Why Make Gold Prospecting and Mining More Difficult?

It's my opinion that many people these days make their daily lives much more complex than they need to be. In small-scale gold mining, complexity in terms of equipment and approach is not always your best move, and you can take that bit of mining philosophy to the bank with you.

My View

A few years ago I wrote a brief post (now archived) about "keeping it simple" when it came to all things mining. I intend to expand upon that idea here and attempt to drive home to you the importance of simplicity in your gold prospecting and mining efforts. On the other hand, in the rare likelihood you're one of those individuals out there who's engaged in commercial or large-scale gold mining operations a certain amount of complexity is part and parcel of your daily effort. However, I suspect if you fall into this latter category you won't be reading this anyway.

The rest of us who are small-scale miners and prospectors using traditional gear, metal detectors, and small motorized equipment know that virtually aspect of mining (including nugget shooting) presents a certain amount of vexatious challenges along the way. Once again, that's the nature of the beast. My view is simply this. Why make things more difficult for yourself along the way by abandoning the simple basics in favor of more costly or complex approaches that may or may not get you the gold? In my mind, that just doesn't make sense. As you progress in your small-scale prospecting and mining careers this point I'm making should become clearer and clearer. If it doesn't, then you and I should have a little one-on-one talk sometime.

Get the Drift?

Of course, where you're mining has a lot to say about how you approach your mining efforts and what gear is most suitable for that particular location. This is basic knowledge and no great leap of faith for most of you. But understand this...just because you have the means to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a suction dredge or highbanker doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get more gold (or even as much gold) as a dedicated and experienced gold sniper armed only with a snorkel, face mask, and a few hand tools. In fact, I've seen the former embarrass the latter on more than one occasion.

(Sometimes the simplest means get the gold.)

Sure, moving more dirt is always the name of the game in gold mining, hard rock or placer. But if you're spending all that time and money to run low-value gravels when you could just as easily find as much gold in one crevice or stringer in 45 minutes, well...something's wrong with that picture. The same holds true for elaborate equipment set ups when a more direct approach would work just as well. Sometimes that highbanker or that dredge or that electrostatic dry washer is going to be your best bet. In other instances they won't be. That beat-up old sluice box in your garage might do the trick as well, if not better, in certain situations. I'm probably not doing very well here trying to explain myself on this point, but I think you get the drift (no pun intended here for you hard-rock miners!).

Impress Yourself

Even more than equipment it's crucial that you apply this idea of simplicity to your gold prospecting and mining approaches. Don't try to get all fancy and elaborate out there when you're going at it. You sure as hell didn't get into mining, nugget shooting, or prospecting to impress others (or at least I hope not). The only person you need to impress is yourself. And you do that by getting the best gold  you can get in the time you have in the simplest, most direct, and efficient way possible. Comprende pards?

Keep it simple out there.

(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2013

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