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At $1,095 an ounce, Alaska's gold production soars

Miners are digging gold out of the ground in Alaska at a faster clip than they have in almost a century.

Last year's gold production tipped the scales at 800,000 ounces.

The last time that much gold was mined in Alaska was 1916.

Recent record gold prices -- hitting $1,095 an ounce Friday -- have boosted fervor for chasing the yellow metal.

Investors, mainly outside Alaska, are bankrolling drill projects all over the state, hoping to build modern mines out of some of the state's historic gold fields.

The increased profit from high gold prices also is enabling mines such as Fairbanks' Fort Knox, which opened in 1997 and employs about 480 people, to invest large sums to extend their lifespans.

Today, most of Alaska's gold is extracted from a handful of big mines rather than from stream beds and the old-fashioned underground mine shafts of the past.

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