Personal Mistakes to Avoid in Gold Mining (Part 1)


It's been a long time coming, but here are the first 5 items in my top 10 list of personal mistakes to avoid in gold mining:

1. Buying a claim without sampling it first: in order to get you to shell out your hard-earned cash claim scammers and hustlers will always paint an overly rosy view of the claim they want to sell you, especially in terms of how "rich in gold" it is. But if you yourself don't spend a reasonable amount of time sampling that claim (something most scammers balk at, by the way) before you buy it, don't cry "foul" after the fact. I know traveling to sample a claim first can be a difficult task to pull off, but allow me to put it to you this way. Would you buy a car without driving it first? I rest my case.

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2. Forming mining partnerships on a handshake or by verbal agreement: in an ideal world we could depend on others to be as honest and trustworthy as we think ourselves to be. But if you enter into mining partnerships with friends, relatives, claimholders, landowners, or that mining club buddy without some sort of written or concrete documentation, then all bets are off. The "noble brotherhood" will only last as long as no substantial amount of gold is found or selfish egos are kept in check. So do yourself a favor and draw up some sort of concrete documentation before entering into a partnership with anyone (myself included). Not only will things shake out fine in the end, you will avoid ruining a good friendship or two.

3. Allowing the "dream merchants" to sell you a bill of goods: your mining supply and equipment needs should be based, in a large part, on your mining knowledge, skills, and experience. For example, a novice who hasn't even learned to pan properly yet has no need whatsoever for a 6" dredge right now, just as no one in their right mind needs a "treasure locator" wand that can supposedly point the way to gold 50 miles away. But the small percentage of "dream merchants" who run less-than-scrupulous mining supply stores and prospecting shops online and elsewhere could care less. As I've said before, they have a "vested interest" in your interest in mining and they will tell you anything you want to hear to get that sale. (Can I make a living gold mining? "Hell yes, of course! It's a piece of cake!" Do these treasure rods really find gold miles away? "Proven scientific fact, my friend!" Can I return this for a refund? "Nope.")


4. Becoming the poster boy or girl for "greedy is as greedy does": if your mining activities are going to transform you into a gold-grubbing version of Scrooge from "A Christmas Carol," then stay the hell away from the rest of us. Much of what we do in recreational or small-scale mining is not only about us, but about sharing our abilities, knowledge, skills, and at times, our gear with others to help them along the way just as we were helped early on. My view is this. If you are one of those ego-driven mining "a-holes" out there with a selfish heart and mean spirit (and I've come across a few in my day, unfortunately) your karma will catch up with you eventually. When the day finally comes that you need help from another miner, he or she will shake their head in disbelief before leaving you high and dry.

5. Not listening to the oldtimers: this is one of my personal pet peeves and you may have read it before here in "Bedrock Dreams." If you are one of these people who, for whatever reason, cannot put your voracious ego aside for a bit and open your ears to the advice and instruction of more experienced gold miners, then you are stepping on your own toes something serious my friend. Why? Because an experienced gold miner (yes, like myself) can teach you more about the ins and outs of mining in a day than you could learn in 6 months of trial and error. This means not only the nuts and bolts but the more difficult aspects of mining such as how to set up and operate equipment, identify likely gold-bearing spots, how to do a proper cleanup, etc., etc. But, if you are one of those mental giants who always knows better, far be it from me to tell you otherwise (and by the way, enjoy that steep learning curve while you're at it.)

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In my next post, I'll lay out the last 5 personal mistakes to avoid in gold mining. Until then, keep the faith!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "One Miner's Claim Nightmare"

(c) J.R. 2009

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