While drinking the beer, Blanchette asked Li Du what he wanted to develop in Lightning Ridge.
He said, "Bob told me you were harvesting black gold abalone in King Island. It is a real gold industry, and you're literally harvesting gold in the water. It is a job everyone is envious of."
"It may be enviable, but it's not worth mentioning here. What you're looking for is more valuable than gold," Li Du said with a smile.
Blanchette sipped his beer and sighed. "Yes, but only if you can find it."
"I have every confidence, and I am here for it. I'm sure we can find it if we look carefully," Li Du said in an officially polite manner.
"Hope so, but don't put in too much hope, or you'll be disappointed. By the way, mate, you're not here to be a miner, are you? You're rich enough. Are you here to buy a mine?"
Li Du said, "Yes, that is my plan."
Blanchette immediately asked, "Do you have any particular area you're interested in mining? If so, tell me, and I'll get in touch with you to see if I can help."
"Today, I walked around the town but don't know much about the local situation. I would like to buy a mining area and practice my skills," Li Du said, shaking his head.
"Is that what you're planning to do?" he mused.
He thought about it for a while and said, "If you don't have a mining area in mind, I can introduce you to one, but I'm not sure about the yield."
Li Du was interested and asked, "Then I have to thank you. What's the situation of this mine?"
Blanchette explained about the mining area around Lightning Ridge. It was a very complex topic.
Black opal had been on the luxury stage for a couple of years. For the past thousand years, Maori and aboriginal tribesmen in Australia had been digging them up.
Nowadays, it was said internationally that black opal only existed in Lightning Ridge, but actually, that was not true. It was just that Lightning Ridge had the largest mineral vein in the world and still produced.
At first, both Australia and New Zealand produced black opal, but many of the mines were destroyed as people began to exploit them.
There used to be some good mines off the coast of Australia, but that was not a good time. People just dug in the ground. This led to a series of problems, such as underground voids.
Coastal areas were rich in groundwater, and underground vents eventually turned into underground water vents because of seepage. To be safe, the government banned further mining, and no one dared to mine after that.
After all, money was really valuable but life was more precious!
The vein in Lightning Ridge was discovered in the twentieth century, and it became the largest black opal mine in history.
By the twentieth century, mining techniques had been perfected and machines were more advanced, so engineers were hired to plan the mine.
In addition, Lightning Ridge was located in the midwest region of Australia, where it was relatively dry, and the groundwater did not flood, so the mine was well protected and could still be exploited.
Blanchette told Li Du that Lightning Ridge contracted out about 80 percent of the world's current black opal.
"The production is amazing," said Li Du.
"No, production has been falling," Blanchette said, shaking his head. "In fact, a dozen years ago, 95 percent of the world's black opal was produced here. The reason for the decline is that the entire mine has already been excavated." He continued, "An area of about 60 kilometers in Lightning Ridge has been mined. This is not an easy task."
Li Du felt that what he said was a bit alarmist. Yesterday, he had released the little bug to search underground. Admittedly, he did not find a black opal mineral deposit, but he found that many areas were not yet explored.
"I'm going to show you this place, which is sort of an unexplored area, and it was bought by a guy who had other businesses and didn't go into development," Blanchette continued.
He sipped his beer and added, "Now his business seems to be in trouble. He has a capital problem and wants to sell the mine. If you want to buy a piece of land, I bet it's the best option."
Li Du asked, "What's this guy doing? What is the size of the mine? What price is being asked for it?"
Blanchette leaned closer to Li Du and whispered, "Keep your voice down, Li. The sale information hasn't come out yet. Don't let anyone else know, or the price will go up."
Li Du wondered, would it be useful if he lowered his voice? If he wanted to sell the mine, he would certainly have given Li Du the information for bidding.
However, Li Du was not familiar with this place, so he nodded and listened to Blanchette.
"His name is Chris Bontra, and he works in urban greening in Sydney. He has about 20 acres in the mine, and I think we can get it for 50,000," he said.
That was a low price. He had seen the price of mines on Bob's laptop, and they typically cost around 50,000 an acre.
If a mine had produced a lot of gems, it was possible to sell it for hundreds of thousands per acre.
After explaining the location and conditions of the mine, Blanchette asked, "Are you interested in buying it? If you're interested, make your decision early. If you wait, you will have to pay $800,000 or even $1 million."
Li Du thought about it and decided to visit the mine.
Li Du was ready to leave when he ran into some people in the parking lot who had clashed with him earlier.
Li Du laughed. "What's the matter? Still want to fight?"
Aubrey grunted. "For the sake of buying us a drink tonight, let me tell you something. Blanchette is a shady man, don't get too close to him."
With that, they got in the car and left.
Li Du didn't care. He returned to his hotel for a rest.
The next day, Blanchette met up with Li Du and said, "Stop having breakfast and go to Chris. I heard from his son that he wants to release the information about selling the mine today."
The two drove straight out of town, and about ten kilometers from the center of town, Blanchette's pickup truck drove down the road into a fenced mine.
Inside the mine was a wooden hut where a white man with a mustache was on the phone.
"D*mn, he's putting out the message. We need to move."
Then he went up and put his arm around the mustachioed man.