Recently, with the high price of gold and several “reality” shows about gold mining on television, there seems to be a crop of new prospectors thinking about mining for gold as a new career. Can it be done? Is it possible to quit your day job and dig for gold full time?
I personally know several full-time miners who are able to support themselves with the gold that they find. So I have to say, YES it is possible. On the other side of the coin, I have also known people who have invested considerable sums of money into “sure things”, only to lose it all. Mining is hard work and risky, so lets consider a few of the hurdles that a person must face before they decide that they can make it work as a full time gold miner.
Startup costs are a huge consideration. Where and how do you intend to mine? Large mining companies have millions of dollars to invest in their operations, but it is unlikely that the average gold miner has that amount of money to spend. Do you have ground lined up to mine on? With the high price of gold, most of the richest gold ground is claimed. You will need to do your research to find areas that you can legally prospect for gold, or invest in the purchase of a claim.
What kind of equipment will you be using? Depending on the type of operation you plan on running, you could easily spend several thousand dollars before you ever put a shovel in the ground. Are you mining on federal or private land?
If you intend to “go big” using heavy equipment to move earth, you can easily expect several years dealing with the permit process before you even get the go-ahead to mine.
Another thing that you realistically need to consider is your actual knowledge and understanding of gold. Do you actually have the knowledge to find gold on a consistent basis in payable quantities? I think it would be fair to say that a lot of the people who consider mining for a living have little to no actual mining experience. It just isn’t realistic to think that you can be as successful as someone who has a lifetime of mining knowledge under their belt. I have never met a full-time gold miner who had less than a decade of mining experience; most of them were mining back when gold was only a few hundred dollars an ounce.
In fact, many full time gold miners today are fortunate enough to be mining on claims that were originally claimed by relatives during the original gold rush days. They certainly have the mining experience required, but they also have the huge advantage of already being on rich ground. If you are just learning how to mine for gold, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to find rich ground to work without some serious research and a bit of luck.
Also Read: Historic Gold Mining Areas
And: Metal Detecting for Gold
Sure, there’s nothing tough about going out and finding a bit of gold, but it would be a disservice to say that its easy to go out and make a living at gold mining. It just isn’t as simple as buying a new sluice box
or metal detector
and assuming that you can pay your bills with gold. If gold were easy to find it wouldn’t be worth $1500+ per ounce. When it comes down to it, most successful gold prospectors I know do it as a hobby, and consider the gold they find to be an additional reward to being outside and enjoying the outdoors. If you decide that your going to quit your day job and go gold mining, I sincerely wish you the best of luck!