Monday, August 4, 2008

"Can I Make a Living Gold Mining?"

(Trying to make a go of it during the Klondike gold rush.)

Note: It's not my intent in this post to dissuade or discourage anyone, especially novices, from pursuing small-scale gold mining activities whether those be recreational, part time, or full time in nature. At the same time I would be doing all of you a great disservice if (like so many "dream merchants" out there selling books, detectors, gear, mining club memberships, etc.) I painted an overly rosy view of mining activities and the opportunities for making a living at mining. I owe you the truth, however unpleasant that may be at times...nothing more, nothing less. J.R.

The key question for many new-comers to the world of small scale or recreational gold mining is this: "Can I make a living gold mining?"

Can You?

Probably not. Not as a recreational or small-scale miner, that is. I take no pleasure in bursting your bubble or in playing the devil's advocate here but the truth must be told.

Do People Make a Living Gold Mining?

Yes, some do. Obviously, large, multi-million dollar corporations make big money mining but they also have to spend enormous amounts of money to get the gold. Some medium-to-small mining operations in more remote areas like South or Central America, Asia, and Africa are also money makers but the obstacles to getting that gold are extreme and include corrupt politicians, theft, violence, disease, and even murder, to name but a few.

Oh, you're not talking about going out of the country but mining here in the United States? In fact, you're thinking of buying a claim somewhere in Alaska or the even the Lower 48, setting up a gold suction dredge or highbanker, and getting down to it. More power to you my friend. In fact, I'll even help you by showing you the ropes, setting things up, the whole nine yards. But one thing I won't do is guarantee you'll make a living at gold mining.

Most Miners Struggle to Make a Living

In fact, most of the gold miners I know of the non-hobbyist variety don't make a living at gold mining either. Who am I talking about here? People who have mined gold for the bulk of their lives, people who know their stuff, people with good claims and the right equipment, real miners doing tough work each and every day. Not hot-to-trot newcomers with dollar signs dancing before their eyes because the gold spot price hits $1,000.00 per troy ounce. Bless their little hearts, newcomers to gold mining have no idea what hard work gold mining is for very little return. They get bitten by the gold bug and are off and running.

Do the Math

Last time I checked the year is 2008 and not 1849. That means that very little rich or "virgin" placer gold ground exists in the continental United States. Alaska is better but it presents a host of potential problems to even the most experienced miners who, like the miners I know, supplement their mining incomes by writing prospecting or mining books, running pay-as-you-go gold mining "adventures," operating mining supply shops, or being the "grand poobah" of one of the many prospecting/mining clubs out there. Did you know that the average daily take in gold of an experienced placer gold miner in the Lower 48 is 1-3 pennyweights of gold per day? (There are 20 pennyweights in a troy ounce. Do the math my friend...)

Hard Work for Small Returns

By and large, gold mining is very hard work for very small returns. Even good claims are tough propositions to make a living from, and if you don't have your own gold claim you are pretty much restricted to the few "open" or public mining areas that have literally been beaten to death over the years by countless others before you. That makes things especially tough for the newcomer to placer gold mining, because experience and knowledge are fundamental keys to success to getting decent gold values out in the field. Like anything worthwhile, it takes time to become adept at gold mining. Are you patient enough to make that happen?

(Large-scale mining operations make money, but their overhead is huge.)

So making a living at gold mining? Tough call, that one. But people do succeed if they are willing to work hard with single-minded purpose, pay their dues, and can overcome the setbacks, hardships, and obstacles thrown their way. Perhaps you are one of those exceptional persons. If so, my hat is off to you. Make it happen and I'll be the first to congratulate you on your success. In fact, I 'll even write a feature post about you here in "Bedrock Dreams."

Keep Your Perspective

I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade here or play the gold-mining Grinch to someone's dreams. But if you are interested in becoming a gold miner (recreational or otherwise) it should be because you want to learn more about gold mining, mining history, and mining traditions, equipment, and processes while having some fun and getting a little gold along the way. Set your greed aside, because one thing gold mining is not is a "get-rich-quick" scheme.

Even the '49ers learned this lesson the hard way.

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2008

62 comments:

  1. Nice article, not for those looking for encouragment i think but the truth hurts they say. Being an amature prospector (very new to the game) you really bursted my bubble, or tried to pull my head outta the clouds... I will hopefully on day be able to tell you of my sucess and have some pictures of all th gold i find. but as you said, im intersted in mining and in my research im learning A LOT about mining and history. But for now ill keep looking for a day job :)

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    1. Thanks very much for commenting. Your perspective adds much to this topic and gives the "newbies" another viewpoint from someone who knows. I wish you the best out there! J.R.

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  2. They pull in 1-3 penny weights a day? That is $75-225 per day. Sure beats working for minimum wage for some asshole boss. Im goin' mining!

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    1. I hear ya pal !!. That's $1000 a week on average !!. And your one with nature !!!!! Heck Yeah !! The key to surviving "Gold Mining" is, Make sure EVERYTHING IS PAID FOR !! I've spent almost 6 years getting "On Top" , I've slowly collected all my gear. Paid cash for my RV and ATV's, Sluice boxes, Dredges, And I've bought 2 Claims, 1 in New Mexico, And One(very good one) in Idaho. In 2011 after buying the Idaho claim, We flew out from Florida, Rented a Dredge from a "Old Timer", And agreed to split everything we found with him if he'd teach us " The Ropes" . I can proudly say In 7 days at about 5-6 hours a day. We collected almost 3 OUNCES of gold !!. Yes, We got Very LUCKY. And haven't been that lucky since, BUT, We haven't had 7 days straight to prospect either !! I think the other key is, TIME. If you have everything laid for, And can invest the TIME into prospecting, You'll do pretty well !! I've done great. And we're in the middle of moving to Colorado now !! We plan on investing 2 YEARS Solid into FULL-TIME Prospecting. Then we'll play it by ear. Don't let ANYONE detour you from your Dreams !! But don't jump in with both feet without a safety net either !!. You never know, You just might hear about me in a year or so sticking it Silly Rich ?? Or meet me when you pay for gas at a service station cause I'm the clerk. Lol. Good luck to ALL !!!

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    2. Keep at it Dan. I'm always happy to hear when someone has it going.

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    3. Well, 1 year later !!. We haven't moved out West yet. But did spend 19 days in Idaho over Christmas. Did a little prospecting in a couple places. Managed to find a little color. Considering everything was covered in 3 feet of snow, Finding anything was pure Luck !!. We've decided to move to Idaho instead of Colorado because the Mining Rules are better. And land is cheaper. We're ready to move, But coming up with the Cash to actually move is so hard here in Florida. Just trying to exist is SO EXPENSIVE !!.. We have several things that we're selling and will use that money to finance the move. To move everything we want to take with us, Will cost around 10K !!! I have 7 Vehicles, 3 RV's, Tons of Prospecting/Camping gear, 2 Tractors, 3 ATV's, 3 Motorcycles and 4 Trailers(2 enclosed) that we plan on using for storage. Plus I have a Log Cabin Kit here that I plan on building on land when we move there. So me making several trips with the Dodge Cummins and my 35ft Gooseneck will consume 10K very quickly. But once there, We plan on investing 2 years to Full time Prospecting. Hopefully we make our investment back !!. Bottom Line is, Don't Give Up on your Dreams !. Stay steady at getting where you wanna go !! Sacrifice whatever it takes to get you where you want to be, Because you only have one life ! Don't use or hurt others to get there, But take advantage of every opportunity (within moral reasons) to forward your progress. Find people that want to do the same things and work together to get there. I've had several people wanting​ to partner up with me, And I could already be there. But trying to do it all myself so I owe no one !!. Almost there !!!. Hope to see you knee deep in Bounty one Day !!. Repo Dan

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    4. Best of luck in Idaho Dan. Maybe you'll run into "Muskrat" while there.

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  3. Well, you've made a point that's hard to refute! Go for it and the best of luck to you. Jim (J.R.)

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  4. 1-3 pennyweights a day is about $6000 per month. Hey, it beats working at Sizzler.

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  5. You need to re-do your math a bit my friend. There are 20 pennyweights in a troy ounce. So it may not beat Sizzler after all...then again?? Jim (J.R.)

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  6. Just got back from prospecting for a week. I cashed everything I found in and got $250. Not gonna get rich but I can survive off that. Good bye cubicle! =)

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  7. Good deal...I'm glad for you. Keep at it and who knows...maybe you'll hit a nice pocket or paystreak. Jim (J.R.)

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  8. man ur killin me i have done a little prospectin in the past but have been thinkin bout a 4inch dredge and hittin the ole creek during the months stuff is slow round here im still undecided but im not scared of work and dark to dark is the hrs im used to whats ur take on it around east tenn and georgia

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  9. I hate to be the Grinch in all this...but reality needs to intervene. But here's the deal...with knowledge, experience, and lots of plain old hard work much can be accomplished...Tenn. and GA. are OK...GA the better of the two...so get out there if you're committed...and prove I'm wrong. I wish you the best! Jim

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  10. J.R. you are so right about the amount of wealth in gold compared to the wealth of knowledge that is gained in panning. My buddy and I pan around Revelstoke B.C. and I have learned an amazing amount of history, geology, geography and of course the natural world of the province of B.C. but... I really don't have much gold in my poke. Granted, the first couple of years I really did not know what I was looking at in my pan until I found that first piece of gold, and you KNOW it is gold (no matter how small, under a magnifier, it will still look like a nugget).
    So don't stop going out there and as I was told once by and old prospector from Colville WA that I met on the ferry while crossing the Columbia, "you won't start finding gold until you stop taking it seriously" and thats what happened for me!
    But I love going out into nature and this is just another way to play and maybe one day I will get payed to play.
    Great article J.R. and some one has to be honest about the "Golden Dream", the real gold seems to be made by the ones that sell the dream.
    But get out and have fun all!

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  11. Spot on the money Adam! Your comments are very perceptive and indicate you've "been there and done that." Good luck to you in B.C. and keep coming back.

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  12. 1-3 penny weight of gold a day? 20 pennyweights in a troy oz? Price of Gold currently $1813 an ounce.

    I would assume to find dollars per penny weight you would calculate it like this $1813 divided by 20? $90.65 per penny weight of gold?

    $90 to $270 per ounce?

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  13. Everyone seems to ignore the fact this post was written in August 2008 and not August 2011! Another thing to check is what you'll really get paid for that 2-3 pennyweights a day. I've written on that topic as well...remember this...you NEVER get full boat prices for your placer gold. Just a moment of reality again...Jim

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  14. Hi J.R.
    Realy enjoyed your commements, I am about to run a sliuce in and around some Australing old gold feilds creeks. I used to be a hunter. but the crazey gun laws here make it to hard, so if there is any specks left in the bush, thats where I want to be, so mayas well hunt them with the shovel, If you go and sit in the bush they will arest you for the crazeys, but if your looking for gold then thats ok. Thanks for a good read

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  15. Thanks for the good comments mate. I wish you the best out there in the bush...be safe, stay away from the government types, and get lots of gold! Jim

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  16. Anything in Southern AZ still available to find? I'm used to hard work in the worst of conditions and need some income. I'm still waiting for Wal Mart to call me back.

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  17. Claims or open areas are hard to come by these days due to the high spot price of gold. Southern and SE Arizona may have something shaking, but I can't say for sure. Anyone out there care to respond here...your info would be appreciated. Thanks! Jim

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  18. I'm in Idaho and keep hearing about all these "sweet spots" but nobody wants to share! How is one supposed to track down where good places to go are? Thanks for an excellent article!

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    1. Just asking OK ??? If you found a place that was producing Gold Would you tell anyone ???? I think NOT !! So don't hate. BUT research WILL tell you everything you need to know, And the BLM is a good place to call. Good luck and don't EVER give up !!

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  19. Thanks for the good words..I appreciate your concern about finding the better areas to mine. In the 30+ years I've been at this mining thing I've seen more and more areas gobbled up or placed "off limits." So you must do your research, be persistent, and you'll find your own "sweet spot." Best of luck! Jim

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  20. Hi Jim,
    A few comments back I was using a sluice in Austrailia, I went to the golden triangle in Victoria, first time for me, can you make a living from finding gold? for me not yet, but I sure felt a live, I got bitten by every thing that flys and crawles, knocked skin off and thought I had broken my leg getting down in a old mine, I spent more time not knowing where I was,and I have not a speck to show, so I am back home building a bigger and better sluice, I saw the monument of the Welcome Stranger nugget, and rolled ouy my swag next to it for the night, so I was in the right spot.
    Thanks for your time.

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  21. Hello Mate, thanks for commenting. You know, despite the hardships, difficulties, and hard work, there's NOTHING I reckon I'd rather do than mine...anytime, anywhere. Be safe out there and I hope you find the "big one!" Jim

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  22. What's the best route for purchasing a gold mining claim? Are there a lot of permits that are needed? We live in Northern CA USA. Any information would be helpful.... thanks!

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  23. I don't recommend you buy a claim...too many rip offs and scam artists out there. Finding a reputable seller is extremely difficult these days. Try doing the research and filing your own claim...there are some out there...it may take some time and effort to track them down is all. Best of luck...Jim

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  24. in response to the ? about sothern az . I am currently looking into the same thing looks like the best option for me living in tucson is the greatervill area a local club has a few claims there and they only want abut $35.00 a year for membership. I plan on joining there club but i am still researching for more info on the area

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  25. Thanks for commenting on the S. AZ questions. Your perspective is appreciated. J.R.

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  26. After a 12 year career in the Navy Im getting forced out. Ive been a dredger since I was in diapers helping my dad. There is plenty of good river left , Rogue, 40 Mile etc. Get a jet boat , a 6" dredge go find the deep , hard to get to places and work hard till you tremble of exhaustion and it will pay. There is alot of virgin ground out there you just have to work hard to get to it whether its up a canyon or 25ft deep hole in a river. Move bigger rocks , dig deeper holes, most people don't have the fortitude to get the hard stuff. I do and its payed very well.

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  27. Thanks very much for offering your experience and perspective. I'm sure what you have to say will resonate with the readers and the miners whoa re just starting out. Best of luck, J.R.

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  28. Heres my advice if you are just starting out. Do exactly the opposite of what gold rush hoffman crew does, I.E , don't go blow every piece of capital you have in equipment Yes you need basics, dredge , highbanker, pans , classifiers, basics but enough to be productive yet not so much as to have to make payments, used is ok, craigslist is a good start, you can always upgrade, but don't buy junk gimmicky crap. Don't invite everyone you know to get in on the action!!! one-two man operation tops for me. Mostly ONE! ME! Keep your operating cost low as possible. Mine average $25 bucks a day to run my dredge. And Feed Me! which is alot of food. Do research and find where gold has been already found , don't try and reinvent the wheel. No body has covered gold producing grounds 100% some close though. Study it and turn over some shovel loads if its in a legal setting. When in doubt ask no matter what its is , use of an area, tips whatever If you don't know ask. simple. Ill add more later.

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  29. and in case I forgot, before you buy anything and are thinking of getting into small time mining but know nothing or little, join a local club, see what gear guys use and talk to people most miners are willing to lend a hand and a kind word maybe even show you how to operate a piece of gear if you have the right beverage in hand. Don't just go in dumb def and blind and expect to stike it rich the first day.

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  30. I couldn't have said it any better...and I've tried to make many of the same points here. Thanks very much for sharing your experience and for commenting. J.R.

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  31. J.R and the last post on X-mas eve,

    I am not going to say I am smart, But I will say you guys make a great point, in these posts. I have been up countless nights doing my home work from my desk and I have to say, your post and web sit tought me a lot. I live in AK, and I plan on going out on May 15th and try and make a discovery. This will be my first time out, and the only goal is to get as much out of the days I am out as I can, and if that is a sore back and a lot of mud in my eyes so be it. My question to you J.R. is I will be doing everything by hand, pick, shovel, pan, bucket, and other small hand tools, would it be wise to invest in a premade sluice or build my own like the old timers. Also when or if I do find anything, what other stuff could I stomble on, (Platnum, copper, zink ect.) the area I am looking into has a old water fall and the bed rock is showing. This is open on state land, but it is going to be one hell of a walk with about a ton of stuff on my back. The trip by walking will take about two hours one way, and I still have to bring in my food and living supplies. I am guessing one day of setting up shop, another day setting up camp. Also what other tools would use suggest that would be helpful. Thanks and have a good day.

    Joe

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  32. Hey Joe, can you e-mail me at: jr872vt90@yahoo.com? This area is for comments only and it's easier to answer your query there than here. So please e-mail me and copy/paste what you wrote above and I'll answer you right away, OK? Thanks and my best...J.R.

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  33. It is all about the adventure, the stories, the labor, the thrill, sore muscles, getting wet, the sunshine, the rain, the planning, the execution, the dreaming, the list goes on, but the icing on the cake, is the thrill of the flash, when there's gold in the pan.

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    1. dittos compadre ! ah yes and the possibility of finding that really big nugget everbody else has missed and the gods have saved just for you.

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  34. Well said my friend...well said. Thanks for comeenting. J.R.

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  35. JR the subject is too complex to post here,but what if the price of gold were 3k would it be possable to mine?. there will be a QE3 in 2012,the price of commodities will skyrocket.have you heard of lindsey
    williams he was friends of 2 ceo's who are bilderberger members. the one was ceo of Arco.he told him QE3 is for sure and the US doller will be essentially dead by the end of 2012 because of being so devalued. when i first heard him a few yrs ago thought he was wacked but everything he has been told ~95% is correct. another site King World news has many interviews with managers of 40 mill. to 30 billion funds they are saying the same thing.

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  36. Gold is possible to mine now...but again, you need good gold ground, experience and knowledge, and the right gear and equipment. Anything can happen...and probably will...here in the West and Southwest (with perhaps the exception of Nevada), anti-mining agendas are being pursued relentlessly. Thanks for commenting...J.R.

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  37. Interesting thread
    I have lived 50 km from the BC Caribou Barkerville area for fifteen years now. many prospecting trips and talks with miners I have met. When gold was lower in 97 and they changed to online I started staking. The five years of staking resulted in 30 claims and I have 7 'good' ones left. The process mirrors prospecting in that you confirm or refute your claims and let the crappy ones go. I have accidentally let a couple of good ones go by not paying attention to the forfeiture dates, but I have got all my good claims by watching the good to dates on line. I am glad I started when I did cuz nobody is letting claims go now. I will spend another ten years testing to prove what I have and then Maybe mine when I retire. Just enforcing what you say about the uncertainty in this pursuit. knowledge, skill, patience and LUCK. I am sure this is the fun stage right now and running and repairing the excavator when I am 65 will be less fun.
    DO NOT QUIT THE DAY JOB TO GO GOLD MINING
    Rob in Qusenel

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  38. follow your dreams, and always keep a positive attitude. :)

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  39. Excellent advice for mining and for life in general. Thanks for commenting. J.R.

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  40. Going to hit the road and live out of my truck looking for yellow stuff. I know the odds are stacked highly against me even though all I am looking for is to find enough to buy food and gas. My life has hit a dead end. I feel as though I have nothing to lose now.

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  41. I've been in your shoes a couple of times earlier in my life my friend. When you have nothing to lose and the freedom to give it a good try, then who knows? I wish you nothing but the very best out there. Most importantly, don't give up. Good luck and let me know how things turn out. J.R.

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  42. Hello JR,
    This article is a great reality check for many who dream of Gold and join the search for the elusive yellow stuff, which has and will always attract a great number of folk from all walks of life. There is nothing wrong with the dream except you have to wake-up.
    I must say though, that there is a lot of value other than just dollars when you are out there on the hunt. In Australia I have a claim in the outback and I work on it most of the year. I do get some good Gold from time to time. For me the ability to escape captivity (the city) has a huge value. At my age there is a value in keeping active. I get Gold because the area has a history of being a productive gold, silver and copper rich field.
    My lease/claim is a 40 acre plot and I run very small gear on it to recover the gold.
    Could I live off the gold I get…? YES… however, it took 3 years to get to that stage. In theory it is not hard but in practice it is beyond difficult from day one. The only thing you must have is PATIENCE.
    Good luck all and keep the dream!

    GS

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    1. G'day G.S. Very well put my Aussie friend. In fact, what you say here has to-the-point eloquence that I hope "newbies" will read and then consider thoughtfully. You are correct...for those of us who've been at gold mining for a while now there is more than $$$ involved. There is a peace and contentment (aside from the challenges and the frustrations) in just getting out there away from the ever-increasing madness around us. Good on ya Mate and I hope I can get Down Under one day before I cross that final divide...J.R.

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  43. JR, great article, and so very true. It always starts with either a new metal detector, or you see a pan hanging in a general store. I've heard a dozen stories or more of how 'the itch starts'. Mine was a small trading post in Michigan, many years ago. As most, I've bought the gear, made the gear, broke the gear, learned, failed, learned, etc.

    I always equated the gold-bug to building fast cars. The more you make from them, the more you put back into them, the more in debt you are. The only liberation is to stop building them, but then, where's the fun in that? They are beautiful, aren't they? Same with gold, and after a while, it runs in your own veins.

    As for permits, claims, patents, wanting more, hunting more, there are a lot of things that one can do to 'get their next fix'. Personally, years ago I figured out that if I went about it the right way, like Tom Sawyer, I could not only get my way with ease, but could drag others into having 'the fever' too. I would normally scout an area on Topos until I found what looked good, then visually look at the place to see if the washes, the alluvial lay looked promising, then go hunt up the owner of the property and proposition him. Normally, it went something like this, "Hey, mister, I was wondering if you knew the owner of that land over there. You don't say, you own it huh? Well, in my free time, I do some metal detecting and prospecting. I was wondering if I could have your permission for today to do a little detecting and maybe some digging over there. If I disturb it, I'll put it back the way it was, and if I find anything of value, I'll give you 25% of any and all I find, just for the opportunity. You are welcome to join me over there, if you like. 50% you say? Well, it is your property, and it is for just today. Sounds ok to me. I'll head on over and set-up."

    That has gotten me onto hundreds of places that no one else has touched, at least in recent memory. It's like big game hunting, a good conversation with a land owner can go a LONG way. Hit a little color, let them work a pan for a bit, and you might just find you have a friend you can go visit anytime you want. Maybe he has friends, or a better idea of location, too. Teach him a bit, and you might increase your own library a lot.

    Yes, you have to give to get, too. If giving you 2-5 dwt in flour can get me onto a place that I'll get back more virgin prospect area, then we've both gained.

    The Jacob Waltz (lost Dutchman), trust no-one concept doesn't do a lot for you, or anyone else. In time, I'll make more than he did, and calmly enjoy what I have, and who I've shared it with.

    Take care, and again JR, thanks for the article.

    Mountaindweller

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  44. Excellent thoughts and advice here Mountain. I actually thought about working up a post using your words here. I may just do that. Thanks for your support and your timely comments. J.R.

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  45. Is there anyone that would be interested in exploring san gabriel river metal detecting and sluicing with me? I have no job and just got my detector and im ready to hit the road. I was thinking of flying out there or drive if i had someone that wants to go with me but I have a tent and all the goodies needed to camp and prospect. I want to get into the gulches and valleys that most people stay out of and give it a try. Also i am interested in heading to AK when it warms up. I have been to colorado, california for prospecting. I have learned alot and hope to share an adventure with another person looking to do the same. feel free to email me keepmehumblelord@gmail.com if you are interested. by the way great website.

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  46. Donavan, the San Gabriel may not be the best venue for you or nayone else right now. New restrictions on access and mining activities were put in to place within the last year unless I miss my bet. Otherwise, anyone out there care to respond to Donavan's request/query? Thanks, J.R.

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  47. Hi. Im jack. Ive lived in alaska my whole life. Im 28. Been a mechanic at local dodge dealership for about six years. My dad is fixing to retire from alyeska pipeline. Were thinking of getting a minelab gold detector and a 2 1/2 inch suction dredge and a gold wheel. Any thoughts on gold wheels and what kind of suction sluice to get? Ive done some research near fairbanks and have found 2 or 3 open state land near cleary summit to stake on possibly.as just starting out should i try to work creeks or crush rock to get most gold? Im meeting with a miner in fox this week for some coffee. Is there a specific type of bedrock like granite volcanic rock i should be looking for. Just trying to get the jump on summer.

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  48. I would say the first thing you need to do BEFORE spending lots of $$$ on gear and equipment is the learn the basics first. Anyone else out there want to chime in here to help this reader out? Thanks, J.R.

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  49. Hello my name is william goodwin im only 21 and still a young buck but i have always had a passion for gold i started when i was just 12 years old me and my dad built our own sluce box 3 1/2 ft wide by 10 ft long 40 riffles run the entire length. After trying around 20 different rugs/mats we found a good material to try and catch gold flakes. We set it up in a average sized stream and simply started shoveling small amounts of dirt letting the water do the work. This was entirely a joke to my father we did not prospect for gold we did nothing to prepair we did not even research the "propper" way to use a sluce box. After 6 hours work we cleaned it out and my uncle "experienced prospecter" panned our material. An area previously not known for haveing any gold and a 12 year old boy with absolutely no experience.... $634 day 1

    Come to find out 23 miles up river was a very large gold mine thought to have been mined out. Guess who accidentally found the remaining gold?? It was even our land we eventually claimed full rights to a half mile section of the stream and to this day pull gild from its sediment.

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  50. Good for you guys. You've shown the other side of the story. Best of luck in the future and thanks for commenting. J.R.

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  51. Hi Folks. I have always been interested in gold prospecting since I discovered geology when I was a kid, but only recently actually gone out to look for it. I joined the local prospecting club, and met some cool people that have been teaching me a lot.

    I have been going out every weekend to rivers in the Sierras in nor cal for the past two months, and I have found gold every time! Now before you all get too excited about prospecting you have to realize that I only find around a half gram of gold each time, and I am busting my rear end in freezing cold waters for at least 8 hours a day just to find it. I also get up hours before dawn to drive 3 hours so I can be at the river as the sun comes up. Temps are usually around 24-30˚F when we hit the dirt.

    Sometimes I wonder if it's even worth it since I barely find much gold, but I still go back for more. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing better than being in the woods breathing fresh clean air, working the rivers, listening to the birds, and the water, and finding that shiny color in the bottom of my pan. So good luck to you all, and may your pan find some nice color.

    pete

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  52. Well said Pete. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and for commenting. J.R.

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  53. You tell the truth just like ole Buzzard used to say"you got have a grub steak before you set out to mining like some greenhorn scissorbill! Then you can always fall back on your grub steak when you come up tired and worn out from shovelin and have no gold to get you some grub.

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