Why Small-Scale Gold Mining Operations Fail (Part 2)

(Small-scale gold trommel/wash plant from Montana Gold Trommels.)

As I mentioned in my previous post on this topic, there are any number of reasons why small-scale gold mining operations fail. In that post I listed a few of those reasons and now I'll lay out a few others:

Working questionable gold ground: Even the most experienced small-scale miner or group of miners will have a tough time working questionable gold ground. Although risk and uncertainty are both part and parcel of small-scale gold mining, one way to help ensure success is by focusing your mining efforts on ground that has proven potential. This potential can be identified through any number of approaches, including historical descriptions, past production records, and most importantly, by thorough sampling.

Placer Gold Locations

Using inferior equipment: If you've been following the greener than greenhorn "wannabe" mining antics seen on Discovery Channel's "Gold Rush" TV series each Friday, you've already been witness to the significance of this particular issue. The old adage "you get what you pay for" is especially true when it comes to small-scale placer mining in any form, but if you're looking to mine for profit it can be downright critical. As I've stated as a general rule in past posts, the more gold-bearing material you can move and process, the more gold you'll get. Conversely, the more time you spend on fixing or repairing equipment the less time you'll be up and running and processing good dirt. I don't care if you're running a commercial-sized trommel and wash plant or back-pack sluice box...the principle here remains the same regardless.

(Why we do what we do.)

Equipment improperly configured or placed: This reason for failure follows hard on the heels of the previous one. It really doesn't matter if your gear is old and nearly worn out or brand-spanking new...if that equipment is not configured correctly or is improperly positioned or placed, you might as well be pissing into a strong wind because your ability to process and trap the gold has just been reduced significantly. If you're depending on small-scale gold mining to feed yourself and your family and you don't get this one right, everyone may go hungry.

There's one more post to come on this topic, so stay tuned. My best to everyone out there and remember...don't let the bastards grind ya down!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "More on Gold Deposition"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2011

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