I think that there should be a "newbie" section on this forum so everyone that wants to get into gold can go there instead of asking the same questions over and over again. I have found some of the answers that I needed in the other parts of this forum, but not all of them
To get started, it has been a dream of mine to start a placer mining operation and one day move to a lode mining operation. I just have a few problems and one of them being I am a newbie. I do have experience operating machinery and equipment because I grew up in a ship yard in the Gulf Coast. (The same ship yard that built the Cornelia Marie) However, that doesn't mean that I will be successful at mining for gold.
I figured that I could get started by having a small placer operation to get a feel for what I am doing and if I make well enough money at that, then I would expand the operation to a larger scale placer mine. The first question that everyone asks is can people make money at starting a placer mine. I see this question all over the internet and I instantly seeing the old timers coming out and telling the newbies that it can't be done or it isn't as easy as you think. That may be true, but the other truth is that someone out there is making a living pulling gold out of the earth on a small and big scale.
The next question is where to get started. I would like to get a claim in Alaska to start out because there is more virgin ground there; however, the seasons are short compared to the lower 48. So I think it would be wise to start in the south. Second, California has strict laws and they don't allow dredging, at least for now. Maybe Arizona? So where would the best place be to get a claim that has long seasons or seasons that go year round? My choice would be somewhere in Plumas county, but like I said, the laws are restrictive. So if I did go to Cali, I would be restricted to trammels and highbankers.
Next, what is the best type of operation to start with? Dredging, highbanking, or trammel? At first, I would start off doing the work by hand for the latter two, but then get equipment to move more dirt. But I have read that there is nothing better than dredging for getting the gold out of the river and not disturbing as much dirt like you would if you used equipment to dig the river out.
I do have money to put into this operation, but I will obviously be trying to save it wherever I can. I would like for this to not be a hobby but a way of living, a lifestyle. I am not hurting for money or a job, but I went to a gold camp in Alabama a few years back and have had the fever ever since. Opinions anyone? I really am serious about this.