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Opinion
David Fickling

Fool's Gold in High Tech

Miners' technological improvements are copied by rivals too quickly to provide any lasting advantage.

Modern miners are phenomenally good at making money from turning base rock into gold.

The average deposit contains just 1.01 grams of the precious metal for every metric ton of ore, according to a 2013 report by Natural Resource Holdings. To put that in perspective, you'd need to crush and process a Statue of Liberty's worth of ore at that grade to extract just two teaspoons of gold -- worth about $8,800 at current spot prices.