10 Tips for Smart Miners: Avoid the "Grass is Greener..." Syndrome

Tip Number 10. Avoid the "Grass is Greener..." Syndrome.

Perhaps you, like myself, are an avid student of Western mining history (or the mining history of your own nation/region if you live outside the United States). I've spent a great deal of my "down time" during the colder months focusing on details of various American gold rushes, including of course, the California Gold Rush.
One thing I've learned from my studies is that most of the oldtimers were never satisfied with the amount of gold they were recovering (are any of us for that matter?). But unlike most of us mining today, many of these individuals were pulling anywhere from a half ounce to 2, 3, or 4 troy ounces a day or more, depending on how rich the ground was that they were working.

"Humbugs" and "Will-o-the-Wisps"

So when someone came along and told these early miners that new strikes had been made and more gold was to be had elsewhere (whether nearby or far, far away) many of these oldtimers packed up their gear in an instant and left relatively rich claims to chase what became, in many instances, "humbugs" or "will-o'-the-wisps."

A couple of prime examples were the "Gold Lake" mini-rush in northern California's Motherlode and the Fraser River Rush in British Columbia. In the former instance many '49ers left perfectly productive diggings for what turned out to be an imaginary lake of gold while the latter drew them to placer diggings that contained far less gold than those they had abandoned in the first place. When they returned (if, in fact they did return) to their former claims, they found them occupied by others and were subsequently left out in the cold.

Too Easily Frustrated...

This "grass is greener..." (on the other side of the hill) syndrome created untold hardships, many lost opportunities, and no small amount of internal conflict and unhappiness. Of course greed played a part in the examples I've provided but today that's not really the case.

Some small-scale miners tend to buy into the "grass is greener..." syndrome today simply because they are too easily frustrated and either unable or (more than likely) unwilling to do the amount of work necessary to make their current ground pay. Unless you can say with near 100% certainty that your current ground contains little or no gold or is completely worked out, there's no real reason for pulling up stakes to chase "will-o-the-wisps."

Think on This for a Moment

I'm going to tell you something here and now....I've been mining for over 30 years and I've never come across a piece of placer gold ground that was completely worked out. What I have come across however, are any number of small-scale or recreational gold miners who simply didn't want to put forth the effort to make a spot or location pay and who instead packed up and went racing away to some other placer area or location where the "gold was better" (supposedly, that is).

Granted, some pieces of gold ground are better than others...sometimes much, much better. But the point I am making here is that if you can't put in the required effort or be thorough enough to ensure that you're getting the most out of your current mining location(s), then why do you think you''ll be able to do it where the "grass is greener?" Think on this for a moment.

That's it for this series of posts. Good luck to you.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "10 Tips for Smart Miners: Learn to Use Your X-Ray Vision"

(c) J.R. 2010

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