They say that prospecting gets in your blood, your thoughts and your dreams. Some claim that it is a profession that sets off a certain something that stimulates the Nero - receptors in the brains of otherwise normal individuals, making them fascinated and near obsessed with the idea of exploration and discovery.
While I can accept a little of that point of view and I have witnessed firsthand the antics of people with the “fever”, I feel that the naysayers are certainly not totally right. However, they may also not be totally wrong. There have been cases were a person falls in love with a certain property or a certain location, to the point were “bad ground” gets “loved to death”, usually at considerable expense of time and money and with much frustration.
The old saying “Gold is Where You Find It” can be very true, however carried to excess, some folks think they can find it anywhere and take longer to realize that where they are looking isn’t necessarily where the gold got emplaced and thus they have not found it. Gold of course is everywhere in minute amounts however the occurrence of gold in economic quantities is another matter. Discovering gold deposits of a quantity suitable for mining is not something that happens regularly, in fact many gold or other mineral discoveries never become mines. Often it takes years before even “high grade” discoveries become mines.
The would-be prospector has to realize a simple fact, if minerals were available everywhere in commercial minable quantities they would be worth far less and there would be little stimulus to go find the next new mine. Once we accept the reality that we need to look at many rocks before we find a big discovery, we can focus and narrow down our search to areas where the odds are better.
Don’t get me wrong, successful prospectors experience success because the love their work and most will tell you that they learnt the hard way not to love a property to death, especially a property with slim chance for discovery. The trick is education, an education often obtained from the school of hard knocks, an education that empowers them to know when to move on to another target without selling the shop to explore the first one.
Over the course of time, more than 20 years, I have prospected both as a hobby and as a professional, often counting on it for my livelihood and today as my career. More than once I made the mistake of over exploring a property and in the early years I spent more than my year’s wages on a property that was nicely located but sadly of little economic value. You could say that I got knocked in the head and the pocketbook at the school of hard knocks.
Perhaps by now you are asking; so where is the good and exciting part in all this? That is a question that each prospector will have to answer in his or her own way. I can only speak for myself and my experiences. I have been prospecting full-time or near full-time for the last 10years and part-time for many years prior to that, part-time to me was spending more than half my time in the field each year while working at another job or my other business. Some of my friends still call me one of those guys with highly stimulated nerve endings, but none of them continue to doubt the value of what I do.
I remember having only a Vision, a Backpack and a few Tools and relying on my hard work and willpower to first prove that I had what was needed to become a prospector and then prove that I could succeed in being one. Today the lessons I learnt in the hard knock school and the experience I gained, combined with some luck have created my career and have allowed me to live a life that I enjoy. There are still hard – times and there will always be new hurdles to jump, however those hard – times are fewer and the hurdles do not seem as high.
Recently I have witnessed the rapid advancement of a mineral exploration company that I helped to create and helped to provide with mineral properties. This was a major milestone for me and it meant the accomplishment of a vision I long held. I have also expanded my business to provide numerous companies with prospecting services and mineral properties of value at a professional level.
Over the years I have also staked, sold and optioned a “profitable” amount of mineral claims in many areas of Canada and I have made worthwhile discoveries due in part to remembering the lessons I learned early on.
Today I was in the field staking another mineral claim in Manitoba and enjoying teaching my girl how to use and axe to blaze a trail. So you see, once I got over the “fever” I learned that I needed to do research on the discovery history of an area, the geology, the geography, the infrastructure available and other features before I sold the shop to explore it in a serious manner.