Chile is prime hunting ground for “elephants” — large, undiscovered deposits of all sorts of minerals — copper, gold, silver and more. And last week, I visited this supermodel-skinny country, which is 4,022 miles long and an average width of only 100 miles across, on the trail of one of the world’s great undeveloped gold deposits.
“Chile is a toothpick of a country filled with a thousand geologic faults,” a mining engineer told me, “and every time one of those faults bends, minerals bubble to the surface.”
The first gold deposit I visited surfaced in spectacular fashion. About 22 million years ago, a giant volcano in what would become Chile blew its head off in Mt. St. Helens fashion. This sudden removal of a mountaintop lifted pressure from molten gold, silver and copper deposits deep beneath the earth, and the hot metal surged higher, over and over again, intruding finger-width thick veins of ore-bearing quartz through host rock.
Today, you can go see that gold, silver and copper yourself — as long as you’re willing to take a multi-hour ride up and down mountainsides, through one of the driest deserts in the world, to reach the Caspiche project, which at its peak is about 2.7 miles above the Earth’s surface.
At that altitude, the air is so thin that the light somehow seems different — sharper — and the wind howls over barren rock and patches of ice that refuse to melt even as the warmth of spring embraces the rest of Chile.
But that’s the kind of place you have to go in the world today if you want to find elephant-sized gold deposits.
And Caspiche is potentially very big indeed. The inferred resource is 19.6 million ounces of gold, 4.84 billion pounds of copper and 40 million ounces of silver.
The company that is developing Caspiche is…..
……read more HERE.