By Paul GainsFebruary 2007
Age has not slowed silver mining legend Justin Rice one bit. At the age of 88, he is in excellent health and maintains a schedule that would challenge men half his age. Incredibly, he is now at the helm of an exciting new silver-mining venture called Silver Royal Apex.
Using a new technology known as “deep-earth imaging”—which provides images of ore deposits up to 2,500 feet below the ground’s surface—Rice intends to explore for silver deposits north of the Osburn Fault, a region spanning the 12 or so miles between Kellogg, Idaho, and the famed silver-mining town of Wallace, Idaho.
Many geologists concur with the octogenarian’s belief that less than 10% of the area’s riches have been explored. There may be as much as a billion ounces of silver to be had, and Rice—together with an experienced management team that included the late lifelong friend and renowned geologist E.N. Pennehaker—intends to find it.
“Mining today can be done in a very environmentally friendly way,” Rice declares with passion. “You can mine without any pollution, and that is important to me.”
“Silver is used in so many things,” he adds. “In ancient times, royalty drank their water out of silver pitchers, which helped to purify the water. Silver is the greatest water purifier there is. It is used in space, in computers, in bearings; it is known to aid in medical treatments as well as a multitude of other things. This country is going to need a lot of silver in the future. I wholeheartedly believe that.”
A lifelong resident of Wallace, a picturesque town in Idaho’s northern panhandle, Rice has clearly retained a keen sense of humor despite his advanced age. A bachelor, he laughs long and hard when he considers whether this might explain his longevity. But he is by no means a lonely man. In fact, when his sister died in 1954, he and his mother and father assumed the parenting responsibilities for her three sons, raising them as his own. The youngest was only two months old when this tragedy occurred. He also treats their children as his grandchildren, sharing in their respective lives. Family is clearly important.
Rice has already lived a long life filled with success, mostly with the Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation, where he was CEO and president or chairman for decades until 1992, when his nephew took over the helm. Under Rice’s leadership, the company became the world’s largest primary silver producer, producing more than 10 million ounces of silver each year.
“I started out in the bakery business,” he recalls. “My parents owned a bakery here in Wallace, beginning in 1916. That’s where I was born, upstairs in 1918. Then I worked in the mining business. The Coeur d’Alene silver belt is the most prolific in the world.”
Rice may have retired from the mining business in 1992, but his view of “retirement” differs from most people’s definition. Neither golf nor mindless wiling away the hours in a rocking chair occupies his days—far from it. As a rule, he rises each morning at precisely 6:20 a.m., enjoys a breakfast of oatmeal with fruit followed by a couple of poached eggs with bacon, and then heads to downtown Wallace to meet other leaders in the mining business.
Rice, who now serves as CEO and chairman of the Silver Royal Apex venture, is a legend in silver mining circles and still travels widely. As recently as last summer, he attended the “silver summit” conference in Zurich, Switzerland. The town of Wallace initiated the Justin L. Rice Award to honor leaders in the silver mining industry. Rice himself was its first recipient.
“It was quite a surprise to me,” Rice recalls. “I caught wind of it the day before, but they gave me an 11-inch-high silver statue—of me! Some people up here think they can live on tourism. They seem to get away from the fact that this is mining country and only 10 or 15% of the belt has been explored. There’s a lot more. This award is to encourage industry.”
While Rice believes that keeping active physically and mentally is essential to good health, he is also particular about his intake of nutritional supplements. Life Extension products are an integral part of his supplementation regimen.
“I’ve done some bodybuilding in the past and I have got to get back to it,” he says. “I used to have a gym in my house. I should get a new one. I walk around town here, sometimes I go up in the mountains.” He also enjoys reading science journals before his 10:30 p.m. bedtime.
Asked about his diet, Rice says, “I try to watch what I eat. I do eat meat—a small steak or chicken—as well as vegetables and salad. I take a lot of supplements. I started out years ago when I was a teenager. They didn’t have all the scientific information out in those days. Things gradually got better. You have the Life Extension Foundation and they do wonderful work. I have known Bill Faloon for years.”
Rice met the Life Extension founder at a conference in Anaheim, California, more than 20 years ago, and soon after started taking Life Extension products. He became convinced that the Foundation’s products could help him immensely. Considering his excellent health, it is apparent they have.
“Over the years, my health has been good, I’ve never had any serious operations,” Rice says proudly. “Twenty years ago, I developed what was called bronchial asthma. I would have a fit of coughing when I ate certain things like mustard or vinegar. I would actually pass out. One doctor said, ‘I wouldn’t worry about it too much, usually you relax and you start breathing again.’ I didn’t like the way he used the word ‘usually,’ so I went to a specialist who gave me a prescription drug and said, ‘you’ll have to take this the rest of your life.’
“It helped but I was nauseous all the time. I said, ‘I can’t handle this.’ So I called Bill Faloon and asked him for the name of some preventive-medicine doctors and he gave me two names. I made an appointment and after some tests, they found I wasn’t digesting my food because I didn’t have enough hydrochloric acid. I started taking enzymes and hydrochloric acid, and after 30 days I was fine. So I’ve continued to take them.”
Rice credits Life Extension supplements for helping to maintain his good health.
“I am healthy today, and I attribute that to the Life Extension products, I really do,” he says. “I think you can count on the Life Extension Foundation to give you the best products and research.”
It seems Justin Rice has found the right formula for good health. At this rate, he might still be overseeing mining operations at the age of 100. There are folks in Wallace, ID, who would like nothing more.