South Carolina mine sparks mini-gold rush to the Southeast

Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:13am EDT
 
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By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - A Canadian mining company and a tiny South Carolina town are leading what could be a modern gold rush to the southeastern United States.

Romarco Minerals Inc. reopened the historic Haile Gold Mine near Kershaw, S.C., this year and expects to pour its first gold bar there in early 2014, Chief Executive Diane Garrett told Reuters this week.

Once environmental impact studies and permits are complete, Haile will be the only modern gold mine east of the Mississippi River, Garrett said, and the first since the Kennecott Minerals mine closed in Ridgeway, S.C., in 1999.

Based on the proven gold reserves found in samples, the Toronto company estimates it has 3.1 million ounces of gold at Haile. The mine will produce an average of 150,000 ounces of gold a year for five years, according to its website.

"It sits on one of the most significant trends of gold in the United States," Garrett said. "A lot of people had forgotten just how significant the gold production was in this area."

Romarco's success at finding the gold left at Haile has sparked renewed industry interest in the southeastern United States.

The gold is embedded in microscopic flecks in volcanic rock along what geologists call the Carolina Slate Belt, which winds from northern Georgia through the Carolinas and into Virginia.

Vancouver's Revolution Resources Corp. said in early October that it had begun drilling at several historic North Carolina gold mine sites along the Slate Belt.   Continued...