Although small-scale gold miners who've been around the mining block for some time understand the importance of being thorough in their prospecting and mining activities, many newcomers fail to grasp the significance of this often overlooked detail. In mining and prospecting, the devil is in the details and you can bank on that fact.
No Overlooked Details
I'll put this another way. Leave no stone unturned in your mining and prospecting efforts. I've been doing this small-scale mining thing for quite a while now and I can't count the times I've seen would-be prospectors and miners rush around willy nilly, digging here and there with frenetic abandon, thinking that the more ground they cover with their test pans the sooner they're going to hit the "big one." On one level there's validity to covering (or moving) lots of ground IF you know what you're doing and IF you do it in a thorough fashion. What do I mean by thorough? Doing things in an accurate and exact way where no detail is overlooked. That's how you set yourself apart from the fumblers and bumblers and yes, the "wannabes." And I'm not just talking about panning and sampling because leaving no stone unturned applies to each and every aspect of what you do, including:
- Setting up and running mining equipment.
- Doing your preliminary research.
- Prospecting for gold (lode and placer).
- Swinging that gold detector of yours.
- Performing clean outs and clean ups.
- Ensuring your gear is in the best possible condition.
- Crevicing and sniping.
(The devil is in the details no matter what you're doing.)
The Long and the Short of It
Doing things half-assed or half-baked is NOT going to get you the gold you really want to recover. No sir or madam. Sure, you'll still find some color this way and may even get lucky once or twice. But over the long haul you're going to be short on gold and long on missed opportunities. How do I know this? Because I myself used to operate this way when I was still green behind the ears...at least for a while anyway. You see, my old-timer mentors verbally "beat" that nonsense out of me. Contrary to the image you may have in your mind of the old guys who schooled me up, my mentors (by and large) were not well-mannered, old school gentlemen with white beards and sourdough hats pinned up in the front who laid a friendly arm across your shoulders and said softly, "Now son, you oughtta not be doing things that way." Most of the time I either got yelled at like I was the dumbest thing that ever came down the pike or I was threatened with the proverbial boot in the butt. This wasn't easy for me to take either because I was something of a hothead in my younger days (believe it or not, I've mellowed some over the years!). Am I exaggerating about those fine old gentlemen who have since passed on? A little, but trust me...not much. All this said, I wouldn't trade those experiences with them for the world, yelling and implied threats included. Why? Because I learned and I learned well.
Care About What You Do
Anyway, you're getting the picture here since I'm not very subtle (as you already know). I always end up harping about what I call the "Three Ps" so here I go again. In your mining and prospecting activities you must be patient, persistent, and have the capacity to persevere. That's the overall message here. The "Three Ps" imply a consistent and careful approach to all things mining and prospecting and that's pretty much everything you do out there in the field. This has been borne out in my own experience of three and half decades (plus) as a small-scale miner and prospector. I've seen them come and go too, the hotshots all full of piss and vinegar ready to tear things up; the loudmouths and blowhards tooting their own horns; the greenhorns struggling to get up to speed; and the veterans and sourdoughs making things happen through knowledge and patient effort. I don't know where you fit into these categories and maybe you don't. But I do know that the miners and prospectors I know who get the most (and the best) gold are those who understand the value of being thorough. The latter are the sorts of guys and gals who literally leave no stone unturned in their efforts and who follow through with persistence and perseverance. This is what you should aspire to if you're not already there. Again, I don't care if you're panning, sluicing, nugget shooting, crevicing, dredging, highbanking, running a trommel, dry washing, sniping, crevicing, or eyeballing potential gold ore on some sun bleached desert hillside. Whatever you do, do it well and with the utmost care and completeness. Not only will this help you find and recover more gold, it will also ensure that your day-to-day lives are vastly improved. You see, people who care about what they do reflect that fact in every aspect of their lives.
Want to get really good at gold mining and prospecting? Learn everything you can about those pursuits, work diligently and patiently, and once more...leave no stone unturned. Who knows? There may be gold hiding under that rock you just stepped over.
Best of luck to each and every one of you.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2015
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org