To the untrained eye, the Gold Rush mine sites might just look like a collection of pits and puddles of mud. But in reality, each divot and hill plays an important role in the operation. While the ultimate goal is to dig up gold-rich dirt from the property, there’s a lot of preparation that needs to happen before the miners can get to that point. The teams have to create sturdy roads for that their heavy-duty equipment can easily roll over top. They must also ensure that their work follows proper safety and environmental protocols. So, before they can actually start loading the paydirt into the sluice, they have to have an inspector visit the site.
In preparation for the arrival of the water inspector, Gold Rush star Fred Lewis had his team working 24-hour shifts. The team still needed to finish the roads and touch up the berms, or small dirt walls that help keep the vehicles from sliding off the road. The tasks include a lot of tedious work with excavators. Lewis himself was helping construct the roads, taking gravel from higher points on the site and compacting them onto the new roadways.
Because gravel isn’t quite so broken down as the rest of the dirt on the site, it would help keep the wheels of the excavators, dozers and rock trucks from sinking into the earth. The only problem was that in order to reach the gravel he needed, Lewis would have to navigate through tough terrain that even a 28-ton 220 excavator couldn’t handle.
Watch what happens when the Gold Rush star struggles to fix his mistake.
‘Gold Rush’ Star Shares How Significant Mistakes Can ‘Blacklist’ Miners
“You know, I jumped out of planes at 22,000 feet. That’s the highest I’ve ever jumped, and I never was nervous,” Lewis said. “That 60 feet in excavator definitely made me shake.”
After just barely escaping a near-disastrous situation, Gold Rush mine boss Lewis continues to build the roads to his Yukon operation. Following a long night of hard work, the team managed to complete most of the preparation needed to pass their inspection. All Lewis had to do was fix any berms that weren’t high or sturdy enough. So, he continued packing away at the shelves on the side of the roads with the bucket of the excavator.
As he worked, Lewis explained the importance of running a safe and tidy operation. Not only would a lackluster site promote the possibility of accidents and irreparable damage, but it could also earn them a spot on the blacklist.
“I don’t want to get blacklisted from anywhere or from anything, let alone the best place in the world, the gold mine,” the Gold Rush star explained.