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Setting Up A Small Scale Gold Exploration & Mining Project


Active member
This is a series concerning the process of beginning and running a small gold exploration & mining project. It is based on my 10 years of experience. It is not intended to be an end all / know all on this subject but rather what I have learned over the years. It will cover permitting, funding, equipment, set up, exploration, mining, and more. Hopefully it will be of some help to those who have a dream to mine gold.
I suppose most gold mining projects start with a dream. Then action is taken on that dream. If you are at this stage there are a whole bunch of things to consider.
(1) The Mining Claim : History of mining there. Is there any record of past production? Is there nay old equipment or living quarters still on the claim? Who worked there and when? What kind of deposit is on the claim. Placer, lode, etc. For the purposes of this thread I am limiting the subject to placer gold deposits. If the old timers worked the claim, how did they work it? Is there any sign or record of newer, more modern activity? Is there still virgin ground on the claim? Many things to research if possible. That's where I like to start and it usually won't cost you anything but time.
(2) Testing the claim. How will you prospect the ground. What methods lend themselves to finding gold deposits? What equipment will you initially use?
(3) Permitting : If you determine there is a good chance a small operation may be viable you'll need to understand the Plan of Operation & permitting process in the area. What will be required? Has there been successful permitting in the area in the past? Are there any fatal flaws that could stop you in your tracks before you even begin? Will you need to pay someone to help you?
(4) Funds needed : Determine what kind of money will be needed to get the project started? How will you obtain it? Will you need to form a company or raise funds through investors?
(5) Large scale exploration : This is advisable before courting investors if possible. On a placer project you should do bulk samples on targeted ground from your small scale prospecting. Bring in an excavator and small plant to run 10 yard to 100 yard samples. Make sure you are set up properly and get accurate assays from your work. Record everything you can.
(6) At this stage you will need a detailed plan and 3 - 5 year projections to attract investors. Don't forget that every investor will get a % of profits or gold. Don't give the house away before you get started or you'll just be working for the money people. There are many ways to skin a cat.

I would say this a a good way to start up a project from ground zero. You may have some great ideas of your own. In the next series here I will convey my experiences starting with Step 1.