Monday, April 26, 2010

10 Tips for Smart Miners: Do Your Homework

Be a Smart Miner
Once again, if you have a choice between being what I call a smart miner (someone who has it together and thinks and plans ahead) or conversely a not-so-smart miner (someone who doesn’t have it together and never thinks or plans ahead), your best bet is to become the former and not the latter. Why?

Gold Concentrators

Well for starters, smart miners tend to work more efficiently overall, are less problem-prone out in the field, and tend to get the most gold. Even if the first two qualifiers don’t grab your attention, the third one should. That’s my ever-so-humble opinion anyway.

So over the next few posts I will provide 10 tips meant to help you become one of the placer mining “elite” out there, a smart miner:

Tip 2. Do your homework.
I am constantly amazed at how many recreational or small-scale miners fail to do their homework before setting out to pursue their mining activities. They assume that because an area is a known or historical gold producer that they don’t need to know anything else about it.

Perhaps, but I find this assumption somewhat disconcerting. I’ve always been the kind of person (and miner) who wanted to know as much as I could up front about any pursuit or endeavor. My view in this regard is quite simple: “knowledge is power.”

Gleaning Any and All Information

Let me digress a bit here first and give you my definition of homework first. To me doing your homework means gleaning any and all information about a given gold area, including:

Geology and gold mineralization.
Mining history.
• Availability of water.
• Accessibility.
Gold production in total troy ounces.
• Type of gold, gold ores, or incidental metals.
• Forms and sizes of gold recovered.
• Locations of large or rich pockets, streaks, or nugget finds.
• Most common mining equipment used.

If researched or studied properly each of these homework topics can provide information that, in the short run, may save you time, hassles, and money. In the long term, having some of this knowledge under your belt may make the difference between hardscrabble mining with poor gold showings or finding those pockets, paystreaks, and nuggets.

Except for you real novices or “greenhorns” out there (and welcome, by the way!), most of you have enough gold mining experience, expertise, and common sense to realize the value of what I am saying here. There is a fine line between gold mining success and getting “skunked” or coming up with very little for all your labor and effort. So, any edge you can get that may increase your chances out in the field is not to be sneered at.

Just One Example

Let me give you just one example. Let’s say you’ve just purchased a fancy (and expensive) gold detector and can’t wait to get out the door and head for that gold area you read about in an article in the local newspaper. Homework? Who the hell needs to know anything else…there’s gold out there!

So you drive an hour or two, or maybe four or five, and arrive full of excitement and dreams of nuggets dancing before your eyes like sugar plums on Christmas Eve. Imagine your chagrin (not to mention the 4-letter words you’ll be muttering under your breath) when you find out after the fact that this area was only noted for producing fine or flood gold.

I think you get the picture. Any or all of those homework items I listed above can and often will be the deciding factor as to whether you’ll want to work a given area or whether it will be productive. And chances are it will be productive if you know where to go, what to look for, and where the best spots to work are.

Be a smart miner….do your homework.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: “Real Miners Never Beg”

© J.R. 2010

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