Avoiding Common Mistakes: Tips for Novice Gold Miners

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Being the "New Kid" Can be Frustrating

In just about any context or endeavor, being the "new kid" on the block can prove to be very frustrating. Placer gold mining is no exception to this fundamental rule and many "newbies" find themselves wondering just what the hell they've gotten themselves into when the true realities of gold mining finally sink in and the initial "pink cloud" of grand expectations settles down some.

However, most gold-mining novices will eventually "man (or woman) up" and stick things out until they too have the requisite knowledge, experience, skills, and expertise to break through that "newbie" tag and get with the program just like any other respectable mining veteran. One way novices can help expedite this learning process is by avoiding common pitfalls and mistakes.

What sort of mistakes? Here is one (which I have touched upon in the past):

Tip Number 1. Don't Underestimate the Essential Nature of the Beast.

What beast am I speaking of here? Gold mining of course, especially placer gold mining since that is where most miners start out and most end up (hard rock mining being an altogether different beast entirely).

It is a matter of course that mining "newbies" underestimate what's it takes to become a placer miner, how much must be learned both theoretically and out and about in the field, and most of all, what very hard work (for typically small returns) gold mining is. What almost all "newbies" OVERestimate however, is the amount of gold they expect to recover with little effort, knowledge, or hassle.

Trust me, I've seen this attitude expressed time and time again by novices to gold mining, sometimes boosted by a "get-rich-quick" mentality fueled by a severe case of gold fever. In the latter case their expectations are so unrealistic that they honestly expect to walk around a gold district picking up gold nuggets by the handful (in extreme cases) or, at the very least, being able to quit their day jobs and make a living from mining (something that has always been extremely hard to do). Most importantly, these unrealistic expectations coexist with a sharply limited knowledge of the subject and absolutely zero experience mining. (Go figure.)

So What's My Point?

Right now this syndrome is so commonplace (based on reader e-mails and queries) I find it unsettling to say the least. As I write this post gold is approaching $1100.00 per troy ounce, the U.S. economy remains battered and bruised, and unemployment nationwide is nearing 10%. Needless to say, these factors don't help matters much when it comes to getting "newbie" expectations down to a manageable level.

OK, so what's my point you ask? To discourage newcomers from entering small-scale or recreational prospecting and mining? From enjoying the great outdoors and wresting one of Mother Natures greatest treasures from her bosom? Of course not.

I simply want to ensure that those of you out there who are just entering this wonderful hobby and/or avocation are set straight from the very get go. The more I can teach you up front, the more I can bring your attention to the pluses as well as the minuses, the less pain, misery, and frustration you will endure as a "newbie" in the long run.

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So do me a favor if you are a novice to gold mining. Get your expectations in check, forget the "get-rich-quick" schemes and above all please, please do not place your family's limited financial resources at risk by gambling everything on the throw of a set of dice when you have yet to learn how to play the game.

My regards to one and all.....

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Tips on 'Seeing' Where the Gold Is (Part 6)"


(c) J.R. 2009

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com