“I know a shortcut,” the guy driving the Ford Explorer said in his strong Australian accent. He yanked the wheel to the left and we turned off the grassy plateau we were on.
The way ahead was down a steep, STEEP decline. STEEP!
Far below us, we could see a dirt road that we wanted to get to. The Aussie’s “shortcut” would save us an hour of backtracking across one-lane, two-rut dirt roads chiseled into the side of mountains.
That’s about all we could see. The mountains were completely fogged in by smoke from forest fires. We’d spent the day wandering in and out of this fog on goat paths. Once, we even surprised a herd of antelope — the smoke was so thick they couldn’t see us. They bounded away in all directions, all frantic action and panic.
Still, we went on. Bouncing over roads up higher … and higher. The Australian was desperate to find a view above the smoke to show us his project … and his vision of the future.
I was in the way back row of the Explorer — crammed there after another vehicle I had been riding in gave up the ghost. My previous ride was a Chevy Suburban. It was beaten to death by a mob of bad roads.
So we all piled into the Explorer. And on we went. The Explorer roared to the top of a plateau. That’s when the radiator apparently decided: “the heck with hauling your flabby asses around!” It blew its top, sending a cloud of steam billowing from under the hood.
Hood up on the Ford Explorer after the radiator blew, on a mountain plateau shrouded in smoke.
It took a while for the crew to nurse the radiator back to health. We were at the top of the plateau anyway. It dropped away steeply. The view was great. Sort of. It was a view of smoke-shrouded mountain tops. We could not see the project at all.
You can imagine how frustrated our Australian driver was getting.
So when he got an opportunity to take that shortcut and get down off that Gods-forsaken mountain, he took it.
I’m a big guy. Wedged there in the back with other Chevy survivors, I was all for getting back sooner rather than later.
But right after the driver turned — and the Explorer tipped forward down the slope — that’s when it happened …
The Explorer started to bounce and buck as it slammed into rocks hidden in the grass. Its wheels must have left the ground, ever so briefly. At least, that’s what I pictured. Because my butt left the seat, and my head slammed painfully into ceiling.
“This isn’t the shortcut,” the driver said in sudden realization, adding a paint-peeling Down Under epithet.
And that’s when I knew I was going to die and my corpse would be eaten by coyotes.
Now this is the point at which I ask myself: “Why, why WHY do I do these things?”
It’s all in pursuit of gold, of course.
Nevada is filthy-rich with gold. Some of the biggest precious metals finds have been made in Nevada. Mines in Nevada cluster along large, prolific geologic formations called trends.
Over millions of years, volcanic eruptions bathed the countryside with molten iron, copper, zinc and gold.
Fast-forward to modern times …
Settlers arrived in Nevada and found one rich mine after another. Rich silver deposits turned into mines like The Comstock Lode, the Eureka Mine and the Rochester Mine, which is still operating. Gold deposits became rich mines, including past-producing Goldfield and Robinson, and currently producing mines like Cortez, Goldstrike and Turquoise Ridge.
That’s why they call Nevada “elephant country.” Because miners found huge deposits.
And thanks to new technology, explorers are finding new, “sleeping giants” to wake for the next bull market in gold.
And man, the world so needs Nevada gold. It takes years to find, develop and build a mine. And the long bear market in gold means very little work has been done. For years!
Here’s a chart of projected global gold mine production. The trend is pretty grim from a supply side.
Source: Market Oracle
Annual mine supply is about 2,800 metric tons. It peaked in 2016. Supply is projected to decline by 76% by 2029.
So they can mine more gold, right? No new major discoveries over 3 million ounces have been made since 2009.
So if someone does make a new, big find, they’ll make all sorts of new friends.
This week, I am flying to Nevada to look at one such company. Its project hosts four distinct deposits, including a fully permitted, past-producing open pit mine. And the samples are mouthwateringly rich in gold.
This is a GREAT time to be on the trail of a new gold mine. The next big move higher in gold is around the corner.
BUT WAIT! You’re wondering, “What happened with the Ford Explorer and the sliding and the bumping and the screaming?”
Well, I was not eaten by coyotes. As the great French philosopher Montaigne famously said, “I’ve had lots of terrible misfortunes in my life, most of which didn’t come to pass.”
In fact, the Explorer somehow survived the ride down that steep hill. Though I’m pretty sure a laundromat worth of loose change was bouncing around the interior by the time we got to the bottom.
We ended up with another flat tire — the third of the trip — by the time we got to the dirt road, turned for the highway and passed some hunters. The hunters flagged us down and pointed out the flat. Even better, they actually helped us fix the tire. Excellent fellows.
And it turned out to be a great stock that did well.
This time, I’m going to rough country again. I’ll make sure we carry a spare. And I’ll send back some reports. So stay tuned.
All the best,