Here is an idle thought on out-of-the-way mining investment. This thought is prompted by the flurry of reports out of Canada that many mines are seeking to dispose of their tailings in near-by lakes. Another cheap way to dispose of tailings is into the marine environment.

Tailings disposal into the sea has been done in Canada: Island Copper is the prime example. There is plenty of information on the web about this contentious mining operation and its ultimate success story (although there is still work underway maintaining the site.)

Of course you need a good ore body close to the ocean if you are going to contemplate marine tailings disposal. So as an investor in out-of-the way mining opportunities, look up those prospective mines, particularly in British Columbia, near the coast and a convenient inlet. Then consider the possibility they may one day be allowed to undertake marine tailings disposal.

Any such attempt is bound to be fraught with difficulty and dispute. Not the least will be a more public examination of the Island Copper case history. But if they succeed, they will have a most cost-effective operation.

If the Canadians can persuade themselves of the obvious, namely that in the fullness of geological time, all above-grade tailings impoundments will be part of the greater geomorphic cycle and migrate down to the ocean, then maybe the Canadians can persuade themselves to accept both in-lake and in-ocean tailings disposal.

All you have to do is be on the look out for the right time to invest in the companies that may succeed and secure a most cost-effective way to dispose of their waste.

Now British Columbia is not the only place this could be done. The long coast line of Chile offers similar opportunities. Look at companies and their ore bodies near the coast in Chile for similar opportunities.

Then there is the whole Pacific region. Grasberg is an example of one mine that has taken this perspective to its ultimate logical conclusion. It will take a savvy and aware investor to spot the next Grasberg, but it is sure to come along as metal prices go higher and the costs of mining increase.