(It's all about gold in many forms.)
The idea for finding workable gold ground I'm suggesting in this post follows hard on the heels of Suggestion 5 and in some ways is very similar as far as intent is concerned. However, what I'm about to suggest in this post takes thing a giant step farther and requires much more in physical, mental, emotional, and yes...practical outlay, including finances.
6) Prospect and mine in a foreign country.
I've probably got your attention now, don't I? I realize that many of you out there have seen the various gold mining reality shows currently wafting their way across the flickering screen of your TV set. Granted, the majority of these shows are oriented toward commercial gold mining or larger-scale prospecting and mining activities, but the difficulties about working in certain countries outside the United States is readily apparent for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Some of these shows have clearly illuminated the expense, hassles, challenges, and extreme difficulties of mining abroad and for those moments of truth I think they deserve grudging respect. What's the good news here? It's simply that the same issues affecting these TV reality "stars" would affect smaller mining ventures as well, but on a seriously reduced scale in many respects. What do I mean by smaller ventures? Two or three or four man (or woman) operations. That's what you and I are most familiar with, after all.
Please notice in the last part of the section above I said nothing whatsoever about going it alone. As I've already stressed to you, going it alone even in remote areas of the continental U.S. is risky business and that risk is going to be amplified a hundred fold or a thousand fold if you're dreaming of finding and working a gold hotspot in Africa, Central or South America, Greenland, or any other distant and potentially hostile location far, far away from your couch and a cold can of beer. Now I'm not trying to imply that you don't have the where-with-all to pull something like this off because most of you do. Where's there's a will there's a way. Right? But the overriding question that must be asked here is if the risk is worth the result. As always in gold prospecting and mining, sometimes it is but just as often it isn't.
It Can be Done
There's little doubt that very good gold ground exists outside the U.S. The potential for virgin ground and new discoveries remains relatively high in certain foreign locations, especially in places like Africa and Central and South America. I'm not talking here about huge tracts of ground that make the corporate or commercial types salivate, but smaller placers and lodes that could put more gold in your poke than you ever dreamed possible. Would this be easy? Hell no. You'd probably have to work harder than you ever have at anything in your life and do so in environments that were, for lack of a better term, absolutely brutal. Not to mention potentially dangerous to life and limb. So here we are again...back at the reward versus risk thing.
(A Brazilian garimpeiro looking for yellow.)
Off and on over the years I've been in contact with half a dozen or so small-scale prospectors and miners who made the choice to head for the jungles and deserts in far away lands and try their hand at getting more gold than they could possibly hope for by slogging it out here.Two of these folks have done pretty damn well at filling their pokes and becoming financially secure, and at least one of them decided to forgo his U.S. citizenship to become a resident of the country he's mining in. This latter dude has always gone solo too, an amazing accomplishment when all the dangers and risks involved are thrown into the mix. But these are the exceptions and not the rule. It takes a 100% level of commitment, extreme perseverance and patience, and a willingness to endure no matter what. Oh, and let's not forget plenty (and I mean "plenty") of ass-busting labor. So yes, it can be done.
I'm an admirer of Canada and Australia and Canuck and Aussie prospectors and miners (and I can truthfully say I have friends in both countries), but that's not what I'm talking about here. Sure there are plenty of wild places and hostile gold environments in those two countries, but if I'm setting out to make my way to potentially virgin ground or ground that's going to carry me forward a number of years, I'm not going to interfere with the Canucks and Aussie miners who already have a good line on things in their own neck of the woods. Moreover, I don't want to mess with rigid governmental bureaucracies with stringent rules and regulations either. Lastly, I'm not adverse to "greasing" a few palms (which I've done in the past in Mexico) with cash in countries where official corruption is commonplace and the rules and regulations are often bent accordingly.
(Women using bateas to pan for gold in Southeast Asia.)
Don't get me wrong here. I'd love to rub mining elbows with my Canuck and Aussie friends and would gladly do so any time, any where. But I'm not looking to compete with them for their own gold on a consistent or long-term basis. It's their ground, you see? And what of Old Mexico, you ask? Well, there's definitely some potential south of the border but I doubt that same potential is high enough to change a small-scale gold miner's life style significantly.
Freedom to Choose
I know what you're saying here. "Well, there are miners in those other countries you mentioned. Wouldn't you be competing with them too? And isn't it their ground?" Yes to all three points. Anywhere you choose to go in this world where gold exists there will be small and large-scale miners out and about doing their thing and that's a fact. But what I'm envisioning here is finding and working ground that even the locals don't have a good line on, or if they do...they haven't beaten it to death yet. Let me make an analogy here. During the Gold Rush thousands upon thousands of would-be Argonauts came to California from all over the known world, including Australia, Canada, and Mexico (not to mention Polynesia, China, Europe, South America, and Asia in general). Some of these prospectors and miners had excellent gold ground right under their feet and left it willingly for the possibility of better ground elsewhere. You see, it's all about dreams.
Would I consider leaving home and the family to make an extended journey into the wilds of Africa or South or Central America to search for good gold ground? Not at this point in my life. In my younger and freer days I probably would have but I'm no longer young and external freedom is a relative thing these days. You're always free in your mind though, if you choose to be. No, I won't be packing up my gear and heading for parts unknown. But the fact of the matter is that dreams are meant to be followed and if yours take you outside the boundaries of this country in your quest for gold, then more power to you my friend.
This suggestion is simply that.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2015
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org