Thursday, April 26, 2007

Betze-Post

Stuart returned recently from a business trip that took him to Betze-Post, an open pit goldmine outside of Elko, Nevada. He came home spilling over with bits and pieces of information. This is unusual for him. Work is work and home is home and never the two shall meet.

Stuart followed a tractor-trailer carrying an oversized load onto the mine site. Four tires lay on the trailer bed...replacements for an earth-moving machine. Since 1986 when the mine opened, these machines have eaten away an entire mountain and have dug an additional sixteen hundred feet below the water table. The resulting hole looks like an inverted ziggurat and is deeper than the Sears Tower is tall. Stuart stood on the precipice and peered over. Mechanical ants scurried around below with bits of dirt between their jaws.

The gold is microscopic and all of it is mapped out. This means that the miners can gobble and dump many truckloads of earth without sifting through for treasure. When they are digging in the valuable areas, they place the rock and dirt into storage piles to be processed. The rock is crushed and then put into a roaster. The ore that remains is mixed with sodium cyanide and a series of other chemicals. In the end, gold... and eighteen tons of waste to accompany each 18 kt ounce.

Betze-Post keeps longer hours than Walmart...twenty-four hours a day...three hundred sixty-five days a year. Walmart closes on Christmas Day. The mine has produced more than 33 million ounces of gold. Does this sound like a lot? Financially speaking...more than a billion dollars. Materially speaking...the gold recovered would fit in our living room.

God's Word is full of gold. Unlike precious metal, it cannot be mapped out. What I mine from a chapter today may not be what I mine from the same chapter a year from now. There is not a page that can be shoveled aside as worthless. This means locations (Numbers 33 for example) and the genealogies are priceless treasures!

I am astonished how we humans go to such great lengths for material gain. Our drive for more pushes us to literally move mountains! Betze-Post makes me ask questions. “Where am I on the greed continuum? How much of my time is spent grasping for wealth that will slip through my fingers? How much of my energy is spent storing up treasure in heaven?”

I want the riches that will last for eternity.