Just east of Sacramento and right on the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains lies a seemingly bucolic area that was, in the 1840s, the hub of the California Gold Rush. Today, more than 150 years later, this same region is beginning to experience a mining renaissance. Is it possible that California will experience a second Gold Rush and the economic boom period that accompanied it? Not likely, but there is enough renewed enthusiasm for mining in the state that miners are willing to take on even California’s notoriously onerous environmental hurdles in order to gain access to the “gold in them thar hills.”
In a recent news report for All Things Considered, NPR reporter Lauren Sommer visited the Lincoln Project Mine in Sutter Creek, California, where she saw first-hand the rebirth of mining in the “Mother Lode.” The Lincoln Project Mine is just one of several mines that mining companies either have opened or plan to open in the next few years. If you are wondering why these abandoned mines are re-opening after decades of disuse, the answer is simple: the steadily climbing price of gold.