Potential Effects of California's Anti-Dredging Legislation (Part 2)
If you read my first post on the anti-dredging legislation recently passed in California (Senate Bill 670) you have already received an earful regarding my personal views of this entire travesty. Again, I really do try to refrain from political or social posturing in "Bedrock Dreams" and just try to provide you with solid and timely information regarding the ins and outs of recreational and small-scale placer gold mining.
However, there are those times when I feel I must speak my mind and come at you straight from the heart. This has been one of those occasions. Anytime our freedom as individuals or as gold miners is threatened by the agenda-driven special interest groups out there and the spineless politicians who toady to them, I make no apologies to anyone, anywhere, anytime for what I say or do.
In Part 1 of this series of posts I touched on a couple of potential effects of the passage of California Senate Bill 670. Here are a few others that have come to mind:
Although placer gold claims in the West were already hot items due to the extremely high spot price of gold over the past year or so, I suspect many more California placer claims will be on the market soon unless I miss my bet. Why? Simple my friends.
Those placer miners like myself, Steve Hagar, Dave McCracken of the New 49ers (who worked tirelessly in the fight against Bill 670), and countless others over the years who have worked California river or stream claims already know that suction dredging is the single most efficient way of getting the gold in a wet gold-bearing environment. This is a simple statement of fact, not personal opinion or prejudice.
Some Dredgers Will "Throw in the Towel"
Of course placer gold can be recovered in other ways using other equipment. But if you have ever used a gold pan (not a piece of mining equipment by the way), rocker box, sluice box, highbanker, etc., you know that only certain areas of a river can be reached and worked, and rest assured that work will involve some intense labor for typically small returns.
So what does this have to do with gold claims in California? I suspect that many, if not most, serious dredgers (those making a living from mining or subsidizing their incomes) working California streams will just throw in the towel and either sell or lease their claims. They know only too well the year is 2009 and not 1849, and without suction dredging their potential for getting the gold has just been reduced in fairly drastic fashion.
Claim Prices Down?
If what I believe is true, then the logical question to follow is "will the prices of river or stream claims in California come down?" They may, but don't expect bargain basement prices if they do.
Claims are like any other commodity to a certain degree and their prices reflect not only supply and demand, but their asking prices are closely linked to the spot price of gold. And it's no secret to one and all that gold is wayyyyyyyyyyyyy the hell up there these days.
Beware the Hucksters, "Dream Merchants," and Claim Scammers
I just read an interesting article today online about how many Americans who are out of work are trying to eke out a living in the California gold fields, especially the Motherlode region. I wish these folks well but most are not finding or recovering much gold. Surprise, suprise.
This new "gold rush" is full of hucksters and "dream merchants" (just like the Days of '49 don't ya know?) and many of these poor souls have been sold a bill of goods by unscrupulous equipment dealers and mining clubs (yes, there are a few of both out there), not to mention my old arch enemies, claim scammers.
So listen to the voice of experience: beware the hucksters, "dream merchants," and claim scammers.
Some Dealers Will be Hurt
Remember, most mining and prospecting shop owners and dealers are decent folks just trying to make an honest living from something they love, gold mining. I know far too many of these good people to claim a few bad apples are the norm rather than the exception.
This said, I believe one detrimental effect of the anti-dredging legislation in California will be reduced business for many of these suppliers and retail shops in the once Golden State (this was brought to my attention first by miner Steve Hagar...and he's correct). Sure, they can still sell quite a few smaller ticket mining items (gold pans, books, sluices, etc.) but with suction dredges out of the picture they have lost their ability to make a reasonable profit from higher ticket items like dredges and dredge parts.
They can thank their gutless, avaricious politicians as well as the other "usual suspects" I mentioned in Part 1 of this series of posts.
I am loathe to say it but I will anyway. I am ashamed of what "they've" done to my home state (and not just in the realm of small-scale mining). Totally ashamed.
So it goes. So it goes...
P&S Fishing Tackle
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Potential Effects of California's Anti-Dredging Legislation (Part 1)"
(c) J.R. 2009
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org