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Old 03-07-2012, 08:36 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Mining DOCUMENTARY series: "Gold Rush Alaska" on Discovery Channel

I stumbled upon this documentary series on mining in Alaska airing it's second season on Discovery Channel right now.
It's called "Gold Rush Alaska" and covers the adventures of six guys from Oregon who go to Alaska to become rich by mining gold. In Alaska, mining means digging holes in the ground and washing dirt.
These guys did some really stupid things in the beginning and lost over 50000 dollars during their first season. They made mistakes which even I as a total amateur wouldn't have made.
In the second season, they made a small profit of 2 oz of gold per miner on another claim. The second season also covers two other mining operations, both run by family businesses. One is run by a really smart (but overly enthusiastic) 17 year old who tries to help his very likeable 91 year old grandpa making the family mine profitable again. The other is run by a crippled (has one short leg from birth) 70 year old mining veteran who overcomes several obstacles and makes a nice profit in the end.
Overall, not a massive intellectual stimulus and pretty bad jokes, but still an interesting watch for pm bugs like us.
Official website:
http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/gold-rush-alaska/

Video of the first episode:

Video of last episode which aired so far:
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:04 AM   #2
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I've been watching this from the start, mostly because I like the diggers and shakers, but also because I wanted to see how much work goes in to pulling a few measly ounces of gold from the earth.

I currently own enough equipment [well.....my firm does] to out mine all three outfits. What i saw them do on the second season is what should have happened the first. They ran some borings to see what they had at various intervals. We do the very same thing in my industry to determine the shape, volume and rate of movement of a contamination plume across a given area over time. i will do up to twenty sets of bores over a year or so, determining where to place injection ports and where to place extraction wells. The same principles could be used on a gold claim. A grid of a hundred fifty borings could be done over ten or fifteen acres to determine exactly what is in the soils and at what depth.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:45 PM   #3
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I was stationed in Anchorage for 3 years with the Army, and I'll be going back up this summer for a short vacation. While we are there, we decided to spend one of our afternoons panning for gold. There's a lot of places where you can either mine for free or pay for the better spots. Obviously we don't expect any luck, we just want to say we tried to dig up some gold in Alaska.

Along the same lines though, there are still a large number of active claims, and I hear trespassing on them is still to this day a great way to get shot.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dali lambone View Post:
While we are there, we decided to spend one of our afternoons panning for gold. There's a lot of places where you can either mine for free or pay for the better spots. Obviously we don't expect any luck, we just want to say we tried to dig up some gold in Alaska.
these things look cool -

http://www.goldmagic.com/
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:03 AM   #5
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I watched both seasons of that show. The second season just finished up, glad to see 2 out of 3 mineing crews turned a profit. IMO the best person on the show is John Schnabel, the 92 year old man from the Big Nugget Mine. That guy is awesome, to be out and doing what he is doing at his age. Those of who who haven't seen it, this old guy is a beast; he is still walking up and down huge hills on his claim, helping out with some of the more extensive projects, and just hanging arount giving advice to his grandson. He seems really laid back about everything and has a great outlook on every situation that happens. Anyone would be lucky to live that life at his age and not sitting around stuck in some nursing home, playing bingo, all bitter and mad at the world.

If you get a chance, take a look at the new show Discover has, Bering Sea Gold. It's a different type of mining I never imagined, but looks fun as hell. In its simplest it involves a boat, a vaccuum type device, a sloose box, and a scuba dive suit. They follow a couple different groups of miners, some who do pretty well for themselves. I've seen more gold, and sooner, on the Bering Sea show then I have watching the Hoffmans and those crews for two seasons. I think its the bug that keeps me watching both of the shows... just thinking one day I might have to get me a pontoon boat and some equipment and a new hobby.
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by white&yellow999 View Post:
I watched both seasons of that show. The second season just finished up, glad to see 2 out of 3 mineing crews turned a profit. IMO the best person on the show is John Schnabel, the 92 year old man from the Big Nugget Mine. That guy is awesome, to be out and doing what he is doing at his age. Those of who who haven't seen it, this old guy is a beast; he is still walking up and down huge hills on his claim, helping out with some of the more extensive projects, and just hanging arount giving advice to his grandson. He seems really laid back about everything and has a great outlook on every situation that happens. Anyone would be lucky to live that life at his age and not sitting around stuck in some nursing home, playing bingo, all bitter and mad at the world.

If you get a chance, take a look at the new show Discover has, Bering Sea Gold. It's a different type of mining I never imagined, but looks fun as hell. In its simplest it involves a boat, a vaccuum type device, a sloose box, and a scuba dive suit. They follow a couple different groups of miners, some who do pretty well for themselves. I've seen more gold, and sooner, on the Bering Sea show then I have watching the Hoffmans and those crews for two seasons. I think its the bug that keeps me watching both of the shows... just thinking one day I might have to get me a pontoon boat and some equipment and a new hobby.
The old Mr Schnabel is the grandpa which everybody wants to have, such a wonderful person.

Here's the first episode of Bering Sea Gold
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:37 AM   #7
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Just watched the last episode of the first season of Bearing Sea Gold.
There are some very strange characters in that documentary. I have no desire to meet such persons in the real life.
Seems like underwater dredging is heavily relying on weather conditions. I wonder if it would be possible to create dredges which are capable of withstanding bigger waves, so the amount of material moved in a season would be more predictable?
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:34 PM   #8
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The underwater dredging method is how big named miners in South Africa get a lot of diamonds too. Since they don't have to deal with seasonal ice, their biggest challenge is keeping the pumps running.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:59 AM   #9
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The third season of Gold Rush Alaska has started airing up to episode 3.
They got a bigger claim but failed to get their new wash plant on time. Instead of waiting for the delivery of the new plant, they already dismantled the old one. They couldn't process dirt for 2 weeks due to that.
They also did some explorational drilling on a property which they hadn't leased because they weren't capable of using a GPS properly. They then had explore the claim that they had actually leased which turned out to be a total desaster. So they had to go to the owner of the claim and beg him to get his permission to mine the good claims which they hadn't leased before.
After 3 seasons, these guys are still amateurs.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by swissaustrian View Post:
After 3 seasons, these guys are still amateurs.
It takes the pros YEARS to get a mining operation up and running. Them having obstacles isn't a sign of idiocy, it's a sign of how difficult mining really is. Exploration is incredibly risky and difficult.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:18 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DSAbug View Post:
It takes the pros YEARS to get a mining operation up and running. Them having obstacles isn't a sign of idiocy, it's a sign of how difficult mining really is. Exploration is incredibly risky and difficult.
Imho, not beeing able to use a GPS properly IS a sign of idiocy and so is demolishing vital machinery before having replacement. The process of exploration wasn't the big deal in their case. They knew that there was gold in the ground before, the only question was how deep it was burried below worthless dirt.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:57 AM   #12
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Be aware that 'reality' TV programmes always need 'an angle' to make things interesting.
The full story behind seemingly amateur errors may well be missing as the programme director wants it all to seem like an epic struggle with failure always lurking close by.

I have been a bit involved with 'Grand Designs' building sites that were eventually screened and it convinced me to avoid such situations in future as they picked on an aspect of failure / compromise / trauma and majored on it, leaving the real story untold,
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:49 AM   #13
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I've been watching Gold Rush and Bering Sea Gold from the start... both interesting shows. I can't help myself, I need to watch mining and gold come out of the ground!

A *very* good show if you guys can get it is Gold Fever on the Outdoor Channel. It's hosted by Tom Massie of GPAA... he travels all over the country (and world in a handful of shows) and pulls gold out of everywhere.

"Gold is where you find it!"

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Old 11-13-2012, 07:30 PM   #14
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Hey, have you guys seen "Jungle Gold" on discovery channel. These guys are in Ghana mining. Its litterally like the wild west out there. They have to litterally fight for there mine some times.

Here's a trailer:



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Old 01-23-2013, 12:49 AM   #15
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I have spent every season of Gold Rush (love that show) yelling at my tv like an old man: "Why don't they have a geologist out there and why aren't they drilling, why the hell would you just dig holes all over the place without knowing what's under it?

It was this season that Tony Beets came onto the scene and told that Parker kid everything I have been yelling at my tv for three years, I was finally justified. I knew Todd was going to be a crappy miner from the first episode of the first season where he looked at the camera and said "This isn't a textbook out here" and generally implied that the ability to run an excavator is the sole requisite of mining success. I was already thinking, "Where is the geologist and the drill?", and right then I knew it wasn't going to go very well.

I would like to run an operation like the one he's got going now, but probably on some of that high grade stuff in Nevada (if we could get water). If it were me, I would be securing claims and geological consultation in the spring, drilling in the summer, stripping in the fall, getting my machinery together in the winter, then start mining the following spring. If there's a good grade of gold in the ground and I am capitalized, I could be mining in one year.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:32 AM   #16
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Yeah White&Yellow that JungleGold looks crazy.

Africa is no joke.

I grew up in Johannesburg South Africa, my mom had a gun obviously, our house had electrified fencing, 2 big dogs, alarms with 3 minute armed response, you had to pass armed security guards to get into the neighborhood and then an armed security guard to get into my section which was basically 2/3 streets and even with all that it was still a dangerous neighborhood!

I now live in England & I remember when I first got worried about SHTF I looked at the murder rates here for the last 700 years and even in the middle ages during some of the worst disasters, famines, the plague etc. crime never got as bad in England as it is in parts of South Africa now. So even if SHTF I'll probably stay here. (Mental note: Invest in home security companies when SHTF here.)

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Old 01-24-2013, 12:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Unbeatable View Post:
my mom had a gun obviously,
kinda scary comment Unbeatable ....... the casual use of the word 'obviously'

my boy stayed with friends in Joberg a few years ago and came back with some worrying stories. You really had to be chaperoned by someone who knew the 'rules'

99% of the blacks were cool, 1% had no concern about killing you for a few $
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:36 PM   #18
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Yeah a lot of it as the result of poverty. But most black South Africans have extended families so even in poverty, between subsistence farming and one family member having a job in town they just about survive.

South Africa has always had a high crime rate but a lot of the increase in crime is pretty much the result of a currency collapse in Zimbabwe.
With no food or work there they illegally cross the border into South Africa and without any support network, family etc. they often resort to crime.

I guess it paints a bleak picture of what the western world could look like soon.

Quote :
In Johannesburg these days you find doctors, lawyers and head masters from Harare ready to work as cleaners.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6642619.stm

(Article is from 2007)
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