Gold fever

Mike and I will be touring a gold mine today, and with gold prices estimated to stay at more than $1,300 an ounce through the end of the year, I wonder if they’ll check our pockets on the way out.

Yes, I’m joking. I couldn’t get one of those big gold bars in my pocket anyway. (A backpack? Hmmm. There’s an idea.)

Seriously, the gold bug has compelled many people to rush out to try mining over the course of the state’s history.

Several politicians link their start to mining. Take two from the first half of the 20th century: Tasker Oddie helped dig the early mines in the Tonopah region for Jim Butler. Oddie would go on to become a governor and U.S. senator. Another Tonopah connection: U.S. Sen. Key Pittman was sometimes called “the senator from Tonopah” for his strong advocacy for the mining industry. Even in the last decade, you can point to former congressman and governor Jim Gibbons, who was a mining engineer.

And one of the famed journalists of Nevada’s history, Mark Twain’s contemporary Dan DeQuille, started in mining.

The bottom line is that you can’t separate mining from Nevada’s story.

However, for every success in mining, there are many more stories of people who failed to make anything of it. But today, the mining industry is booming, and we’ll take a little closer look at how a major operation works.

We’ll write more later, assuming we don’t strike it big first.

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