Can Anything Be Learned From YouTube Prospecting and Mining Videos?
So what constitutes real value for me? When I see, hear, or read something that's well done, makes sense, and either answers questions for me or creates new ones in my miner's mind. Like anything else in this life, YouTube mining videos run the gamut from absolute shit to excellent and beyond. If I were to categorize these videos I'd probably rank them with the best approaches and most meaningful getting awarded an "A" and the worst an "F." Just like the old grammar and high school report card days, right? Anyway, I tend to evaluate YouTube mining and prospecting videos from two standpoints: 1) how well done or presented they are, and 2) how strong or valuable their content is. As I'm often fond of saying, however, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and there is always a certain amount of subjectivity involved in evaluating or reviewing works of art, literature, and yes...even mining vids.
The Medium is the Message
I will tell you this, however. The YouTube mining and prospecting videos that I like the least are those with bullshit banjo music playing in the background and the cutesy, folksy Ma and Pa Kettle approach. Next in line are those vids with some narcissistic buffoon prancing around in buckskins or ol' sourdough get up with his mouth running a mile a minute and calling himself "Pistol Pete," "The Ol' Prospector," or "Mr. Gold Getter." Now those aren't real nicknames on YouTube (as far as I know anyway) but I think you see where I'm going with this. Taking on the persona of what you imagine an old-time, single-blanket prospector to be or acting like a jackass and strutting or jumping around on video like a wannabe TV reality "star" may be amusing or pleasing to the dim-witted, but for me it's a complete turn-off. And I don't give a damn how much about gold prospecting or mining you actually DO know. The medium is the message and if your medium is based on hype or mundane BS I flat ain't interested.
(I'll take the real deal every time.)
Next we have the casual, home-grown vids where a would-be miner or two trundle their highbanker or sluice box up the creek and spend most of the video setting their gear up. Then at the end of the vid we may (or may not) see a flash of yellow in the clean-up pan. I've seen vids like this where the folks in question run bucket after bucket of material and barely recover a speck. In all honesty, I've had single test pans with more gold in them than some of these folks get in a full day of running! Now the next question floating through some of your heads is this: "What the hell Jim? If it's so damn easy to criticize what others do, why don't you get your ass out there and make your own mining vids?" That's a fair question for sure. I'll answer it by saying that first of all, at 70 years of age and after 40 years of small-scale mining I just don't get out there that much any longer. So the sheer volume of any videos I made wouldn't hold anyone's interest for long. Next, I'm a writer. I like writing and I'm very good at it as my content over time has proven. A videographer I ain't. Nor do I have any desire to be. Now if this was the late 1970s and the 1980s into the mid-1990s when I was doing the bulk of my prospecting and mining and the same video and internet technology existed...why pard, you'd have more videos than you could handle...and probably damn good ones too. But the real kicker here is that back in the 2008-2009 time frame I got sideways with the Great God Google (they bought YouTube in 2006) and I am not "allowed" to run their ads or post YouTube vids. I'll just leave it at that.
Are there good mining and prospecting videos on YouTube? You bet your ass there are. And these cover just about all aspects of small-scale mining and prospecting, as well as nugget shooting with a gold detector. I don't know if he's still producing vids, but Arizona prospector and gold sniper propanner had some nice little vids on sniping bedrock in both wet and dry conditions, California miner HurtHawk has a lot of informative vids of interest to the small-scale guy or gal (he's a great guy and a miner's miner to boot), and there are many others out there as well. In fact, too many to list here. So there's your counterpoint to my earlier criticisms.
(Some of propanner's sniped gold.)
Now if you want to see a YouTube prospecting video that I recently came across that's chock full of good visual info as well as an explanation of what you're seeing (and what to do in terms of assaying and testing) then you need to watch this vid. I suspect these guys are Canucks based on their lingo and pronunciation of certain words. Either way, this video is chock full of valuable info about what to look for out there in terms of oxidized vein material. What you'll see is what is called "gossan," a particluarly rich form of vein material that is high in sulfides and has a very "rotten" or crumbly texture to it. These boys know their stuff and their words and actions will prove that in short order. So this is one of those videos that can impart new knowledge your way. Watch it, study it and listen to what they're doing and saying. Then watch it again. And if you ever come across something like this out in the field you best stop and get down to business with it.
(c) Jim Rocha 2018
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org