‘Gold Rush’ Star Parker Schnabel Makes Difficult Decision When It Comes to Wash Plant

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

As always, gold mining bosses are often faced with decisions that can make or break their season. Sometimes they make the right calls, and other times their poor decisions can end up costing them thousands, if not millions, of dollars. During a recent episode of Gold Rush, mining prodigy Parker Schnabel once again faced a tough decision about whether or not he should shut down one of his wash plants.

Schnabel and his crew are halfway through the mining season so far in Season 12 of the hit Discovery Channel reality series. The mountain his team is digging turned out to be a much bigger project than he ever expected. The 60-foot deep Mud Mountain needs to be stripped within the next month. If they don’t, he won’t have time to sluice it before the season ends and his lease on the land is up.

“I already paid royalties on the stuff at Mud Mountain. So I have to get it done this year,” the Gold Rush star explains. “The clock on the season is definitely ticking.”

Schnabel’s team has both of their huge sluice machines up and running. Big Red and Sluicifer are doing their part, but each takes lots of manpower. Therefore Parker brings in his crew leaders to discuss if it would be best to shut down Sluicifer and transfer that manpower to Big Red.

Shutting down Sluicifer could cost Schnabel upwards of $100,000 a day in unmined gold. However, it’s his only option if his team is going to sluice Mud Mountain this season.

“I don’t like saying we bit off more than we can chew, but we did. Mud Mountain has to get done,” Schnabel tells his crew.

Hopefully, for the Gold Rush star’s sake, the gamble will pay off.

‘Gold Rush’: Parker Schnabel Hits a Major Jackpot With Big Red

Ironically, Parker Schnabel and his crew had just moved Sluicifer in last week’s episode. Plus he said it was fired up and making his team money. Yet he had to make a tough midseason decision to shut it down, which was a first for Parker’s team.

In the 12th season of Gold Rush, Parker Schnabel is trailing behind his team’s goal. Last year at this time, the crew was 900-ounces of gold ahead compared to what they’ve brought in so far.

“We’re not going to have a successful season unless both wash plants get up and running,” Schnabel says in the episode. “Sluicifer just got moved down to Ken Stewart’s ground, which is good. It’s fired up, it’s sluicing and making money. It’s washing rocks, it’s doing its part. Now it’s just a matter of getting Big Red fired up at the airstrip. And we need to start getting some revenue in.”

Parker chooses to transfer his wash plant, Big Red, close to Sluicifer, and the decision paid off big time. Big Red brought in a huge haul of 470-ounces of gold, which gave the team a huge boost towards this year’s goal. If Schnabel’s decision to shut down Sluicifer to focus on Mud Mountain pays off as well, the team may just salvage their season.