Although the territory is one that in expanse is comparable to that portion of the United States lying between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean, yet in all that range of territory there has been no metal discovered that would be suitable for ship construction, except in the central part of the Sinaitic peninsula, either of which is hundreds of miles distant from the reputed spot where the vessel was built. And this fact goes far to strengthen the oft repeated assertion that the `author and proprietor’ of the Book of Mormon was illiterate.
Samuel Traum, Mormonism Against Itself, 1910, 98.
Nephi indicates that after his family's arrival at Bountiful that the Lord commanded him to build a ship. "And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me. And it came to pass that the Lord told me wither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools (1 Nephi 17:9-10).
I love the example of Nephi's faith. He does not ask the Lord to do that which he could do himself. Nephi is willing to work and make tools if he can only find the materials to do so.
The passage suggests that ore resources may not have been abundant, but that they were available nearby. This appears to fit the the Dhofar region in southern Oman, the proposed region for Old World Bountiful. Research, sponsored by Brigham Young university and FARMS over the last two decades has yielded evidence for iron ore that could have been used to make Nephi's tools, which you can read about here and here.