A record number of mineral claims have been filed in B.C. over the last three years and more than 11,000 were filed in the first seven months of 2012, signaling a prospecting boom in the province.
Around $463 million was spent on mineral exploration in B.C. last year and the same amount is expected to be spent this year.
But despite few claims actually becoming a mine, those who work as prospectors cling to the dream of striking it rich.
Geologist Leslie Hunt lives in a cabin on the shores of a small lake in northern B.C.
While moose splash around in the water outside of her cabin, computers are switched on inside as she looks for her fortune.
“This would run about a hundred ounces a ton, which is an awful lot of gold,” Hunt said referring to a rock with gold in it.
One mine nearby her spread produced more than 70,000 ounces of gold before it was shut down several years ago.
Now, driven by the high price of gold, Chinese investors are interested in starting it up again. Such claims are traded back and forth at “roundups” where junior miners try to sell to senior mining companies and people look for investors.
All the money from prospecting trickles down through the B.C. economy.
Hunt has never managed to strike it rich, but that hasn’t deterred her.
Several years ago a virus attacked her heart and, after a transplant, she was back prospecting.
This summer, however, Hunt was diagnosed as needing the new heart and kidney, but she vows she will be back in the wilderness to stake her claim next year.
“Probably, needing a new heart and a new kidney, it’s going to be a little bit dicey as far as work is concerned,” she told CTV news earlier this year.
“But we’ll just get through it.”
For a new caste of this story, please go to the CTV British Columbia website: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/miner-claims-see-major-spike-in-b-c-1.967911