‘Gold Rush’: Fred’s Entire Enterprise Is Threatened by Surprise Inspection

by Amy Myers

A surprise inspection on a Gold Rush mine site can make or break the season’s success. If the crew followed safety and environmental protocols, they should have no issue digging deep to find that next supply of metal. However, if they’ve neglected to build the appropriate structures, they could be in a world of financial and legal trouble. So when the flashing lights came riding up Fred Lewis’ roads, he and his small crew knew they were in for a scolding.

Lewis may not have much experience on mining sites, but he has spent plenty of years in a leadership position as a retired Green Beret medic. That’s where he met crew member Stuart Mckenzie, a former infantry scout sniper. Along with retired Green Beret mechanic John “JB” Mayer and Lewis’ stepson Christopher, the small yet mighty team was ready for long hours and huge rewards. Last season, the Gold Rush mine boss struggled to break even from his mining exploits. Now, he’s only uncovered two ounces of gold.

But before the team could dig any deeper into the earth at California Creek, they found themselves at the mercy of a surprise inspection. And from the looks of it, the responding officials weren’t too happy with what they saw.

Following Lewis’ conversation with the inspectors, he revealed that the team had to halt their current efforts and instead focus on putting gravel down on the roads and creating berms along the sides. On top of this, they also had to remove the top soil from around the creek and stop the permafrost from leaking into it. They had a week to complete all of the precautionary tasks before the inspectors returned.

‘Gold Rush’ Team Nervously Awaits Results of Inspection

All too quickly, the week passed and time to clean up the California Creek mine site was over. Sure enough, the inspectors returned to the Gold Rush team’s operation for another look at their work. Hoping to answer any questions the official had, Lewis offered to accompany him on his walk around the property. An hour later, he had his answer.

“That was a military white-glove inspection,” Lewis said after the walk-through. “That was probably one of the most stressful things I’ve gone through. It really felt like Basic Training and the drill sergeant was checking my sock drawer.”

Despite a few flaws, the Gold Rush mine boss happily reported that the team had passed the inspection. Once they fixed their errors, they could continue digging for pay dirt and, hopefully, finding more gold.

“We’re through this hurdle, but you never know when he could come back. So, we gotta keep it going,” Lewis said as the team headed back to their machines.