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Mining tokens

Mining enterprises, by their very nature, were often located in isolated mountainous areas with low population densities significantly distant from commercial centres. Mining entrepreneurs, therefore, had unique problems to contend with in organizing their enterprises. Their common problem was a lack of infrastructure—no streets, no churches, no schools, no residences, no utilities, and no banks or financial intermediaries. The specialised industries that might otherwise have provided these services were dissuaded from doing so by the high start-up costs and the enduring uncertainties of dealing with low-income communities that might be there today and gone tomorrow. Mining companies, therefore, built residences, churches, schools, and water works, and opened company stores or commissaries. In so doing, they became both buyers of labour from, and sellers of commodities to, the miners and their households. This kind of organization, coupled with the difficuly and danger associated with transporting currency to the mining areas (think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) invited the use of alternatives, suck as tokens or scrip, in lieu of ordinary money.