With gold prices in the tank it makes it hard for a lot of the smaller operations to turn a profit. A lot of juniors are on the verge of going under and many others are merging with others to stay afloat. The markets in general are not on the side of the junior at all these days. No one is really interested in putting out any money for any kind of placement or share issues. I expect to see a lot fewer junior mining companies in a year from now. However in the placer side of gold mining, things haven't slowed down very much at all. This summer saw good volumes of crews working creeks throughout BC and the Yukon. With gold prices in the mid $1,400 Cdn range for most the summer it was possible for a lot of miners to stay working and make few dollars.
With all the gold shows on TV lately there has been a strong interest with a lot of people to get out and go mining. For various reasons I get emails asking me about how to stake ground and all that sort of stuff. I try point the prospective prospector in the direction of whatever government department for that area is. Some write back surprised that it can be quie an ordeal depending on what area they plan on mining or prospecting in.
The one thing that I try to also point out is that it seems that each year it gets harder to mine or at least it becomes more costly. Aside form high fuel and other in put costs, there sure seems to be a rise in cost in fees permitts. Also uncertainty with land issues and other special interest groups makes for difficulty in properly drawing up a mining plan of any kind. On one hand people are still allowed to stake ground but then comes all the review issues. Some of these reviews can take not only weeks but months. This is time that could be spent exploring instead of sitting. With all this mind it is wise to start your permitting process as early as possible. For anyone interested in buying or staking property for the first time, you need to be proactive and get the forms in the system as soon as possible. Some jurisdictions are more complex than others so it best to read up before hand to see what you will need to proceed.
This is one of the reasons why I promote the classified section of this website. A lot if not all of the mines and claims that are listed for sale are being sold by claim owners and or the miners themselves. These people who are selling these mining operations can help you get through the legal issues and government mumbo jumbo. They've been there and done that. with a guiding hand you can be out digging for gold instead of digging through paper work. Another big factor is most of these mining operations already have permitts in place. In other words all the nitty gritty paper stuff is most likely done.