There's Gold in Them There Wenatchee Hills! -- Maybe Billions' Worth

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Thousands of feverish souls, picks and sluices and dredges in hand, are making their way to the hills near Wenatchee where the promise of gold beckons, glittering deep within rocky veins. All right, we're kidding. But maybe not for long. A Canadian company says the foothills four miles south of the city may be filthy rich with billions of dollars in gold. Eureka! The first samples could be coming out of the ground, about a mile deep, by late this month.

"We're confident that what we call the Wenatchee Gold Belt contains billions of dollars in gold," Lorne Brown of Lovitt Resources, told the Wenatchee World. "It's one of the best places in North America, maybe in the world, to look for gold."

Chelan County has already issued a permit to allow exploratory drilling through 2012 by the Vancouver, B.C.-based company. All this comes at a time when gold prices are holding steady at around $1,700 per ounce--high enough, says Brown, to unleash gold exploration around the world.

As Bryan Johnson at KOMO-TV News reports, one million ounces of gold was mined in these parts from 1954 to 1994, the years the mines closed. But much is left.

If the company does eventually find large deposits of gold, they are considering building a $100 million project they claim will be "as busy as a major airport."

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