‘Gold Rush’: What Happened to Tony Beets’ Dredge?

by Thad Mitchell
(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Cast members of the hit Discovery Channel reality show “Gold Rush” have one thing and one thing only on their minds.

Striking gold is the objective for the colorful character on “Gold Rush” and they will do most anything to find it. One of the most colorful gold diggers appearing on the show is legendary miner Tony Beets. The gold producer who is well-known in the industry and in Klondike is a big time player in the mining industry. He moved to Canada from the Netherlands several years ago in an effort to strike it rich by finding the most gold he could. Known to use strong language when out on a dig, Beets is one of the most recognizable “Gold Rush” names.

Much like the other gold miners on the show, Tony Beets has tried numerous methods and efforts to dig up the precious metal. He once spent $1 million on a dredge that he thought would give him a big advantage in the gold-finding arena. The large dredge was located on Clear Creek and Beets uses it in his season five gold finding efforts.

“Gold Rush” fans will probably remember Tony Beets’ dredge as an experiment that wasn’t the perfect setup. In fact, the dredge sank underwater on more than one occasion. Still, Beets prides himself as an innovator and was proud of his $1 million dredge over Clear Creek and got it up and running.

“The dredge is by far the most efficient washplant I’ve ever had,” the “Gold Rush” star says. “Dollar for dollar cost per yard. They’re never even gonna get close.”

‘Gold Rush’ Star Invests in Costly Dredge to Find Golden Goose

While ultimately a good investment for the “Gold Rush” star, the dredge produced a few headaches for Tony Beets.

Dredges are not often used in today’s gold-mining practices but Beets was convinced he could make it work.

Beets and his team spent six months relocating the 350-ton machine to a new claim in order to continue their gold search. The team deconstructed the massive machine and rebuilt it beam by beam and bolt by bolt.

“Everybody thought I was crazy [and that] it couldn’t get done,” Beets says in an earlier episode. “Well, there it is.”

Once it was up and running, the dredge was able to process 2,000 gallons of water in a minute. The massive piece of machinery work of a dozer, an excavator, a rock truck and loader.

The dredge sank twice in the span of six weeks on “Gold Rush” including once due to human error. Thankfully, Beets’ experienced team was able to recover it get it up and going again.

Like the dredge, the latest season of “Gold Rush” is running with its new season that began just a few weeks ago.