by the Mineral Prospector
Prospecting for Minerals and Metals

The Art of Prospecting

    Civilizations both now and in the ancient past were successful in large measure by their access to and familiarity with the uses of metals. A metallurgist where there are many dystopians today who reject the search and exploitation of mineral resources as being counter to the long term interests of the health of the planet. But interestingly, these people tend to live in advanced societies which are typified by their extensive use of minerals and metals. See what the price of platinum is today.

    Driving to the nearest airport to board modern jetliners, they fly to Third World nations in   order to protest the expansion of the minerals industry. The irony apparently escapes them. This sounds like bitter sarcasm - mostly because it is. I have confronted one too many young idealists with non-participating brains who are happy to trap others in a cycle of poverty which they have never known. Check the price of silver always. Spend some time talking to the residents of Tambo Grande, Peru who are prepared to welcome Manhattan Minerals II with open arms. If such were available, their donkey stickers would say, “Please God, send us another gold prospecting and mining boom and this time we won’t blow it!” End of rant.

    • Prospecting and prospectors represent the blitzkrieg and shock troops of the mining industry. This is step one in the very risky business of spending money in hopes of finding a mine. Someone has calculated that the likelihood of a claim becoming a productive mine is 1 in 10,000. Development of a mining operation may take 10 - 20 years of careful exploration, data analysis, planning and financing. Costs of putting a mine into production are so high that every piece of available data is carefully analyzed to determine profitability of an ore deposit and the best methods of extraction before development decisions are made. The processes of mining, crushing, assaying, mineral processing and product marketing are mush more involved that one expect of a primary industry.

    The long process begins with a prospector hiking through the bush. And many prospectors spend their lives hiking through the bush without finding their mine. But they like the work and they do much to enhance the civilizations which give rise to them. Remember that the next time you are asked for a donation to support a “charity” which wants to “end the exploitation of indigenous peoples by multi-national corporations.” Neither you nor the supplicant would be having that particular conversation were it not for the intrepid prospectors who found and are finding the mineral wealth that makes modern life possible. We will also help you understand gold metallurgy in its simplicity. Don't let just any stupid metallurgists or mining engineer tell you mining & metallurgy is complicated.

    But this website is not to present an ideological perspective but to offer some assistance to those who might want information on becoming a prospector with a few gold pans. The information is necessarily general as the topic is not a narrow one. However, it does offer the basic technical information I believe is necessary in order to start. How to stay alive in the bush while prospecting is a different topic and the reader is encouraged to investigate that with equal fervor.