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Driving to the Gold Rush
in more people.”

But like any gold rush, he warned, the promise of riches can outshine the real possibilities — even if more investors are willing to finance start-ups than ever before.

“It is easier to raise more money,” Mr. Stanley said, “but it takes a lot of money to go out and find gold.”

With the price of gold likely to continue its climb, mining companies are ramping up gold exploration budgets all over the world. But many countries that hold out the promise of significant new deposits are either politically capricious, like Russia, or dangerous, like Congo.

By contrast, Mexico has developed friendly investment rules and a relatively efficient bureaucracy, analysts said. Despite the escalating drug war in much of northern Mexico, miners operate quite safely. And Mexico offers an advantage for North American prospectors that no other country can match: geologists can make the drive down in a few days.

Just to start exploring, it takes tens of millions of dollars. The cost of finding and

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