Everyone knows California’s economy is struggling, but prospecting? With record gold prices, long-abandoned mines are starting to look like profitable ventures. The Canadian Emgold Mining Corporation is reopening a mine flooded in 1956, convinced that more than a million ounces of gold were left behind, and Sutter Gold Mining Inc. is getting ready to explore the Mother Lode, in the Sierra foothills. “People say the Mother Lode’s mined out,” said David Cochrane, a vice president with Colorado's Sutter Gold. “But that’s not the case.” Local activists and environmental groups point out that reopening a gold mine raises a host of concerns—not only about the effects of the mining process, but how to deal with the chemicals past miners left behind. Domestic gold production last year increased for the first time in a decade.