Nevada is my favorite state. Las Vegas, Reno, and those glitzy casinos: fun to gamble away a few hours and a few dollars.

But the part I like best about Nevada is that it is a state in which you are not gambling with your investment if you invest in mines. Consider: Mining & Resources reports 02 May 2008 that Nevada mines produced a record $5.4 billion worth of gold, silver, and other minerals in 2007.

Part is due to the geology - without good ore bodies nothing happens. Much is due to a mining-friendly government. I believe, however that one of the major reasons mines are supported by the rulers (Harry Reid included) and the public and why mines in Nevada do operate profitably is that it is a dry place. Mines in Nevada generally do not have to deal with excess precipitation, surface water runoff, fast flowing groundwater, and the concomitant costs. And at closure, it is easy to achieve a favorable water balance, i.e., one that does not involve treatment of contaminated water in perpetuity. All good for profits and investors.

I keep an eye on 29 Nevada mining companies from Adanac Molybdenum Corporation to the Yukon-Nevada Gold Corporation---with a lot of Nevada plus XX-named companies in between. There are probably more. Look for the new ones with but a few boreholes in the ground and no water bodies nearby.

To get a feel for the state drive east to west on I90 in early spring. The range-raised mountains are still white with snow; the basins are fresh & green with spring grasses and flowers; the sky is a bright blue; and you are not too hot. There is not a mine to be seen in all these miles. But they are there: discrete and unmarked and quietly churning away to generate that $5.4 billion. It feels good to move sedately through such beautiful, unaffected mining country. It feels even better when the checks come.

I must leave you to make your own decisions about which properties to invest in. As a techno-nerd, however, let me give you an engineering-based set of criteria to work with. If the Nevada mine has a site for a tailings impoundment that approximated these desiderata, buy:

- A geomorphically stable site

- Foundation soils and rocks not susceptible to significant movement or failure.

- The geochemical characteristics of the foundation soils and rocks attenuate seepage from the impoundment.

- A closure cover that limits infiltration, precludes biointrusion, and supports climax vegetation.

- Closure surface water management components that can be made self-managing, i.e., not subject to clogging, sediment build-up, or erosion leading to site topographic and/or geomorphic instability.