Gold in them thar hills and a new rush is on to find it_World Biz--China Economic Net
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Gold in them thar hills and a new rush is on to find it
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-02-04 10:25
The snow is still knee-high along the banks of Crow Creek, where men are crouching up to their chests in near-freezing water, and the air is several degrees colder.

But for Mike Telgenhoff and his companions, this is a fine day to look for gold.

"We do real good in the wintertime because the creek's so low,'' said Telgenhoff. "I've made a lot of money at it, but I've spent a lot, too. You don't get rich doing this.''

But with gold prices reaching an all-time high of US$900 an ounce and the US economy slumping, Alaska expects to see more and more people trekking to the edge of the continent in search of gold.

Telgenhoff and two other miners normally have this narrow valley southeast of Anchorage to themselves after the winter freeze. But once the spring thaw arrives, they anticipate seeing additional prospectors.

Membership in gold prospecting clubs is climbing, along with sales of pans, metal detectors and other small-scale mining equipment. A recent trade show hosted by the Gold Prospectors Association of America in Orange County, California, typified the trend.

"I saw more people walking out with more metal detectors and sluice boxes than I can remember in a long time,'' said Ken Rucker, general manager of the 45,000-member association. "That US$900 is really getting to people.''

Roughly 150 families in Alaska live off the gold they collect, according to state officials. But longtime prospectors say small-scale mining is generally unpredictable, tough on the body and yields little to no profit.

"If you love ditch-digging, you'll just love gold mining,'' said Steve Herschbach, owner of Alaska Mining and Diving, a mining-supply shop in Anchorage. "It's just hard labor. I knew a guy up in Nome who did really, really well, but he was like a human backhoe. The guy could just shovel all day long.''
Source:Shanghai Daily 
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