False Expectations of Success
(Despite what the "dream merchants" may tell you...small-scale gold mining or treasure hunting are NOT get-rich-quick schemes.)
"80% of the World's Gold?"
I recently received this question from Amber and Paul, a couple of aspiring gold prospectors and miners who maintain a ongoing correspondence with me via e-mail:
"With all the 'dream merchants' telling us that 80% of the world's gold is still out there to be found, shouldn't that number be more like 40% or lower?"
Amber and Paul have touched on a key point here and it's one I've addressed peripherally in previous articles and posts. So, allow me the opportunity to expound on this subject once again in greater detail.
Dickies Work Clothes
My basic definition of a "dream merchant" is someone who willingly exploits your fondest dreams and aspirations for strictly monetary (selfish) purposes. Dream merchants do this in any number of ways, but the most common is creating false expectations of success.
(Don't let the dream merchants pick your pocket.)
What They Won't Tell You
Another very common hustle used by many dream merchants, and some less-than-scrupulous gold prospecting and metal detecting clubs looking to "recruit" new members is to use the classic come on that Amber and Paul mention:
"Hey guys and gals, only 25% (or 20%, or 15%, or 10%??) of the world's gold (or treasure) has ever been mined or recovered. That means there's still plenty of gold out there you can find!"
That is, of course, if you just buy the equipment, gear, books, metal detectors, and incidental supplies that particular dream merchant is trying to sell you. What the dream merchants out there won't tell you, however, is that even if this 75% or 80% statement was true (which is highly unlikely from a purely scientific or statistical standpoint), the so-called easy to get gold has already been gotten!
Getting at the Gold is the Problem
Sure, a lot of gold (and treasure) is still out there waiting to be recovered. But getting at it is the problem. For example, Carlin type lode deposits containing micron particle gold are mined using resources and gear that cost into the tens (if not hundreds) of millions. Ditto for large-scale underwater treasure hunts. Who the hell among us has that sort of cash laying around?
Conversely, the so-called huge amounts of placer gold still remaining are either off limits (claims, private property, etc.) or are in areas overseas or in locations so remote that most small-scale miners (or treasure hunters) will never even get to them, let alone have the opportunity to work them.
Here's a Tip
Don't get me wrong here...it's perfectly fine to be in the business of purveying small-scale mining and treasure hunting gear to those who need it (which is most of us, by the way). That is, as long as you are open and honest about what you do and more importantly, what you represent to your customers.
However, the dream merchants out there know that ignorance is their greatest ally in exploiting the sincerity, honesty, and heart-felt aspirations of those just starting out in gold prospecting, mining, or treasure hunting. So here's a tip for all you dream merchants, hustlers, scam artists, and borderline or dishonest shop owners:
As long as I'm still kicking and doing this online thing, I'll burn your asses every chance I get...you can bank on that.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold Mining's Dirty Little Secrets"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2012
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org