Top 10 Personal Mistakes to Avoid in Gold Mining (Part 2)

Here are the last 5 items in my list of personal mistakes to avoid in gold mining:

6. Failing to understand the essential nature of gold mining: novices are most likely to make this mistake, but over the years I've seen some more experienced miners fall prey to this one as well. The bottom line is this: gold mining is not a get-rich-quick scheme nor is it typically a viable alternative to your current job or livelihood. Very few miners are able to support themselves through their mining activities let alone become wealthy mining "magnates." Mining is difficult, dirty, backbreaking (and sometimes dangerous) work for mostly small returns, especially at the recreational or small-scale level. So enjoy it for what it is and the enjoyment and satisfaction it can provide.

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7. Making enemies in the mining community: (coincidental to Mistake Number 4) one of the worst things you can do as a gold miner is to deliberately alienate or make enemies of other miners, claimholders, or equipment suppliers. How is this done? By being an arrogant loudmouth or know-it-all, trying to run hustles or scams, ripping off miners by selling substandard gear or crappy claims, or simply by being a flaming idiot in general. With the multitude of ways we have to communicate these days the word gets around quickly in terms of who to trust and who to avoid. Trust me, it's a bonehead move to become persona non grata in the mining community.

8. Allowing mining to become an obsession: admittedly, this is a tough one and I have had to fight my own personal demons in this regard over the years. The whole gold mining thing can really get into your blood (a good thing) and can often become the primary focus of your daily life and endeavors (not always a good thing). If you are one of the few small-scale placer miners out there making a living at gold mining, then this fixation and focus on all things mining is warranted to a great degree. That said, anytime our mining "fixation" makes our home life suffer, leaves necessary household chores undone or bills unpaid, or causes us to neglect our families and loved ones, then it's time to "get your mind right," reassess, and prioritize.


9. Using a mining claim as a personal campground or recreation area: People do this? Yes they do and I despise each and every one of them (and an oldtimer's curse be upon them!). By doing do so they violate the very heart and spirit of Western mining traditions, not to mention most local, state, and Federal (Forest Service, BLM) rules and regulations governing mining claims. So if you're one of those "paper" miners who manipulates the current claim system and posts "No mining, panning, dredging, highbanking, sluicing, sniping, drywashing" signs every 6 feet, then parks your 5th wheel or RV and your lazy ass for extended periods of time without ever lifting a shovel or gold pan (N. Yuba claim "squatters," this includes you), I have some news of interest. Your "claim" is not a private campground or recreation area and you have no business (let alone right) threatening others who do play by the rules.

10. Not taking the time to help others: Although most experienced gold miners are pretty good about helping others, there are those who don't or just won't. Why this is I am not exactly certain. Perhaps their egos have run away with them or their hearts are selfish and filled with rancor and bitterness. Whatever the cause, don't you become one of these hard-ass cantankerous types because you'll gain few friends, supporters, or potential mining "pards" along the way. Besides, one of the most satisfying and deeply appreciated things you can do is to pass on your mining experience, skills, and knowledge to others, especially those who are just starting their mining "careers."

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Take care out there....

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Top 10 Personal Mistakes to Avoid in Gold Mining"

(c) J.R. 2009

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