More Tips for Novice Gold Miners
Sprinkled throughout "Bedrock Dreams" are numerous tips for beginners to the world of small-scale placer gold mining. Here are a few more for you:
Getting Up to Speed is Important
Getting up to speed quickly and thoroughly is the single most important factor for any aspiring gold miner, recreational or otherwise. So, here are a few more tips that will help novice miners do just that:
Keep Your Expectations in Check
Be realistic about your chances of finding good gold values early on. Many novices overestimate their chances of gold recovery in the field and then become disillusioned when the "truth"* about gold mining is revealed to them. Some become frustrated and quit at this point. Don't you be one of them.
*(If you don't know what this "truth" is, just ask myself or any other experienced miner. If you do know, then you are one step ahead of the game already.)
Other more experienced miners are a literal treasure trove of knowledge that can bring you up to speed in mining theory, practices, methods, and equipment operation much more quickly than books or "how-to" tapes or DVDs. If you can't find a good "pard," then I suggest you join a local mining/prospecting club. You can learn a great deal from the more experienced members and get up to speed much more quickly.
Stick to Basics
As I've mentioned before, novice gold miners should stick to basic mining tools and equipment early on. Don't waste your money on expensive dredges or drywashers until you are well-versed and reasonably competent as a miner and have the ability, knowledge, and confidence to "go it alone" if you had to.
Obey the Unwritten Rules
Once you're out and about in the field doing your mining thing, remember to obey the unwritten rules of small-scale mining. These include, but are not limited to, being courteous and helpful to others, respecting the property and gear of other miners, not intruding into the mining affairs of others, not being a loud mouth or know-it-all, going overboard when asking questions or seeking direction from more experienced miners, or any of the myriad other "ego" issues that plague some mining newcomers. The last thing you want in mining circles is a reputation as a royal pain-in-the-ass.
Watch, Listen, and Learn
When out in the field watch, listen, and learn. By simply keeping your eyes and ears open around other miners and mining operations you'll be surprised at what you can learn that will serve you well later on. Veteran gold miners don't operate in a vacuum, they do what they do for specific reasons. Your job as a novice is to find out what those reasons are.
Don't Be Lazy
For the umpteenth time, gold mining is hard work. Very hard work most of the time. So don't be lazy if you want to recover good gold values. Sitting on your duff with a cold "Duff" in one hand and a gold pan in the other might be more fun, but if that's your mining approach don't start whining later about how you never find any good gold. Mining is what it is my friend, and those nuggets and coarse flakes are not going to magically appear in your gold pan.
Employ the "3 Ps"
Use a mining approach and assume a personal attitude that employs the "3 Ps," patience, persistence, and perseverance. By employing the "3 Ps" as a fundamental operating and mining stance you will ensure success for yourself down the road, both as a miner and as a person.
Most importantly, remember to have fun while mining. Yes, it can be serious work at times and very frustrating, but there are times when it can be very rewarding on any number of levels as well. So enjoy your time in the field, take pride in the fact that you are part of a great tradition that stretches back through time and history, and that you yourself are helping to keep that tradition alive.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2008