10 Tips for Smart Miners: Use the Right Tool(s) for the Job

(Which gold mining tools or gear would be best for working this stretch of placer ground in British Columbia?)

Tip 4. Use the right tool(s) for the job.

Possibilities and Problems

There's a very old saying we've all heard time and time again, "Use the right tool(s) for the job." This is just as true for gold miners as it is for car mechanics, carpenters, brick masons, or any trade or occupation.

Each placer gold mining claim or location (wet or dry) presents us with different possibilities as well as potential problems. How we approach those possibilities and problems and the tools and gear we use in the process are fundamental to our success.

Questions, Questions, Questions

I've posed a question for you underneath the photo at the beginning of this post. Think about that question for a minute before you answer it. And no, you can't move to another location ....you have to work this spot.

Gold Concentrates
Gold Pans

So how would you approach working this location, what sort of gear or equipment would you use, and why have you made those choices? Have you chosen the right tool(s) for the job to get the gold from this spot (which would be fairly difficult to work, by the way).

A Method to My Madness

There is a method to my madness here, believe it or not. I am trying to get you to think things through a bit and not automatically assume that one specific set of tools or piece of mining gear is best for each and every context.

In other words, does the location pictured above in beautiful B.C. lend itself to you breaking out those bedrock crevicing or sniping tools? Probably not. How about a suction dredge? Perhaps, but it looks like there may be some serious overburden to deal with.

OK then, how about a sluice box? Yep, plenty of water to run it....but where are you going to get your material? Then to hell with it, let's try a highbanker. Sounds good but those bench gravels on the opposite side of the stream are not exactly in a good, low-pressure gold deposition area.

By and large, you (my readers, that is) are intelligent, perceptive, and knowledgeable folks. So I think it fair to say you get the point here.

Square Pegs in Round Holes

But remember this: just because you pay boo-coo bucks for a piece of mining equipment or a set of specialized tools it doesn't mean that specific gear is ALWAYS best for ANY and ALL mining circumstances. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

The best tools for a given gold-mining "job" might be a gold pan, rock hammer, and small shovel or a 6-inch suction dredge. Smart miners know what the right tool for the job is and they don't waste time trying to drive square pegs in round holes.

There it is....

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold Mining History of California: Significant Dates, Locations, and Information (Part 1)"


(c) J.R. 2010

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