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Driving to the Gold Rush
then mining gold has increased about 25 percent in the last year, a result of soaring costs for the energy, steel and cement used in mining.

Specialized equipment and qualified personnel are also in short supply. Modern-day exploration requires aerial mapping and sophisticated sensors.

Even with the most sophisticated sounding and drilling equipment, only one of every 1,000 exploration projects becomes a working mine, said Peter K. M. Megaw, president of Imdex, a consulting and contracting firm based in Tucson that helps foreign companies exploring in Mexico.

“There’s gold everywhere,” said François Auclair, vice president for exploration for Dia Bras Exploration, a small company in Montreal. “But you need special physical conditions to make your deposit worth something.”

That has not slowed the exploratory drilling taking place here. Across the Sierra Madre, bulldozers flatten farm trails to create roads to remote sites and diamond drill tips bore hundreds of meters into rock, collecting truckloads of cylindrical samples for testing.

Even with its long history of mining,

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