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So you think owning a gold mine would solve all your financial problems?

Maybe not right now. The relatively low price of gold is posing a heap of economic difficulties for mining houses in South Africa -- the non-communist world's greatest source of bullion. Some mining houses are warning that the price of gold has sunk to a level where mining it is unprofitable.

Mining costs have risen on average more than 21 percent per year since 1975, and many mines are being squeezed between these higher costs and the sluggish gold price. A South African bank analysis on gold mining warns that 10 mines in that country ''could be in a difficult position this year.''

The Falklands crisis has given gold a brief fillip, but the price still hovers in the $350 per ounce range -- less than half what it sold for in 1980.

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