Seven Suggestions for Finding Workable Gold Ground (Conclusion)

It doesn't matter if you're sticking close to home or heading for a gold-rich Amazonian jungle, there's one surefire way to find workable gold ground. That very good means to an end is the subject of this, the final post of this series.

7) Do your research.

Some of you were probably expecting some sort of "magic pill" as my final suggestion for finding workable gold ground. If so, I'm sorry to disappoint you but it is what it is. Doing your research on the front end is undoubtedly the best means you'll ever find for locating workable gold ground ANYWHERE you choose to go (and I mean anywhere). I've said it before and I'll say it again. Any small-scale gold prospector or miner who doesn't follow this wise rule of thumb is missing the boat big time. Moreover, I can't imagine for the life of me how anyone could head for gold ground (close by or thousands of miles away) without knowing much, if anything, about that area. I'll be blunt here as I'm wont to do most of the time. It's a form of idiocy, pure and simple. And we've seen this idiocy manifested on at least one of those TV gold reality shows currently in play, haven't we? I rest my case.

Leading by Example

Let me give you an example of the value of doing your research to find workable (and often very good) gold ground. I've told this little tale before, but it bears repeating in this context. Back in the early 1980s I had an on-and-off again mining pard who was more of a loner than I could ever hope to be (I'll call him "Mr. Silent"). This dude had been married and divorced at an early age and like me at the time, was in his early 30s and free and footloose. Mr. Silent was a strange guy in many respects (an "odd duck" as my Grandma Riggs used to put it) but he could prospect and small-scale mine with the best of them. It didn't take him long to get fed up playing around in the usual churned up dry gold ground in southeastern California or working his ass off to get a teaspoonful of gold dredging the Kern River. He wanted bigger fish to fry from a gold standpoint and better gold ground was part and parcel of that enterprise.

 (There ARE bigger fish to fry.)

Anyway, Mr. Silent began researching the possibility of finding good gold ground (placer or lode) in some of the most remote areas of the West. This was no small feat at a time when there were NO desktop computers, laptops, or easily accessible digital data. He did it the old fashioned way through library books, topographic maps, old geological bulletins, and historic diaries, narratives, and production reports. He ended up targeting a remote, mountainous location in Montana...a location so remote and back up in there that the best way (and probably only feasible way) of reaching it was packing in via horseback. This is exactly what he did...and he did it alone, solo, by himself (again, not a safe strategy overall and I don't recommend it). What Mr. Silent eventually found was a limited but very rich (by small-scale, not commercial mining standards) lode composed of white sugar quartz liberally laced with crystalline, free-milling gold. This was the sort of stuff collector's go ga-ga over and I should know. I saw and handled Mr. Silent's first haul out of that lode site and it was some of the prettiest gold in quartz I've ever seen...specimen quality to be sure. What was Mr. Silent's take for researching and finding and working this site? By the time everything was said and done, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars my friends.

You Just Might Learn Something

Now by telling you this story I'm not suggesting that you run off to the wilds of Montana by your lonesome to look for gold. In fact, I don't want you going it alone anywhere, anytime if you can help it. Your life is worth far more than any amount of specimen or placer gold you can carry down a mountainside or along a jungle trail. After all, if you're dead or otherwise incapacitated, you aren't gonna be spending all that loot on hot cars or loose women (or men if you're female!). No sir or madam. You'll be turning worms while someone else burns through your gold. Obviously the real message in Mr. Silent's story is the VALUE OF RESEARCH. But you knew that already, didn't you? Yes you did. You see, I know full well the intelligence and perceptiveness of my readers.

 (The wilds of Montana.)

So, the very first step you should take in your quest to find better or workable gold ground is to start researching. There's no excuse not to these days. You have a veritable treasure trove of information and knowledge at your fingertips today and if you choose not to take advantage of that abundance, well...shame on you for being a dullard and a lazy ass. What? Some of you were expecting me to pat you on the back for pulling the same old crap at the same old tired locations that you never even researched to begin with? That ain't ever gonna happen as long as I'm breathing and kicking. I don't give very many "attaboys" or "attagirls" and the ones I do give are reserved for those of you who take the high road and not the easy way out. This doesn't mean you have to run off posthaste to Montana, British Columbia, Mexico or Peru, Brazil, Ghana, Greenland, or the Aussie Outback. In fact, if you do your research you just might learn something valuable about that burnt-out local spot you've been working these past few years that'll help you get better gold there and more of it.

Gold mining is hard work, that's for certain. But sometimes it's all about using your head, not your hands...

(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2015

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Great point about the ease of finding info on the computer today. I never could figure out how to use those card files at the library! Then when you did find something, either it was so full of $10 words it may have just as well been in Chinese, or it was just all about gold panning. Google Earth has got to be my favorite thing on here. There are no big "X marks the spot" places I have found yet, but you can do a Hell of a lot of exploring on a snowy winter day without leaving your wood stove! Heck, you don't even need clothes if you don't want to! Thanks JR!

  2. I would agree, google earth is "Da Bomb", I add an overlay from gold maps online, in the state I'm interested in, to help refine my search, then use a 1:24000 topo map to get a real feel for the land. I've found that the older geo surveys are excellent to further refine my area, providing one had been done. But nothing beats walking the land, taking photos, and sample, sample and the sample a bit more.


Post a Comment