He's the man, the man with the Midas touch
June 17, 2017 11:00 PM   Subscribe

With gold fixed at $35/ounce, mining for it had become unprofitable by the mid-60s. Time for the U.S. government to look elsewhere for gold: seawater, meteorites, plants, even deer antlers.
posted by Chrysostom (8 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Eponysterical!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:20 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


Also, fantastic article- very scary that they actually detonated nuclear bombs in SA looking for gold. I wonder if the areas around those mines have higher levels of cancer, or if the mining areas were very remote.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:21 PM on June 17


They proposed detonating in South America. Actual Plowshare tests were only conducted in Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado.

And before anyone guesses that the US government could have covered one up, nothing is harder to hide then a nuke. The Soviets would have loved the propoganda value of such a blatant display of American Imperialism. We fired enough off in the South Pacific, and anyone who lived through the 70s and 80s saw those blasts in pop culture hundreds of times.

Im not saying the US wouldn't have done it or tried to cover it up (jesus look at that century's bloody South and Central American intereference) but nukes are big and emit global seismic and regional radiation signal.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:07 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't that have had the Goldfinger effect of irradiating any gold found?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:06 AM on June 18


…there was nonetheless consensus between the executive branch and a handful of congressmen to disguise Operation Goldfinger as a broad-based metal-mining program.

So perhaps the Glomar Explorer was actually looking for gold, and the whole Soviet submarine thing was just a secondary ruse in case people questioned the manganese nodule cover story.
posted by TedW at 5:13 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't that have had the Goldfinger effect of irradiating any gold found?

It depends on the specifics of the nuke - I haven't looked at any of the details, but if you can avoid generating any long-lived isotopes it shouldn't be much of a problem. Keeping it in a secure vault away from people is what countries do with gold anyway. Not to mention you get a handy isotope tracer in case someone tries to make off with it.
posted by Dr Dracator at 5:45 AM on June 18


Keeping it in a secure vault away from people is what countries do with gold anyway.

Now I'm thinking of the Rai stones of Yap, which were often traded for without physically moving the location of the stone. In one sort of famous case, one of these giant stone coins fell off an outrigger and sank to the bottom of the ocean. While it was now completely irretrievable, everyone concerned agreed that it wasn't going anywhere, and continued to transact with it without all the hassle of shipping it back and forward.
posted by zamboni at 11:29 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


Thorzdad: "Wouldn't that have had the Goldfinger effect of irradiating any gold found?"

Related SF: Niven, "The Roengten Standard."
posted by Chrysostom at 7:09 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


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