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Don't look now, but they're talking about junior gold mining stocks in The Wall Street Journal. Surely that's a first and, if not, you can probably count the times that this subject has appeared in the paper over the last ten years on one hand.

There are no references to Mark Twain and what he thinks about "gold in the ground", but Jeff D. Opdyke's report is a fairly complete description of what the junior gold mining sector is all about and it's in the free section of the Journal.

Should You Join The Next Gold Rush?
Main Street investors always want in on the ground floor of the next Microsoft or Google, or, in the commodity world, the next gusher or mother lode.

At a time when gold is above $1,100 an ounce and some expect it to go far higher, a lot of investor energy is focused on the so-called junior miners. These are the tiny mining firms that often own little more than a piece of land, some geology studies and dreams of El Dorado. So much cash has flowed into the Toronto Stock Exchange's small-company Venture Exchange—where mining firms in 2009 raised nearly $3 billion Canadian dollars—that its total market capitalization surged by 112% last year.

For too many investors, though, this pursuit of El Dorado ends up as a financial nightmare. Even if you are lucky enough to pick a miner that finds a rich vein of gold, you can arrive so early that your stake crumbles while the miner navigates the hurdles between locating a gold deposit and actually producing it.

He goes on to discuss the the different stages of a gold mining company - from the pure explorers to near-term producers to the producers themselves - and then recommends picking stocks where the company is within a year of production.

You'd think that the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDXJ) would have been worth mentioning here since it is a first-of-its-kind product, launched late last year, that offers many advantages (and some disadvantages) over selecting individual stocks.

Disclosure
: Long GDXJ at time of writing

Source: Gold Rush at The Wall Street Journal?