New Gold Rush for BC Prospectors

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"A new round of enthusiasm for the yellow metal is breathing life into old gold mines."

Vancouver Sun, Derrick Penner

Some 150 years after the province's first gold rush, a new round of enthusiasm for the yellow metal is breathing life into old gold mines and sparking a new rush of exploration.

Investors are bolstering exploration because gold is trading in the range of US$1,500 per ounce on world markets, which provides a lot of fuel for enthusiasm.

BC saw prospectors stake 5,005 mineral claims in the first quarter of 2011, compared with 4,724 in the same quarter a year ago, and while that figure includes all mineral exploration ranging from copper to coal, gold stands out as a shiny attractant within BC's mining boom, according to Dave Lefebure, chief geologist for the BC Geological Survey.

"Because gold prices are sky high, that's one of the key commodities that exploration companies can raise money for, and B.C. has lots of potential for gold, so we're attracting quite a bit of attention," Lefebure said.

Lefebure said the new gold rush isn't a gold rush in the sense of the historical events, like the Cariboo gold rush or Klondike rush, because it isn't a matter of miners plucking gold nuggets out of river.

"We're seeing an exploration push along those lines, but instead of looking for gold nuggets in river placer, they're looking for it in bedrock," Lefebure said.

Prospectors spent $322M looking for minerals in BC last year, the third highest level of exploration ever in the province, and Lefebure expects a similar amount of activity this year.

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