Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
Li Du had studied the black opal mine market when he came to Lightning Ridge. He knew the way these types of auctions worked, but the mine auction was not a warehouse auction.
Banks could hold a mine for five years, starting from the time the owner stopped paying taxes on it. In order to save money, banks did not take a mine and auction it immediately. They often waited until they had several mines to auction off, and then they auctioned them off together, similar to a warehouse auction.
There was no doubt that it was harder to accumulate mines than warehouses.
The reason banks didn’t hold an auction immediately when they repossessed a mine was that mines were usually difficult to auction off. This was because the mines were often abandoned. Obviously, as long as the mine produced gemstones, the mine’s owners would not abandon it, nor would they abandon the mine for tax purposes.
Generally speaking, there were two kinds of mines being auctioned. One was the ultimate sh*t mine. For example, several owners had bought the mine, but they couldn’t get any precious stones out of it. The second kind of mine still produced gems and had some value, but for whatever reason, the owner was either unable to take care of the mine or pay taxes on it.
When prospective mine owners went to an auction, their target was the second kind of mine. No one would buy the first kind. Of course, the mines that were up for auction were mainly the first kind.
Li Du asked Aubrey to collect information about the mines up for auction, and then he went on a field trip. It was easy. Aubrey got him a list that day. There were 14 of them, the nearest one being Li Du’s neighbor, mine 120.
Li Du had scoured the surrounding terrain with the little bug and found that it had veins deep in the mines. However, they were scattered and difficult to find. There were veins at the 120 mine, but the little bug could not complete a full search of the terrain.
Li Du was encouraged by the fact that the first mine to be auctioned was not a sh*t mine, so his future investigations became more confident. When Steve learned that he was going to investigate the pending auction site, he stopped digging and followed him.
“I will definitely buy mines in the future, so I will learn how to choose mines from you first,” said Steve.
“Seriously, Steve, I’m not keeping any secrets. I really don’t have any special skills. I choose mines according to my feelings,” said LiDu.
Steve grinned. “How about you help me choose a mine?”
Li Du nodded and said, “Sure, as long as you trust me.”
He was happy to help, and when it came to Steve, he would make sure Steve bought a quality mine. In Sydney, there were so many people who were desperate to be friends with Steve. They just wanted to be friends, and they weren’t looking for favors from him.
“Need a helicopter?” Steve asked.
Li Du shook his head and said, “No, we can just drive.”
Over the next two days, they drove an SUV around, investigating mines. There were many mines to be auctioned, many mine owners to attract, and many more miners ready to grab the mines.
Most of the mines listed for auction were cheap, and some miners who had saved up their money wanted to turn their fortunes around. They could buy a mine at a price of up to tens of thousands of Australian dollars and turn themselves into millionaires if they dug out enough gems.
After a tour of the mine, Li Du was very upset. He sent the little bug to search the mine. Other than mine 120, the others were all empty with not a single gem in them. There was a good news, though. Not only were the mines being auctioned, but there was also a leasing company right next door to the company where Li Du had rented tools.
Li Du had investigated with his little bug previously, and although there were no rental tools in the company, there was a helicopter to be assembled! He did not know why would there be a helicopter in the leasing company, but it was there. He could still see the helicopter when he went to check on it with the little bug.
The leasing company was also being auctioned with the mines because it was located on property that was actually a converted sh*t mine. The owner of the company had not paid taxes in years, so the company was now being taken over by the bank.
Li Du was definitely not going to miss the upcoming auction.
Steve changed into a suit and asked, “Did you find anything out about these mines?”
“Something has been discovered, but it will not be known for sure until the mine is bought,” said Li Du.
Steve, looking interested, asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?”
“You know what I used to do in America, don’t you?” asked Li Du in a low voice.
“Yeah, the warehouse auction. You told me about it when you introduced yourself.” Steve laughed.
“Mine auctions are similar to warehouse auctions. If you are interested, I can take you to some auctions, because warehouse auctions often require partnerships,” said Li Du.
Steve was so interested in this new thing that he immediately replied, “That’s great, man. I’d love to be your partner, just like Sherlock Holmes and Watson.”
Seeing how excited he was, Li Du shrugged and said, “You’d better not get too excited. It’s actually a boring job.”
Steve said, “You don’t know, Li. When I was growing up, my parents and I used to live in a certain area, and the routine was monotonous and boring. Things like gem mining and storage auctions may just be work for you, but they are new to me.”
Li Du understood what he meant. The first time they met was when Steve purchased his dodo specimen. At that time, Steve was frantically collecting all kinds of bird specimens, because he envied the freedom of being outside.
The two men got into their vehicles and hurried to the town’s trading hall where the auction would take place. On the way, Li Du said to Steve, “Man, our targets are mine 120 and mine 645, the two most valuable mines. Mine 120 will be for you, and mine 645 will be for me.”
“You know there are gems in the quarries, don’t you?” Steve asked cheerfully.
It was no use hiding information now, because once they successfully acquired the mines, the truth would come out.
“The 120 mine has gems. There’s no doubt about that. There’s a helicopter in the 645 mine. Only God knows if there are gems in it, too,” said Li Du.
Steve looked puzzled and gave him a doubting look. However, instead of chasing down the roots of Li Du’s statement, he asked a more subtle question. “So, how can I help you?”