The 48 Gold Mining Laws of Power (Part 3)

I hope you all had a very nice Christmas and were able to spend time with your loved ones. After all, the real gold in this life is not counted in ounces or grams. That said, let's move on to more mining power laws.


When you're going about the business of really mining out there, it's always best to concentrate your time, effort, and resources on the task at hand. There's a very old military axiom that states you never want to go into the attack piecemeal or without concentrating your forces. History has proven this to be true time and time again. So you too should adhere to this simple strategy. Once you're onto some good gold it's time to move dirt and lots of it if you're running any type of mining equipment. Every resource you have at hand should be focused or concentrated toward MINING, nothing else. Forget drifting off, forego temptation to "loosey goosey" things, and don't be distracted. Go at it with everything you have and that yellow will eventually find its way into your vial or poke. Half-ass is no ass when it comes to gold recovery. Remember that.


In mining, as well as life in general, striving for perfection is a lost cause. There's an obsessive-compulsive component driving those who constantly strive to be perfect or to gain a measure of perfection, but I'll leave that complete analysis to Dr. Freud or one of his adherents. You don't have to be perfect as a person, as a gold miner, or as anything else. Like I used to tell my son when he was in college, "You don't have to get straight A's. Just be damn sure you give it your best shot." I want to pass that bit of fatherly advice along to you, especially the newcomers among us (yes, you greenhorns and "newbs" out there). Ya know, I've never met a small-scale gold miner in my four decades of mining who was "perfect," myself included. So forget perfection and the compulsive striving for it. You'll fall flat in the end. Just get as good as you possibly can as a person and a miner within the framework around you. That's all you gotta do, brothers and sisters. Nothing more and nothing less.


As I've already said, the small-scale gold mining scene is a tight-knit community (or at least it was back in my day). So mind thy step and keep your nose clean. Don't get caught up in gold or claim hustles, selling questionable goods on eBay, or trying to pull a fast one on other miners (unless the latter is strictly for fun and laughs). One thing I've seen over time and don't like in the small-scale community is the proliferation of BS artists out there. That and the scammers and thieves. Granted, these questionable sorts have always buzzed around like flies anytime gold was at hand, but you get my drift. And one more thing, if you'll allow me the privilege...don't be one of these ass clowns online or on YouTube who dance and prance around (i.e., false posturing) like idiots to get attention or to hustle some sort of product or gear. Play it straight and you can't go wrong. At least that's the way I see it.


As a miner you have the right to keep things on the down low when it comes to your claims, gold locations, or recoveries. That's only right and good. But don't get too enclosed within yourself and learn to answer the call when others need help, instruction, or tips and pointers. If gold miners won't help other miners then who the hell will? I was helped out by some ass-kicking (literally, not figuratively!) mentors 40 years ago and I am tremendously grateful for that fact now. So if the occasion comes up where you can be of service to others, then by all means do so. One thing I enjoyed doing when I was performing outreach at middle schools here in New Mexico was doing a gold panning demo for the kids. They loved it so much the next time I did this gig I brought dirt for them to pan outside and I let them keep the little bit of gold they found. I also did a panning demo like this for one of my son's classes when he was in grammar school. Again, the looks on those kids faces was priceless. See where I'm headed with this? I thought so.


Wimps and weak sisters don't get the job done when it comes to getting the gold. Always be bold and decisive out in the field. Whether you fail or not in your expectations doesn't matter. What does matter is that you went for it full bore and with boldness. Be an unshakeable force when it comes to your gold prospecting and mining efforts as well as your life's pursuits. No one really respects the meek and timid, even though you've often been told the opposite. Again, kick butt and take names out there but do it in a way that minimizes adverse impacts on others or on Ma Nature herself. One thing I really dislike about commercial gold mining is the devastation wreaked on the natural environment. I understand it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. But I digress yet again. Be bold out there. Be respected.


Never enter any sort of gold mining enterprise without having some sort of plan, no matter how small or undeveloped that plan may be. By the same token, you better have a good plan for any eventuality that may arise during your gold mining forays or when running any sort of motorized mining equipment. Blow this one off and your day or weekend or season is gonna get ruined for sure. Trust me on this. Shit breaks down, parts wear out, and Murphy's Law is in effect at all times and in all places when you're gold mining. That's why you have to plan for such eventualities. Things like basic tool kits and critical spare parts are a must, despite this fact being more obvious than the nose on your face. ALWAYS be aware of Ma Nature's temperamental whims when it comes to weather as well. Plan for ANY eventuality, OK? That way you won't be hurt, disappointed, or waste that free gold mining time that's so precious to you.


It should go without saying that I'm not talking here about being an arrogant ass or lording it over others. What I AM talking about is taking honest pride in what you've accomplished as a small-scale guy or gal and any benefits your hard work and experience has brought your way. Again, that's only right. It doesn't matter if you have 30-40 years at this mining thing of ours or three or four months. Take pride in everything you've learned, gotten good at, or been able to bring to a positive outcome. You know, a lot of folks these days feel they are "entitled" to all good things without ever having put a lick of real, honest effort toward getting what they want (or think they want). Where's the pride in laying back and expecting someone else to make things happen for you? So always be aware of this fact and take pride in your good work and accomplishments. The stuff you've righteously earned through hard work and commitment.


Yes, this is a mining spin off of the Golden Rule, but it applies to all of us nonetheless. If you want to be treated by other small-scale miners with respect then show respect. If you would like others to help you out with tips and tricks, or the right way to set up mining gear then help out a total greenhorn or anyone else who is need of your assistance. Want to have a good time in your gold prospecting and mining forays? Then surround yourself with others who are like-minded. If you're going it alone (like dear old "Dad" here) then do so with positivity and an appreciation for the freedom and beauty the outdoors can bring you. I'm telling you right here and now if you act like a jerk or doggie turd in this community then you can expect others to do the same. In fact, you'll draw those types your way. So practice the golden "Golden Rule" at all times and in all locations. And if you should end up dealing with one of those folks who is so caught up in their own anger, selfishness, or viciousness there can be no application of this law, just turn around and walk away.


Again, none of us is perfect and we each have our own weaknesses when it comes to our gold mining approaches and our understanding of ourselves. Learn to spot your weaknesses when it comes to your mining activities and then do your best to plug those "holes" or non-productive gaps. If you have a tendency to be lazy get motivated and work harder. If you're doing things that bring little or no gold to the table then stop and reassess what it is you might be doing wrong. Ask for help or instruction if necessary. I think that any reasonable problem that you might be having out in the field can be resolved if you can suppress your ego long enough to admit you're wrong...or at least misguided in that regard. Ditto for your personal life. So make a habit of targeting any weaknesses in your "game play" and change things for the better. No one else can do that but you.


This Law is a follow up to the previous one. You should always be striving to be a master of your this case, gold mining and prospecting. You should educate yourself in all ways possible and apply any and all good lessons you've learned along the way. If you're primary focus is dredging or highbanking, then become a master at those things. If you're a nugget shooter then master that approach. Ditto for sniping, dry washing, or anything else. With mastery comes confidence and the knowledge that you've got your feces together when it comes to doing what you love to do. Many of us take a number of approaches when it comes to our mining activities and we employ different equipment to suit the task at hand. Sometimes this can limit us or spread our abilities too thin. Either way, strive to become the best you can be at everything you do but become a true master of one particular approach. Doing things half-assed or just enough to get by won't bring good gold your way. Mastery will.


Most of us spend more time worrying about what we don't have than making do with what we do have. You don't have to spend two or three thousand dollars for that new detector or piece of mining gear. Sure, they might help you do better with your gold recovery efforts but that is never a sure thing. If you have money to burn then new gadgets and gear are always worth a try. But pining away for those things when you're dead broke is wasted energy. Wishing and hoping are like...well, you know what they're like. The bottom line is that if you can't make do with what you have already, then that other,  fancier gear is not necessarily going to bring more gold your way. Break out that battered gold pan or that old sluice box of yours along with a few crevicing or digging tools and start working your butt off. Chances are, bit by bit and piece by piece you'll accumulate enough gold over time to buy that fancier gear you've been salivating over (or at least make a down payment on it!). So make do with what you have. If you can't do that then it's likely you won't do it with that expensive, new gear either.


At some point or another, we've all read or heard about other miners who pulled a multi-ounce nugget, hit that big paystreak, or stumbled across something extraordinary out in the field. When we DO read or hear about those sorts of finds our tendency is to mutter "That lucky SOB!" under our breath. Well, hold your horses there pard. It may have been luck or it may have been research, knowledge, and hard work that brought that fortunate soul their version of the "big one." Sometimes luck is the driving factor but most often it's not. In my mining and treasure hunting career I've come to learn that luck is an actual, working factor about 20% of the time or less. Eighty percent of the time when I did hit good scores in either venue it was all about knowing the score and hard work, pure and simple. Yes, it's good to be lucky (whatever that means). And some folks sure seem luckier than others. But if you're already banking away gold in your feverish little mind based on the sheer luck factor you are probably gonna end up disappointed (and badly disappointed at that). Trust me brothers and sisters. Luck is wayyyyyyyy overrated when it comes to gold mining and prospecting. So focus on doing well at what you do and working hard, and if you DO get lucky then that's just icing on the cake, isn't it?

There's more to come so stay tuned.

(c) Jim Rocha 2018

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Wow JR! Talk about being packed with great advice! Grandma Thomas beat the Golden Rule into us kids until we were sick of it...….I'm sure glad she did! Such a simple, yet important thing.
    Making due, I've always felt that every dime you spend is just that much more you need to make before you start to make anything. There is no "Magic whatzit" no matter what the salesmen will try to convince you of. Decent equipment is a must, but that doesn't mean high priced newest and best. Used or homemade works fine. Especially with small scale "hobby mining". People forget that the equipment for most every gold rush was homemade on the spot except shovels and gold pans...….some of those were too actually.
    Your last sentence says it all !
    The year is almost done. Every year I promise myself I'm going to get out prospecting more. Last few years work and life in general has blocked the road. Once again, I'm promising myself......summer is coming!
    Happy new year Jim

    1. Thanks for all Gary. I keep promising myself that this coming summer I'm gonna do some underwater sniping like the old days...we shall see!


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