‘Gold Rush’: Parker Schnabel Takes a Big Risk

by Amy Myers
(Photo by Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

In the gold mining business, it takes a lot of money to make a lot of money, and Gold Rush star Parker Schnabel just spent a lot of money. This season, Schnabel took a huge risk by expanding his operation to new, unknown territory deemed the El Dorado gold mine Alaska.

According to the landowner, there are 20,000 acres of historically rich gold runs, but this still doesn’t guarantee an automatic win. The Gold Rush star still has to determine where to begin digging, and every second that he’s not pulling out gold costs him thousands of dollars. To discuss his new plans, Schnabel arranged a meeting with the El Dorado mine’s current owner and his associate.

From the moment the landowner, John, walked into the room, it was clear he was still upset with Schnabel. According to John, Schnabel was supposed to begin his mining efforts on the property this past summer, and it was now August. Soon, the mining season would be over, and the Gold Rush star didn’t have time to set up a new operation before the weather became too cold to dig.

Previously, Schnabel had intended to start mining on the new property this season, but unfortunately, his operation at his other land claim in the Yukon required too much of his attention to be able to start any new ventures. So, to make up for the delay in schedule, Schnabel made the landowner an offer he couldn’t pass up – 100 ounces of gold.

‘Gold Rush’ Star Manages to Make Amends with Alaskan Landowner

For the landowner, this meant that he wasn’t seeing any money from this season when he could have given the land claim to someone else. Schnabel was aware of John’s frustrations, though, and so he offered him an incentive. The Gold Rush star plopped a velvet bag on the table. Inside was $180,000 worth of gold. If Schnabel could successfully yield this amount or more from John’s land, the money would count towards his future payments and royalties for the claim. If he couldn’t provide enough next season, the gold on the table was John’s to keep.

Thankfully, John and his associate accepted the funds, but he warned Schnabel that he needed to deliver on his promise the following season. The Gold Rush star respected the pressure John placed on him and headed out to the land to see just how much potential awaited him.

As Schnabel soon found out, previous gold diggers had left behind a few open shafts. Depending on what he found from the tailings, these areas could still be full of gold. Or, the miners could have cleaned out the area entirely. In order to truly find out, Schnabel needed the help of a drilling company to gain access deep into the earth.

Translation – he needed to spend more money and take even bigger risks before the season’s end.