Repeat Questions and My Answers to Them

(Questions are questions and comments are comments.)

As you may have noticed, I've been silent for the past 10 days or so. The reason? I was out of state. But I'm back now and wanted to address some repeat questions I receive from readers via e-mail and comments. By the way, if you have a question for me please use my e-mail contact address ( and NOT the comments section. The Bedrock Dreams comments sections below each post are for...well...comments, not questions.

So what I'm gonna do here is distill or generalize questions I receive again and again and provide my answers to these questions:

1) Do I buy placer gold, gold in rocks (ore), etc.?

The answer here is an emphatic NO! I never buy placer gold or gold ore (or purported gold ore) from anyone who contacts me online or in any other context. When I say "purported gold ore" I'm talking about rocks or quartz pieces that someone finds and THINKS contain gold. In all honesty, 99% of the time the so-called gold ore being offered to me is nothing of the sort based on the digital photos that are sent me as "proof" someone has found gold ore. The majority of the time these rocks or chunks of quartz are misidentified with iron pyrite being the main culprit or, at other times, they are simply heavily iron stained. Iron pyrite can be a clue to finding gold ore but pyrites ("fool's gold") are not the real deal. Many rocks and chunks of quartz contain pyrite crystals or are heavily oxidized but when I see no visible gold in them there usually is NO gold in them. The only way to know for certain if your rocks contain gold is to crush them up and pan or micro-sluice them, send them off for fire or chemical assay, or use some other means of scientific analysis. I can tell you that in 10 years of writing and publishing Bedrock Dreams there have only been four or five times when someone sent me digital photos of the real deal when it came to gold ore (i.e., free-milling gold was visible in the rock matrix). Again, I don't buy your rocks or placer gold regardless so please don't ask me if I'm interested. And here's a message to potential scammers...I know my gold and if you're gonna try and hustle me you're barking up the wrong tree.

(I don't buy it regardless...)

2) Do my rocks contain gold?

I've spoken to this question before in Bedrock Dreams but I still get regular queries along with digital photos about rocks that someone has found that he or she think may contain gold. Again, please refer to what I just said in item number one of this list. If you're not an experienced gold prospector or miner then chances are those rocks you're clutching tight in your hot little hands are simply It takes years of knowledge and field experience to know what to look for out there when it comes to potential gold ores. Trust me on that. Unless that rock or chunk of quartz you've found is shot full of visible gold (not pyrites) chances are what you're holding is as worthless as the day is long. That said, however, I commend you for using your eyes out there and picking up and examining anything that looks colorful, interesting, or out of the norm. By doing what you're doing and studying and learning, you'll eventually come to know what the real goods are. Otherwise, please don't waste my time (and yours) by sending me queries accompanied by photos of rocks of the "garden" variety.

("Is there gold in my rock?" Nope...)

3) Where do I start and where do I go?

This one comes up a lot from newbies and greenhorns. Because they're new to all this I don't judge or treat them harshly, I just tell them that you start at the beginning and you go where gold has been found before. It's as simple as that. Granted, if you can tag along with an experienced small-scale guy or gal or a mentor then that's even better. Get yourself a gold pan and some basic tools and get out there. Go where you know gold was recovered in the past and you're bound to turn up a bit of color no matter how inexperienced you are. Watch, study, do, and learn. There's no easy path to becoming an experienced small-scale gold miner or prospector. But the more time you spend doing this thing of ours the better and more knowledgeable you'll become.

 (Here's where you start...)

4) What exact locations or spots contain gold or should I try where I live or close by?

Bless your pointy little heads! I can't speak to this sort of question if you live in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota, Australia, Timbuktu, or any other area or state I've NEVER mined or prospected in. Common sense right? I've done ALL my small-scale mining and prospecting (sampling, panning, dry washing, dredging, highbanking, sluicing, etc.) in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Virginia, and Old Mexico itself, with minor forays to Colorado. So if you live in locales other than these I can't tell anything more than what you can readily find online or via geological bulletins. Ask to local miners or perhaps send a query to a prospecting club in your area (if one exists). Get off your duff and be pro-active. I know quite a bit about all this but I don't know everything and I sure as hell can't direct you straight to the gold in areas I've never mined or prospected. Comprende? All this said, if I was working alongside you wherever you are and there's gold in that area I CAN tell you this. Nine times out of ten I could put your nose right in that gold IF it's there. No boast here...just plain fact because I'm very good at what I do.

(Glacial gold belt in the upper Midwest, U.S.)

5) Should I buy a gold claim or file on one?

The gold claim "business" these days is rife with scams, bureaucratic bull shit, hidden costs, and ins and outs that you need to know on the front end, not the back end of things. The claim thing is not the asset it once was for us small-scale folks...that much is certain. So what's the answer to your question? You have to answer this one for yourself. It all depends. I've owned a number of mining claims during my checkered career and some I really enjoyed. After all, it's nice to have your own chunk of gold-bearing land to camp on and mine. As I've said before, I let my last claim expire in 2012 due to increased costs, bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo, and personal reasons. But you do what's best for you. I will say this though. Make absolutely certain you know all the bureaucratic angles before buying a claim or filing on one. Understand the costs associated with keeping your claim up to date. Finally, DO NOT buy a claim from the various hustlers and scammers out there, quite a few of which haunt the halls of auction sites like eBay.

That covers the main core of the repeat questions I receive monthly. If you have specific questions that I can answer hit me up via my e-mail and again, please don't ask questions via the comments section.

Be good to yourself!

(c) Jim Rocha 2017

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Lord JR! No wonder you're quitting! LOL
    Thanks for all the good advise and larnin!
    Hope whatever you do next is Golden too!

  2. Yep Paul, certain things do get old! Thanks for the good wishes.


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