Forget gold. The next big thing is going to be the rush to mine tungsten in Arizona. In order to make incandescent light bulbs that can only be sold in Arizona.
Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Commerce and Economic Development passed HB 2337, which will keep the standard incandescent light bulb on the shelves in Arizona after federal energy standards imposed by former Pres. George W. Bush take effect in 2014, that will effectively ban the current bulb as too inefficient.
The Arizona legislation is attracting lots of attention across the state and around the country as a symbolic battle of federal authority vs states rights.
The bill sponsor, Sen. Frank Antenori argues that if all the basic components of the light bulb are produced in Arizona, it is not subject to interstate commerce restrictions. The bulb however, could not be sold in other states.
One critical component to the incandescent bulb is tungsten for the filament. The only tungsten produced in the U.S. comes from California. Mr. Antenori is quoted as realizing there is no Arizona production but he correctly notes there are deposits here. For instance there are three well known veins of scheelite (CaWO4) in the Huachuca Mountains of southern Arizona. There has been some minor excavations of these deposits but nothing in the past few decades. [right, tungsten filament from an incandescent bulb. Credit, Wikipedia]
All you need to do is spend 5 - 10 years getting the permits needed to resume mining, build a processing plant, and construct a manufacturing facility to make tungsten filaments. Then, assuming that Westinghouse, or GE, or the Chinese are enticed into building a light bulb factory in Arizona to sell energy inefficient bulbs to the locals only, your fortune is set.