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Driving to the Gold Rush
this land is relatively underdeveloped. Difficult terrain, Indian raids and political instability made mining a start-and-stop affair. Mexico prohibited foreign mining investment for three decades, relenting only in 1992 as the North American Free Trade Agreement was being negotiated.

Now, analysts say, Mexico is one of the most attractive countries in the world for mining — the 14th-largest producer of gold, up from 18th place in 2006.

The new prospectors’ chief market for raising seed money for their start-ups is a half-continent away from these mountains where volcanic activity laid rich deposits of gold, silver, zinc and lead as long as 130 million years ago. Most companies raise their first few million to begin mapping and testing claims at the TSX Venture Exchange in Toronto.

Known in the industry as juniors, they have become the exploration arm of the industry, said Larry Segerstrom, the chief operating officer of Paramount Gold and Silver, a junior based in Ottawa that is exploring in Chihuahua State.

Mr. Stanley, the analyst, said: “There are over

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