Does anybody know of any equivalent gold/silver/whatever rushes from medieval Europe? Is there enough freemen around to really support such a rush?
I am inclining to think efforts to tap such a resource would be more of a top-down effort as the earl/sheriff/king scrambles to improve their own finances.
Interesting that one of the reasons noted for bank notes was a shortage of silver. It doesn't matter how much is in the ground if it is beyond the limits of current mining technology or to costly to remove.
Khuzhun are generally accounted superior miners than humans in canon so unless discovering a new vein most of that silver or gold is unreachable without finding a new vein or something like an earthquake and an underground stream or river bring those precious metals up to the surface slowly over time.
Since Harn uses Mercantyler notes one could can go either way based on history in a P-harn:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mining#Medieval_Europe
Mining as an industry underwent dramatic changes in medieval Europe. The mining industry in the early Middle Ages was mainly focused on the extraction of copper and iron. Other precious metals were also used mainly for gilding or coinage. Initially, many metals were obtained through open-pit mining, and ore was primarily extracted from shallow depths, rather than though the digging of deep mine shafts. Around the 14th century, the demand for weapons, armour, stirrups, and horseshoes greatly increased the demand for iron. Medieval knights for example were often laden with up to 100 pounds of plate or chain link armour in addition to swords, lances and other weapons. The overwhelming dependency on iron for military purposes helped to spur increased iron production and extraction processes.These new military applications coincided with a population explosion throughout Europe in the 11th-14th centuries which increased the demand for precious metals in order to fill a currency shortage
. The silver crisis of 1465 occurred when the mines had all reached depths at which the shafts could no longer be pumped dry with the available technology. Although the increased use of bank notes and the use of credit during this period did decrease the dependence and value of precious metals, these forms of currency still remained vital to the story of mediaeval mining
. Use of water power in the form of water mills was extensive; they were employed in crushing ore, raising ore from shafts and ventilating galleries by powering giant bellows. Black powder was first used in mining in Selmecbánya, Kingdom of Hungary in 1627http://books.google.com/books?id=OC9rkk ... &q&f=falsehttp://books.google.com/books?id=tp5tbf ... &q&f=falsehttp://books.google.com/books?id=yPcIuJ ... sh&f=false
Irisi Flimsi wrote:
In Germany, in the Kingdom of Otto, in 938, a German nobleman was riding his horse, Ramelus. The nobleman was hunting near the town of Goslar in the Harz Mountains. He tied the reins to a tree when he dismounted to hunt. Ramelus was impatient and pawed the earth. When the nobleman returned, he saw metals gleaming in the horse's little excavation. Miners realized that the horse had uncovered a vein of silver, lead, and copper. This mine was named Rammelsberg, after the horse Ramelus.
Rammelsberg became the most important source of silver, lead and copper in central Europe. Over a thousand years later, it still produces wealth. Like the gold rush in the United States, it inspired German expansion to the east, to search for more mi neral deposits. It also trained miners in the skills lost to the Dark Ages, in mining and prospecting.
For the record that Ramelus part is a myth. The mine was in use before long before Otto's reign. And the active mine was closed 1970-something. It's a museum today.
Possibly mostly depends of the perspective since most mines played out within a century.
If the old mine was played out and depleted or nearly depleted or at the limits of technology.
Finding a new workable mother lode vein after decades or centuries would constitute a discovery IMO.