By Dave McCracken

It is important to define for yourself how much gold you need to recover to make the effort worthwhile.

Dave McCracken


It is a very good idea for you to define for yourself what amount of gold is minimally acceptable for you to recover on a daily basis. It might be a half-ounce per day. It might be more. Or it might be less, depending upon the size of the dredging or other mining equipment you are using, your operating expenses, and how much gold you need to recover to make the effort worthwhile. The main point here is that you should set some minimum standard. If you are recovering that much gold on a daily basis, you will stick with it. If your daily averages start dropping below that point, you will start sampling around for better ground.

There are several good reasons for doing this. One is that if you do not know about how much gold is acceptable to you, and what is not acceptable, you can waste a lot of time “going on hoping” (for some undefined target) while you continue to dredge in low-grade material, rather than sample around for something better like you should. Another good reason is that you need to determine how far to each side and how far to the rear to dredge into the lower-grade material along the boundaries of a pay-streak. I covered this subject more thoroughly in another article.

Perhaps the best reason that you need to define a minimum acceptable level of daily gold for yourself, is so you can take in the better, and much better, and tremendously-better pay-dirt as a bonus when you find it. This could be on a regular basis if you become good at sampling. If you do not take on the good finds as a bonus, you can find yourself comparing the good finds with the acceptable finds; and pretty soon the acceptable finds may not be acceptable any more! This is especially true when you are dredging up a high-grade pay-streak.

I know of a guy that was new to gold dredging, who was into a very large pay-streak which was paying him a little more than half-ounce per day for every day that he went out and dredged. He was happy with this. That was well more than an average day’s wages in the profit he was making over top of expenses, and gold prices have been going up to make that even better. Everything was going along just fine until one day when he uncovered a bedrock up-cropping and pulled six ounces of beautiful gold out of a single pocket in the bedrock just in that one day. The following day, he was back into the half-ounce amounts again. Only that was no-longer good enough. He quit shortly thereafter. He left the area, never came back, and I have not heard of him since.

What happened? He got spoiled from the incredible feelings generated from uncovering really valuable golden treasure. This causes something which is often referred to as “gold or treasure fever.” Once the extreme high-grade was finished, he could not go back to recovering just half-ounce of gold per day, anymore. It is kind of like losing the person you love. Nobody else will do.

If you stick with gold prospecting long enough to get good at sampling, there will always be greater highs. But if the greater highs are the only thing that is now acceptable pay-dirt, you will find yourself frustrated a lot of the time.

If you define for yourself what is acceptable as pay-dirt, as you continue to get better at sampling, you will find that there is a surplus of acceptable ground available to you. Therefore, you will be able to upgrade your minimum acceptable levels a degree or two as time goes along.

If you are willing to mine every bit of acceptable ground that you can get into, and are willing to accept the bonuses as they are uncovered, and just treat them as a bonus, you will be making more gold more of the time – and you will find more bonuses, too