Friday, February 01, 2013

Gold has gone down river

I have been looking at some placer mining operations lately. Who hasn't with new TV shows based on placer mining operations popping up on a seemingly regular basis. I wish that I could say that I am taking a close look at placer mining because of the resurgence of interest created by mainstream television, but i can't.

Everything those folks do and have done is a credit to their perseverance, work ethics and integrity. It takes a no holds barred determination to go out on a limb buying equipment to start an operation, and a rock hard commitment to see it through. Let alone, diving in skin freezing water to recover gold.

Most of the time, you'll find guys like me looking at hard rock deposits and chipping out samples or drilling things to find a lode bearing area.  I have for many years focused on locating the source of the gold and hoping that it would eventually lead to making a mine. Some of that work has paid off, but it is a long drawn out waiting game. In any case in Canada right know the time involved between making discoveries of gold or other minerals in a hard rock environment and actually seeing a mine develop is at least 12 years.

So I have been thinking. What if I reversed my focus and used what I know about local gold deposits and started looking down stream or down river from the locations. Would I find placer gold that is more easily won? After all, I have often panned in streams and rivers day by day hoping to trace lode gold upstream.

Free gold is liberated and moved by erosion and usually carried down river to end up in river turns or crevices. I am thinking  that it may be easier to mine the gold that I panned over looking to trace the lode rock, than to actually wait to see a hard rock mine developed. That's a bit of a twist for me.

But I don't think it's far fetched, I know where several lode deposits are and I know where the rivers or streams that run off of the area are. I have traced them upstream and totally ignored the downstream possibilities. Until now.

It could be more rewarding to start a wee mobile placer operation down stream.

So Who Has Silver?

Do investors want to own silver because the latest GDP number means that the Fed will continue with QE easing by buying $85 billion a month in mortgage paper and Treasuries? Maybe they see silver and gold as a good "have at hand" store of value. Or maybe they just like the soft, lustrous look and feel of the transitional metal. Each person has their own reasons for owning silver, however these day it is likely safe to say that most folks who own silver in quantity are doing so for the future value.   

It looks like that there are a rather large number of people whom think silver is a great investment these days. I like silver because it looks nice when made into everyday things like utensils and especially when minted into coins and bars. (you now where this is headed)  Many others see silver a good store of value.  

So what is the fuss all about anyway. Lets have a look at some of the media things relating to silver these days...

Hear is a quote from Gregor Gregersen at Silver Bullion Pte Ltd... 

“Our clients are worried that a major currency crisis or mass bankruptcies would occur,” said Gregor Gregersen, the 36- year-old founder of Silver Bullion, whose sales now average about S$6 million ($4.9 million) a month. “It all has to do with falling confidence in the heavily indebted Western governments and financial institutions.”  Link

Bloomberg has been reporting on silver rather frequently  including this article  

Bloomberg reports:
Sales of American Eagle silver coins by the U.S. Mint jumped to a record this month on increased demand for an alternative to currencies as the U.S. central bank presses on with unprecedented stimulus. Sales surged to 7.42 million ounces so far in January, the biggest monthly total since 1986, when the Washington-based Mint began the transactions. The figure compares with the 1.635 million ounces sold in December.
Wasn't it just  Last week that the Royal Canadian Mint put limits on the quantity of sales for its Silver Maple Leaf coin? Yet another link

So what do you think about all the fuss over silver? Leave your comments below if you wish.

My two cents are:

Silver when seen in the weathered natural form out in the field, in a vein outcrop, is rather ugly looking, it's dark and often tends to leave a black satin. But it is rather pretty when refined and it seems that it is  becoming more valuable.  

The last thing I think you should do is rely upon anything I have written above as Investment Advice. I am a mineral prospector who looks at trends in the market mainly to guide my own activities when choosing where to focus and what minerals to focus on in prospecting work. Do I own silver? Yes i do, but my business doesn't include advising people on how to invest. Call the experts for that.

Silver is becoming a mineral that is attracting more attention from the prospector community, and I think that it is about time that it did. A good dream would involve finding a deposit of silver mixed with gold at a high grade. A near perfect dream would involve finding silver and gold mixed with base metals at a profitable mine grade.

After prospecting for a long day in the cold of Manitoba