Idaho Gold & Rare Earths...

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The Miller Mountain Mess: Idaho gold and rare earths

Boone was his name. His claim to fame was peddling trace mineral rich montmorillonite mud, “for cosmetic purposes”, so technically he really wasn’t the last of the snake oil salesmen. And technically I kept my distance as a supposed non-professional landsman/prospector on his rare earths and gold project in Idaho, which is what sent Albert, and his 73-year old wife (unlike Enron’s Mrs. Kenneth Lay), to a retirement home known as Club Fed. I escaped being sent to prison for being an a partner to a mail fraud, as a government geologist testified in court that his placer gold samplings had returned an averaged 1/10 of an ounce of gold, and an undisclosed amount of the rare earth nuggets where only the U.S. Bureau of Mines facility in Albany, Oregon seemed to understand had value.

In retrospect, too bad someone back in Washington pulled the plug on such “senseless research” of the U.S. Bureau of Mines doing away with the agency as a cost saving measure. Thirty years later you may have been hearing about the importance of China diplomatically being talked into exporting their rare earths minerals needed by Ford employees of energy saving “smart” engines. You also may wonder how it was that the titanium and zirconium producing company Teledyne Wah Chang, that just happened to be located in Albany, Oregon, seemed to be the only one listening.

My point, after taking in a bulk sample for a tour of the research facility is that if the tax revenues the SEC squandered on imprisoning the Boones —as in the scapegoat inside trader scandal of Martha Stewart— had gone instead to the U.S. Bureau of Mines, American today perhaps might still be a minerals financial powerhouse, instead of a Wall Street lame dog and pony show.

Knowing the full story on the Miller Mountain project that neither the U.S. Federal Prosecutor, nor Boone’s defense attorneys, wanted me to testify as to the sworn truth of the matter — I actually had fun being summonsed before a Grand Jury examination.  As a high school “right to life” dropout that has never stopped learning by actually writing grad school papers for my schoolteacher second wife and MBA daughter, I loved making a Spanish Inquisitor — totally uninterrupted by objections— ask what I meant by stating my professional prospector credentials were validated by the, “Cognitive Load Theory of Jon Sweller, reinforced by Frederic Bartlett supporting, as part of his Learning Theory, that supported theorist Jean Piaget’s introduced term of a Textual Acquired Schema used for acquiring knowledge.”

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