1.) Don’t buy lots of fancy and expensive equipment when first starting out.
Yeah, I said it before and I’ll say it again. Don’t throw away your hard-earned money on all sorts of crap if you are a newbie. You need to learn the basics first and gather some journeyman skills and knowledge. In addition, a lot of the equipment on the market is NOT suitable for the gold here in British Columbia.
2.) Don’t get claim hustled.
There are plenty of hustlers in the gold mining game, and this is especially true when it comes to buying mining claims. If you’re headed in that direction, then know this… BUYER BEWARE. Many people have gone this route only to get burned. Know what you’re getting into and who you are dealing with. DO YOUR RESEARCH up front and learn everything you can about the seller(s) before laying out the cash. There are reputable claim sellers out there, but only a handful.
3.) Don’t expect to get rich from small-scale gold mining.
This includes commercial mining as well. If you’re coming into this love of ours with dreams of wealth, then you better wake up and smell the coffee. No doubt gold mining can be rewarding, and on occasion be profitable. But most of us rarely are able to put money in the bank from our prospecting endeavours. We do it because we love it, not because we expect to become rich. If it is wealth you are looking for, then try something else, ’cause small-scale gold mining ain’t the way.
4.) Don’t alienate those in the small-mining circle.
I am sure that most of you are fine, upstanding people. But there are those who have an untamed ego, are a bullcrapper supreme, an inveterate liar, a “taker” instead of a “giver”, who should keep plodding along the path of manipulation they are on. We don’t want these people among us.
5.) Don’t expect others to do the hard work for you.
Gold prospecting and mining is hard work. You need to be able to hump your gear and work hard if you want to put any yellow metal in your poke. Lazy individuals and non-hackers should move on down the road. Expect to do the work yourself because no one else is going to do it for you no matter how much you beg, plead, or cajole.
6.) Don’t believe the dream merchants.
There are plenty of individuals out there selling gold prospecting and mining gear, books, maps, and everything else under the sun. The majority of these people are upstanding and honest, and will give you a fair shake. But there is a narrow spectrum of these folks that will sell you anything and everything, whether you need it or not. They try and sell you the “dream.” The dream that you’ll find an “ounce a day,” that their maps will lead you to fabulous riches, that their “gold locator” will find the vein from 30 miles away, or that overly expensive high-banker will pay for itself in a few days. As P.T. Barnum once said, “there’s a sucker born every minute.” Don’t be one of them.
7.) Don’t do things half-cocked.
One of the worst things you can do in small-scale mining, is to do things half-heartedly. That means not being lazy, not being thorough, rushing things, or simply acting like a scatter brain. Take care and pride in what you do. Do it right the first time and you’ll get more gold.
8.) Don’t buy inferior equipment.
No, you don’t need the fancy and expensive stuff as pointed out in Number 1, but you do want to buy the best and the most proven gear YOU CAN AFFORD. If you can’t afford it, then design and build it yourself. One of the best high-bankers we use my son custom built for a quarter of the price to buy one. In addition, it will out-perform anything on the market today for B.C. gold.
9.) Don’t shoot your mouth off about your good finds.
If you are lucky enough to find the “big one” or recover something spectacular, learn to keep your mouth shut. Just recently, an amateur prospector in the U.K. found a 2.75 troy ounce nugget and a quantity of fine gold. It was the largest gold nugget found in the last 500 years in the U.K. Now, his name is all over the TV and internet, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry knows about it. In addition, they know WHERE he found it. But that’s not the real “kicker.” Under U.K. law, gold and silver are classed as Mines Royal, meaning that in most cases they belong to the Crown. The lesson here is if you find something good KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. Only bad things can happen otherwise.
10.) Don’t depend solely on your intellect and knowledge.
Even though that sounds ridiculous because they are two very valuable assets that you should depend on always, sometimes your intuition pays off. Sometimes that little voice within you tells you to dig around a particular boulder or move to another spot. Your intuitions aren’t always right, but sometimes they do and you will be glad that you listened to yourself.
11.) Don’t believe everything you hear.
Lots of good stories abound in the small-scale gold mining community with everyone oozing with advice and tips. Filter what you hear and don’t accept anything at face value. Gold prospectors are great BS’ers, so keep your BS radar up and running.
12.) Don’t be selfish.
Be the good person you are. Be generous with your time and expertise, and help newcomers out where and when you can. We have enough jerks in the world right now and we sure don’t need another one. Let the light within you shine brightly and allow it to illuminate the hearts and minds of others who so desperately seek that help. Who knows, you may the person who made a real difference in their lives, mining or otherwise. That’s the REAL GOLD.