Thursday, March 9, 2017

Gold, Silver and Copper; Iron, Steel, Zinc

Nephi tells us that when they landed, they found gold, silver and copper in the vicinity (1 Nephi 18:25). To have found these precious and important ores in a cursory inspection of the land, an area in which the landing party of Lehi and his family plus the sons of Ishmael and their families lived for probably no more than a year before Nephi was told by the Lord to leave and take those who would go with him to a safer land, these ores would have been both available upon the surface, and remnants of close by veins where the ores would have been in great abundance and easily discernable--for they certainly would not have had time with the needs of establishing a brand new community, planting and hunting for food, securing shelter, etc., to be digging in the ground for ore.
    This means that much of the ore in the vicinity would have been unavailable to archaic mining techniques, though much available on the surface, but a in-ground ore a bonanza today with modern techniques. Today, so much of the precious ores of gold and silver, plus the important ore of copper would be part of current mining practices of the areas where theorists claim Lehi landed.
    This then means that in whatever area a theory claims that Nephi’s ship landed, we should see a concentrate of gold, silver and copper available, and being mined today, since gold, silver and copper are even more important today than when Lehi first arrived in the Land of Promise. So let’s take these three ores: Gold, Silver and Copper and apply them to the areas of first settlement per theory:
Mesoamerica: Lehi landed near Guatemala City in the present country of Guatemala.
Great Lakes: Lehi landed along the coast of the West sea, which is Lake Erie.
Heartland: Lehi landed along the Mississippi River in the area of present-day Tennessee, Illinois or Iowa.
Eastern U.S.: Lehi landed somewhere in northwestern Florida.
Central America: Lehi landed in Costa Rica, where the narrow neck of land is the Isthmus of Rivas in Nicaragua.
South America: Lehi landed along the 30ยบ South Latitude in Chile at Coquimbo Bay and settled there in La Serena.
    In looking at these six areas, let’s see how they fare with these three ores:
Gold World Production:
1. Chile, 16th in world: 49,936 kilograms
2. Guatemala, 42nd in world: 6,473 kilograms
3. Costa Rica, 83rd in world: 400 kilograms
4. New York, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, not ranked in the top 97 countries: less than kilograms today
Silver World Production:
1. Chile, 7th country: 1,194 tons
2. Guatemala, 17th country: 204 kilograms
3. Costa Rica, New York, Tennessee, Illinois. Iowa, and Florida, not ranked in the top 62 countries, all less than ½ ton
Copper world Production:
1. Chile, 1st in world: 3,405,100 tons
2. Costa Rica, New York, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, and Florida not ranked in the top 52 countries: all less than 300 tons
     According to the gold, silver and copper production of the areas determined as landing sites for the Lehi Colony and their settlement there as Nephi describes in 1 Nephi 18:25, only Chile, Guatemala and Costa Rica have gold deposits, and Chile is far beyond the other two. In silver only Chile and Guatemala, with Chile again far ahead of Guatemala. In copper, only Chile even qualifies, which so happens to be the largest copper producer in the entire world today.
    It would seem from these statistics, using the three major ores Nephi identifies at their landing site as the criteria, only Chile qualifies as the area where Nephi’s ship landed.
    To take this further, let’s look at the area claimed to be the overall Nephite lands based on where Nephi is claimed to have settled (the Land of Nephi) and the area of the Land of Zarahemla, where most of the Nephites settled until 350 A.D., when the treaty with the Lamanites was enacted. In this case, the following are the areas claimed:
Mesoamerica: Nephi settled in the area of Guatemala City, the area of the Land of Nephi, and the Land of Zarahemla was in the small area of southern Mexico east of the narrow neck (Isthmus of Tehuantepec), with the Land Northward and the rest of Mexico as far west as Mexico City.
Great Lakes: All of Western New York
Heartland: All along the Mississippi River from Illinois to Mississippi, northern Alabama, Tennessee, Kentutcky Indiana and Ohio.
• Eastern U.S.: About everything east of the Mississippi River, centering in Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and western New York.
Central America: Costas Rica is the Land Southward and Nicaragua is the Land Northward.
South America: Nephi went northward and settled in the area of Cuzco, the Land of Nephi, with the Land of Zarahemla to the north of there, both in the present country of Peru; the Land Northward was in the country of Ecuador and southern Colombia.
    We find from 2 Nephi 5:15, that the Land of Nephi not only had great quantities of gold, silver, copper, and iron, but that Nephi taught his people how to work these materials; in Jarom 1:8 we find the same mention of great amounts of gold, silver and copper, as well as iron, in the Land of Promise where the Nephites dwelt, also in Mosiah 4:19; 11:3; and in Alma 1:29; 4:6; 11:3-19, etc.; and in Helaman 6:9,11; 3 Nephi 6:2. Thus, we see that the Nephites had great quantities of these ores.
    So let us see what amounts we find in this areas of Land of Promise claims as to how they fit the scriptural descriptive base of these ores:
• Gold World Production:
1. Andean South America (Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia):
Peru                  (  5)               161,325 kilograms               
Colombia        (11)                 66,178                      
Chile                 (16)                 49,936                      
Bolivia              (40)                   6,973                      
Ecuador           (54)                   3,400
Total:                                      287,812 kilograms
2. Mesoamerica (southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador):
So. Mexico (  8)                       43,325 kilograms               
Guatemala (42)                         6,473                                  
Honduras  (62)                         1,858
Total:                                      51,656 tons
3. Central America (Costa Rica and Nicaragua)
Nicaragua  (39)                         6,980 kilograms               
Costa Rica  (83)                            400
Total:                                         7,380 tons
New York, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, not ranked in the top 97 countries: less than 3 kilograms today. 
• Silver World Production:
1. Andean South America (Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia):
Peru                  (  3)                   3,479 tons             
Bolivia              (  6)                   1,214                      
Chile                 (  7)                   1,194                      
Colombia        (40)                          8                      
Ecuador           (54)                          1.5
Total:                                          5,896.5 tons
2. Mesoamerica (southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador):
So. Mexico       (  4)                   2,679 tons             
Guatemala       (17)                      204                                  
Honduras         (26)                       50
Total:                                          2,933 tons
3. Central America (Costa Rica and Nicaragua)
Nicaragua       (38)                        10 tons              
Costa Rica          --                          --
New York, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, not ranked in the top 62 countries: less than ½ ton.

• Copper world Production:
1. Andean South America (Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia):
Chile,             (  1)                  5,750,000 tons
Peru                (  3)                  1,380,000                              
Bolivia            (  7)                         9,449                  
Colombia       (40)                            690                  
Ecuador         (54)                            *
Total:                                         7,140,139 tons
* Has 700 ton-per-day mine
2. Mesoamerica (southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador):
So. Mexico      (14)                     257,500 tons                    
Guatemala        --                               --                               
Honduras          --                              --
Total:                                           257,500 tons
3. Central America (Costa Rica and Nicaragua)
Costa Rica, Nicaragua, New York, Tennessee, Illinois and Iowa, not ranked in the top 52 countries: all less than 300 tons
World-wide, factual statistics that are easily verifiable and not produced by a theorists, FARMS or BYU can be very enlightening regarding the various claims to where the Land of Promise can be found—especially when those statistics support the scriptural record.


  1. Del- in your feb 26, 2017 post you indicate that the Sidon river now consists of 4 rivers. Will you share the names of those 4 rivers? (I've researched this quite a bit and agree that the river Sidon must have been changed at the rising of the Andes and have suspected it is now multiple rivers but have struggled to identify for sure which ones).

  2. Del- after not having been on the blog for a couple weeks I am glad to see there are no more comments from David McKane. With all due respect to David I think Del thoroughly addressed his model and questions. I love learning from Del and want to read more of his studies and insights of the Book of Mormon. When Del is distracted from that valuable work by having to address already answered questions, sincere readers are deprived of further learning. Del, I support your decision to no longer address David's redundant comments and encourage you to delete them unless he has sincere, new questions and has taken the time to read what has already been written.

  3. Del, i enjoy your research and scholarship. I like how you're doggedly persistent in consistency and scripture accuracy. So when i read things like this, it makes me cringe:

    "To have found these precious and important ores in a cursory inspection of the land..."

    Nephi says nothing about it being cursory nor is it implied. You've read a bias into the text that doesn't exist. He says they "found," he says nothing about the nature of the searching or excavation methods.

    Thanks. And keep up the good work.

  4. David: the four rivers I had in mind are: Mantaro, Apurimac, Ene, Urubamba. These 4 rivers can actually be stated as one long, winding river. You could probably add Ucayali before it gets to the runoff into the Amazon, etc. Anciently, as river usually had different names as it passed different segments of the land. The Sidon could have been one, very long river with several names over the centuries, though evidently not in Book of Mormon times.

  5. Wonder Boy: To me it is unrealistic to think that in the initial year or so while living in the Land of First Inheritance, where securing a community with various jobs, etc., geared for survival and protection, not the least of which would have been tilling, planting, and hunting (probably fishing) that Nephi or others would have been interested in digging for gold, silver or copper. In such location and at such a time, it would not have been worthwhile, or likely even important. However, gold and silver can be seen from cursory inspection of the land, especially in checking out the streams and river in the area for drinking water, animal feeding, and potable water for crop watering, etc. In such an endeavor, gold would have shown up if it was in the streams, which it likely would have been in such a virgin land where no one had ever been looking for it before. Any nuggets on the ground or in quartz-like outcroppings would have made it pretty easy to detect silver, such as seeing dark, sooty streaks or dark crystals in the rock ore, which includes either a rough dark gray to sooty black look or a silvery metallic look, often in areas of lead ore. You could also detect it by seeing red, pink, and dark sooty crystal.
    In addition, once seeing gold, it would not take much to track back the gold and find silver, they are often companions in nature. On the other hand, there is what is called “float copper,” which is said to have come out of the earth thousands of years ago, and though rare as far south as Chile, it is possible to find small pieces on the ground. However “native copper” is found in lumps in the ground, some of which could be on the surface. While these are small amounts and rarely mined, they are visible.
    My point was, I believe Nephi or the others were not looking for precious ores, or even copper, since their interest and needs of more practical things that first year would have precluded such a search. Therefore, it is my opinion, which I stated, that the ore Nephi mentioned in 1 Nephi 18:25 would have been something seen or discovered or found while engaged in other searches for more important needs—wood for fires, rocks to build a protective wall or corral for animals, limbs for weapons or hunting tools, etc.

    1. I work for a mining company at a mine is the U.S. southwest. One of our current mines started out several hundred years ago (prior to Spanish conquest) as simply a place where the natives would come collect native copper from the surface.

  6. Michael: An interesting point. This is much what took place around the Great Lakes area with what are loosely called today ancient copper mines. Many people do not realize that copper was often found like that on the surface before it was all carried off by early peoples.