So I’ll come clean. I am a fan of Gold Rush Alaska on the Discovery Channel. The new season has started with some serious twists. What I like about the show is the technical side. The miners are struggling with serious mechanical problems and difficult issues with unit operations in placer mining. This is what made life precarious for the gold rush miners of the 19th century and is certainly what caused many to return home empty handed.
Getting to the pay streak, conveying the ore from the pit, moving it to the sluicing equipment, and getting the fines to run over the riffles of the sluice properly require a great deal of energy input. The remoteness of the site, the high cost of heavy equipment, and wrestling with faulty equipment all contribute to the difficulty of getting the pay out of paydirt. The mining season is about 100 days in duration. That is 2400 hours. Every hour must be used to maximum effect.
This season there is a bad guy. This guy, Dakota Fred, tips over the apple cart. So, the boys are heading to the Klondike. But first they need a claim to work in a time of record gold prices and intense activity in the mines. I love the vicarious life.