22 June 2008

Peak Copper in New Mexico

Not Worth a Pretty Penny
By Gerry Storm / The Rag Blog / June 22, 2008

Prices of all metal are skyrocketing these days as investors realize that peak copper, peak nickel, peak silver, peak gold, have likely already occurred. China will buy any and all metals for premium prices.

The county in which I reside [in southwest New Mexico] is copper country. Huge pits in the Earth all around here, have been for hundreds of years. When this was Mexico they operated the mines and hauled the paydirt south. Even the mines that played out are under scrutiny again as the price soars. There is a process in which copper can be recovered from old tailings which are tower tall and miles long in this part of the country. So they are both mining and recovering it as fast as they can.

The copper mines are the main economic resource and biggest employer in the county. County government thrives on their production, all the business' boom when the mines are in full operation. Lots of new Chevy pickups in the WalMart parking lot these days. Peak employment in the area. I have seen it when just the opposite was true. Makes the recession even stranger, local economy booming while the national economy struggles. I don't believe the real estate prices have fallen, certainly not much. The food prices have soared. Gas is holding temporarily at $4.09.

There were gold mines in this area a long time ago. They didn't mine all the gold, cut back on production when they got to the veins that were difficult to extract, prices went down and they left it alone. Now there are towns sitting atop those old veins...and rumblings about their value.

Did you know that a penny is worth $0.017 cents. All our coinage is worth more than the face value. The mints can't find cheap metals to make it from. Next thing you know the prospectors will be back in the hills again, this time driving 4 wheelers and using electronic devices.

On my, the future looks so complicated. We were lucky to have been around for the best days of all, economically. I dare say all of us had a bit of wealth come our respective ways at one time or another, far more than most of the occupants of the planet ever saw. But toward the end of the journey it becomes clear that our dues have not been paid. The last chapter is going to be strange.

What you say is undoubtedly true. I say that after I have thought it over from four directions.

Clearly one we need is cheaper money. We could make pennies into nickels, but why not make biodegradable pennies, understanding that pennies could have a cool rainbow hologram of an eagle on each one.

Like lets keep the penny but lets make it biodegradable like cardboard core with with shiny holograms on the surface. That way you could carry around a whole pocket full of pennies without feeling weighted down too bad, enough to buy a candy bar maybe.

Better government is on the way.

Roger Baker / The Rag Blog
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