What Happens After the Mining?

11/22/2013

Dave-turin0-1It’s a question we often hear from viewers who wonder what happens to the spots where the crews chose to mine.  It’s called reclamation and it’s a subject the Gold Rush miners feel passionately about – especially Dave Turin.

We spoke to Dave about it and learned how the team dealt with the harsh jungle environment both during the hunt for gold and then when they left. 

The first thing we talked about was just how different the jungle was from their mining up north. He was able to sum it up in one word:  mud. He said:

“We’re used to dealing with a loose topsoil and rocks. In Guyana everything was mud, mud, mud. It was incredibly hard to navigate and it took a toll on our equipment.”

Despite the difference in the environment and the day to day drama it created, Dave pointed out that just like their work up North, they go in with a plan on how they were going to get out. Yes, they do have to cut a path to a site to dig and then they dig a hole in order to process the dirt – but all of that is founded on a plan on how they will restore the site when they leave.

Dave described the process of reclamation:

“When we go in with the earth movers we try to make as small a path as possible. We take up the topsoil first and set it to the side out of the way. Once a path is cut we set up the washplant and our trucks can begin moving the dirt from the hole to the washplant. Sometimes it’s close by, sometimes it can be far away, but all the dirt and rock that goes through the plant is also saved and put to the side.”

Dave explained moving the topsoil to the side is a job that requires precision because the goal is putting it back with the plant rich topsoil on top to encourage the plant-life to grow back. The extra mud, dirt and rocks from the dig site that has gone through the washplant is trucked back to the dig site and the holes are filled in.

In Guyana, the crew stayed an extra two weeks meticulously filling in the holes with the material that had been run through the washplant and replacing topsoil just like they would up North.

Guyana had a dramatic effect on the Hoffman Crew and their belief in leaving the land in a condition to grow back. During their travels around the country prospecting and looking at claims they were stunned to see stripped land, pocked with holes in many places.

Dave said:

“It looked like the surface of the moon. Because there are no laws on reclamation, little mining regulation, and the local miners are working at the most basic levels and may have been unfamiliar with reclamation the land had withered and the holes were filled with water.”

Dave explained not only is the stripped land bad for the environment, but the holes filled with water could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes that could carry disease.

The crew was so moved by what they saw they offered their services to the government – to come back and teach others how to mine with environmentally sensitive reclamation processes.  While that offer has yet to be accepted Dave was enthusiastic about the idea:

“I’d love to go back. I’d definitely do it. There is so much we could do down there.”

Gold-rush-guyana-guys-at-mine-622x468

Caption: This picture shows the team surveying a claim site they thought was viable. Instead it was already mined and left stripped. The land was largely barren.

Work It, Break It, Fix It and Get Back to Work

Gold-rush-4-fred-300Fred Hurt was kind enough to stop by the blog to give us an update on what the mining season has in store for the viewers and take us behind the scenes by telling us what it’s like running a gold mining operation.

Let’s get started with that headline “Work it, Break It, Fix It and Get Back to Work.” This credo came up when I asked Fred if gold mining was more instinct or preparation. Let’s just say the answer was an emphatic “preparation” – and that goes for both Porcupine Creek and Cahoon.

“Sometimes you need to get everybody on the same page. You’ve got to get a system in place and once you do you can operate like a well-oiled machine. If you’re in charge you aren’t running a popularity contest – you know, sometimes Dustin and I would butt heads but at the end of the day you’ve got to put people where they are going to do best” says Fred.

Aside from saying what’s on your mind and knowing where people will fit, I thought fans might want to know about Fred’s “well-oiled machine” and what that meant.

Fred explains “You have various elements such as an excavator, sometimes two, doing the digging. A loader takes that material to the wash plant and yet another loader removes the tailings. You get your plan together and who is doing what and then it’s all about ‘Work it, break it, fix it, and get back to work. While we process the material we are concurrently working on the required reclamation. We wash the rocks and then return them back in the hole, just less any gold. We’ve got to go from start to finish, sometimes there are curveballs but ultimately #TeamDakota gets the job done”

Now that Fred has explained a little bit more about how #TeamDakota works together we got down to the business of talking about the Glory Hole which is referred to as “The Pit” by the Porcupine crew. So we talked about the famous hole in the ground and whether it was starting to get too dangerous to mine.  Fred had a roundabout way of talking about it:

“This season “The Pit” started off at its deepest level to date and had spent the winter exposed to the elements with the majority under water. There is a massive wall on one side which also acts as the levee between where we dig and Porcupine Creek. After pumping the water from “The Pit” we stabilized the jutting rocks as best as we could then built a platform for the drill at the lowest point. I took responsibility for that wall. I stood within five feet of it the whole time we drilled.”

Gold Rush-TeamDakota-250He never comes right out and says it’s dangerous, but I think we can read between the lines. Let’s face it, mining itself, much less standing in a pit, is pretty dangerous work.

With the business of mining out of the way I told Fred something I see all the time on the site and something he hears a lot. Many people often say, “I wish Fred were my Grandpa” “Or I feel like I know you.” On some level that makes sense to Fred:

“You see, we are filming a reality show so people get to see us as real people. At Porcupine Creek, it is the real deal. We are mining, breaking, fixing and persevering. But I tell folks who say they feel like they know me one thing. ‘They call me Dakota Fred, but I’m just Freddie.’”

And with that, like during much his time talking to me here at the Blog, he let out a hearty laugh.

Web Exclusive Videos With the Miners

11/08/2013

We love bringing you exclusive info and insight into the miners' lives. This fall we were lucky to be able to ask them a few questions about what it takes to be a miner and how they do it. We've compiled the best videos into one easy playlist for you. Tell us what you think!

 

What Did Parker Say to Silence Todd?

11/01/2013

In this amazing clip from Gold Rush: Face Off starting tonight at 7/6c Todd and Parker prove they are coming at this season from two different places, in fact they had so much to say they couldn't stop talking over each other, each trying to make their point.

Like the rest of us, you'll be shocked at what Parker says that stuns Todd into silence. You've got to see this play out - and stay tuned for an all new episode of Gold Rush as well!

 

Gold Rush: Here's Some Video Candy Superfans!

10/30/2013

We were lucky to find a deleted scene from last week's premiere. It proves a universal truth: driving heavy equipment in the jungle (which according to Christo is the largest equipment ever brought into Guyana) just isn't easy. Enjoy this video:

 

While we are on the subject of Superfans, if you think you are the biggest Superfan it's time to let us know. We are taking video submissions with either your questions for the miners or your ultimate tribute> Do you have a Tony Beets Halloween costume or is your kid dressing up as Todd. Well we want to see it. Head over to the SuperFan Video Submission page and read the tips and age restrictions and show us what you're made of!  We can't wait to see it.

 

A Clue About Todd and Parker's Feud

Wondering where the root of the Gold Rush Face Off between Todd and Parker came from? How could these two guys dislike each other - they are half a world apart. We'll not so via social media - the Web brings everyone together. Good or bad. Here's what went down last week via Twitter during the show. It gave us a big clue something was lurking under the surface between these two:

@goldrushtodd still has me blocked. Cant handle the heat #GoldRush

— Parker Schnabel (@goldrush_parker) October 26, 2013

I'm trying to keep my tweets positive this year so I blocked Parker.

— Todd Hoffman (@goldrushtodd) October 26, 2013
Oh snap! Well, you'll have to tune in this Friday as Gold Rush: Face Off kicks off at 7/8c followed by a premiere of Gold Rush. You'll have to keep glued to the screen as word on the street is that we might be serving up a little extra Gold Rush so keep track of those refrigerator and bathroom breaks so you don't miss a minute of the throw down between Todd and Parker.

Gold Rush Is Back and Controversy Leads to a Face-Off

10/29/2013

This Friday night we will be attempting our first ever Gold Rush Face-Off. Following last week's two hour premiere, I will be addressing the hottest viewer questions out there with Todd Hoffman and Parker Schnabel. The kicker is that I will be doing it from my office at Discovery Channel.

There were tons of folks out there criticizing Todd for being unprepared for the jungle and others that think Parker has arrived in the Klondike with a silver spoon. We have busted down the walls of my office to shoot material to be wrapped into this Friday Night.

I will get your burning Gold Rush questions answered and I will get to the bottom of the brewing Todd & Parker war. 

~Christo

Editor's Note: This is serious business Gold Rush fans. Christo very rarely closes his office doors anyway, so the fact that he's actually having his doors and windows removed for the Gold Rush Face-Off is just another sign he's gearing up for what may be soon be the event we won't be able to stop talking about. We'll keep you posted right here from Discovery headquarters as the story builds!

Gold Rush airs this Friday starting with a special Gold Rush: Pay Dirt at 7/6c, and a premiere of Gold Rush at 9/8c. I hope you all won't miss it so we can talk about it next week.

Here's a look at the Christo's digs with no doors, snapped as I was rolling past his office at high speed to bring you the story. Cheers! Eileen M.

Christo_nodoors

 

Finally, The Bottom of The Bag!

08/30/2013

At last. We are ready to reveal the last three videos where Freddy gets to the bottom of his black bag. So far we know Freddy is the guy you want to go camping with and have around in an emergency. He's the MacGyver of the Hoffman Crew.

Thanks for letting us look behind the scenes of what it takes to survive in the jungle Freddy! We look forward to hearing from you again soon. So no more waiting; here is the rest of what's in the bag:

 

  

You've got to stay tuned to this space because Gold Rush Season Four is right around the corner...

What's In Freddy Dodge's Mysterious Backpack?

08/28/2013

For most of the Hoffman Crew's travels in South America we've see Freddy Dodge carrying a black backpack through every situation. He has it riding horseback up the Peruvian mountains. He's got it on the beach in Chile. Every POSSIBLE muddy situation in Guyana? Check. Freddy has that backpack.

Watching him with the backpack we realized that it was seemingly bottomless and he could pull anything from a GPS to a mini-sluice box out of there. Is it just us or do you wonder what else is in that thing? We had to ask Freddy just what was in there.

True to his good nature, not only did he tell us what was in there he decided to show us in a series of short videos taken with his iPhone. You have to watch - it's like watching a magician - he just keeps pulling this out of it and explaining to us what they are for.

We've got the first three videos for you here now and we'll be posting the final three after The Dirt airs on Friday at 8/7c. Yes. That's right - though the videos are short, it take six whole videos to cover all of Freddy's gear.

Thanks for sharing with us Freddy!

  

 

Don't forget to come back after The Dirt on Friday at 8/7c - there's still more coming out of that backback!

The "Real" in Reality TV

08/16/2013

Gold-rush-peru-driving-to-mine-250x150Even for those of us who work on Gold Rush and know a lot about the behind-the-scenes action, it’s always an eye-opener when we hear from one of our producers out in the field. We just got a note from Tom who rides herd over things, and he was describing some of the moments they had in Peru after they landed. His tales about settling in to Todd’s quest for gold are so good we have to share.

“In the hotel we met with the team medic Mike. We knew we were going to be at high altitudes but didn’t exactly know what to expect. Mike tells us there are symptoms and dangers of working in high altitudes and the thinner air. One thing is the headaches, but we find out if we start having nausea or vomiting we could be in serious trouble. Even though we knew Peru would be different, some of us start to wonder how we will get along, much less prospect for gold in these conditions.”

We all remember the Peru episode where Todd and some of the other crew members are talking about having headaches. All we can say after hearing the pep talk that Mike gave, is we’re glad they didn’t have anything more serious to contend with related to altitude sickness.

That they didn’t is surprising given that the contact Todd has – Alex – tells the team they are going to La Rinconada. Here’s Tom’s take on that:

“We find out from Alex we are going to La Rinconada – the highest city in the world. So we are thinking about the altitude issues, but we actually hear from the director, Tim, that one of the biggest dangers could actually be getting from place to place. The roads are dangerous with buses and minivans flying round bends; the locals don’t follow any rules of the road. The roads are narrow with drop-offs that are going to be scary during the day but completely off limits at night since it’s too dangerous.  So now we had to plan how to get Todd and the team back and forth to prospecting sites without hitting nightfall.”

It turns out to be the road that determines the Hoffman Crew’s fate in La Rinconada, Peru. Though they work with the locals to get prospecting rights, as the team heads down the mountain on that crazy road they come across two busses that have had a head on collision. That would be bad enough in case people were injured, but as we know from the show it actually is the tension building on the side of the road that convinces the Hoffman crew and the production company to get out of there.

It’s that experience that makes Todd decide he wouldn’t want to risk his life and those of his Crew running up and down that mountain road for all the gold in… well, you know.

We love hearing from Tom and the production crew out in the field. We’re reminded how raw and real  the moments are that they capture for Gold Rush fans. We’re hoping we hear more from Tom and the others in the field so we can get some of these inside stories they couldn’t capture on film. Come on back Tom!!

See photos from Peru.

See video from the trip.

About The Blog
The Gold Rush Blog is the place to find the latest news and behind-the-scenes action from the cast, crew, and producers of Gold Rush. It's also about you; we'll feature fan tweets, posts and questions!
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