Sunday, March 30, 2008

People Flocking to California to Hit it Big with Gold

The surging price of gold is leading to a second big California gold rush, as people looking to hit it big are converging on the "Gold Belt," as it's called.

Individual prospector hopefuls aren't the only ones migrating to the gold space either, as commercial claims have increased to 2,274 in just the first quarter this year, up from the mere 132 during the same period in 2005, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

Confirming the high price of gold as the motivator behind all this activity, Roger Haskins, senior specialist for mining law at the BLM, said, “We have a market imbalance at the moment and there’s more demand than supply. Gold sits in a little niche because it’s speculative. People buy it as a hedge for the future.”

Another metric showing the increasing interest in mining for gold is the membership in the Gold Prospectors Association of America, which has tripled over a extremely short period of time.

The best-known place people are flocking to is the Gold Belt, otherwise known as the "Motherlode," which is close to Highway 49 and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

A growing number of people have been quitting their jobs and prospecting as a way to make a living.

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