence) of when “something dreadful happened in Wales.” In Aberfan on that dark morning, 116 children (mostly between the ages of seven and 10) went to school and didn’t come back.

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History of mining: Mining the Americas in deep time – by John Sandlos (Canadian Mining Journal – May 4, 2023)

If you ask the average person in the street when they think the history of mining begins in the Americas, they might pinpoint the throng of the forty-niners who migrated to California in search of gold (bequeathing a name to San Francisco’s NFL team). Or perhaps they would recall the mad dash northward to the Klondike in 1898, made famous in the fiction of Jack London, the poetry of Robert Service, the popular history of Pierre Berton, and even a classic film by Charlie Chaplin.

Some might go as far back as the large-scale precious metal mines that brought the Spanish to Central America in the 16th century. But almost nobody would acknowledge that mining in the Americas originated thousands of years ago as a critical cultural and economic activity of Indigenous People.

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Copper ore analyses reveal deep connections between ancient African civilizations – by Staff ( – April 2, 2023)

An international team of researchers ran chemical and isotopic analyses of copper artifacts from southern Africa and discovered new cultural connections among people living in the region between the 5th and 20th centuries.

In a paper published in the journal Plos One, the researchers explain that people in the area between northern South Africa and the Copperbelt region in central Africa were more connected to one another than scholars previously thought.

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Mystery of why Roman buildings have survived so long has been unraveled, scientists say – by Katie Hunt ( – January 9, 2023)

The majestic structures of ancient Rome have survived for millennia — a testament to the ingenuity of Roman engineers, who perfected the use of concrete. But how did their construction materials help keep colossal buildings like the Pantheon (which has the world’s largest unreinforced dome) and the Colosseum standing for more than 2,000 years?

Roman concrete, in many cases, has proven to be longer-lasting than its modern equivalent, which can deteriorate within decades. Now, scientists behind a new study say they have uncovered the mystery ingredient that allowed the Romans to make their construction material so durable and build elaborate structures in challenging places such as docks, sewers and earthquake zones.

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The View from England: When copper production was dominated by the Welsh -by Chris Hinde (Northern Miner – January 5, 2023)

Global mining news

The U.K. no longer springs to mind as a mining giant, but we used to have a dominant role in the global industry. The extraction of non-ferrous metals on these islands, particularly copper and tin, dates back to before 2000 BC, and surface workings for coal and iron ore were widespread after the beginning of the Iron Age around 750 BC. This mineral wealth was one of the things that attracted the attention of Rome.

The nation’s mining history comes to mind with the recent news (courtesy of the ‘North Wales Live’ website) that after 37 years of clearance work, volunteers are nearing their goal of breaking through to an unexplored section of Llandudno’s Ty Gwyn copper mine.

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How This Abandoned Mining Town in Greenland Helped Win World War II – by Katie Lockhart (Smithsonian Magazine – December 27, 2019)

It was a foggy morning in south Greenland as I stood on deck and peered at the mountains poking through the clouds. Our Adventure Canada expedition ship docked offshore, and we disembarked on Zodiac boats to what looked like a ghost town.

Scattered on the rocky shore were little white chunks of cryolite, a mineral once used in the production of aluminum. As the mist swept through the empty houses dotting the shorelines, we walked up to the mine—a pit spanning 755 feet long and 656 feet wide—and looked over at a glassy, water-filled bottom. Meandering through the abandoned mining town, relics of the past—old engines and bottles—mixed with fresh tire tracks and cigarette butts left by musk ox hunters passing through the area.

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North America is seeing a hiring boom in mining industry IoT roles (Mining Technology – July 13, 2022)

Some parts of the world are investing more heavily in internet of things roles than others

North America extended its dominance for internet of things (IoT) hiring among mining industry companies in the three months ending May. The number of roles in North America made up 50.8% of total IoT jobs – up from 42.1% in the same quarter last year.

That was followed by South & Central America, which saw a 0.1 year-on-year percentage point change in IoT roles. The figures are compiled by GlobalData, which tracks the number of new job postings from key companies in various sectors over time. Using textual analysis, these job advertisements are then classified thematically.

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Egypt’s emerald mines fell under the control of the Blemmyes in the Early Middle Ages, archaeologists find ( – March 2022)

Control over emerald mines in Egypt shifted from the Roman Empire to the Blemmyes during the Early Middle Ages, archaeologists have found. These are the results from research carried out in 2020 and 2021 by an international team of archaeologists led by Joan Oller Guzmán of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Digs were carried out at the Roman site of Sikait, a set of buildings surrounding Roman Egypt’s emerald mines, located in Egypt’s Eastern Desert. The area was known in Antiquity as “Mons Smaragdus”, given that it was the only place within the Roman Empire where emeralds could be found.

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Japan Wants to Showcase Gold Mines’ History. Just Not All of It. – by Motoko Rich and Hikari Hida (New York Times – February 21, 2022)

A bid for a UNESCO World Heritage designation is the latest flash point between Japan and South Korea over Japanese colonial abuses during World War II.

SADO ISLAND, Japan — About 40 miles off the northwestern coast of Japan, Akiyoshi Iwasaki is eager to share some history of the mountainous, lightning-bolt-shaped isle where he grew up.

After years of lobbying by local residents, Mr. Iwasaki, a bar owner, is delighted that the Japanese government has nominated three gold and silver mines on Sado Island for UNESCO World Heritage designation, hoping to showcase them alongside Mount Fuji, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Kyoto’s shrines.

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