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Mining in America

“Gold Rush” Star Parker Schnabel Discusses What Real Mining Is Like

Photos: Courtesy of Discovery

Parker Schnabel of “Gold Rush” gives us the real deal when it comes to life in the mining business.

What is one myth about a career in mining you would like to debunk for readers?

The quality of jobs at a mine site, especially nowadays, are very good and safe. Our company is very on top of mining health and safety administration and making sure these companies are operating safely.  As technology improves, the jobs are becoming more and more systems and automation maintenance.  In a lot of haul trucks at mine sites, there’s no one in the haul truck. While the number of jobs goes down, the quality of jobs does go up.

You’ve been working in the family business since you were very young. Who was a big mentor for you?

The biggest two were my dad and my grandpa, but there were many others. 

Best piece of advice?

You always mine the very best ground you can find. 

When you’re looking to hire new crew members, is there anything you look for?

When we are hiring, I’m looking much less at experience than I am attitude.  The tough part is what we do, and it is such a long season and such long days that it is hard not to get bummed out. We can train people to do what we need them to do, but we can’t change their attitude and we can’t change their drive or work ethic.

As head of operations, what steps do you take to empower a work site of health and safety?

When it comes to health and safety, people are their own worst enemy. I tell them that all the time.  At a mine site, when someone gets hurt, usually they get themselves into that situation.  We try very hard to recognize the possible situations that bring up safety issues and mitigate them as best as we can, and we make sure everyone is aware of safety issues.  The other big thing that I tell everyone, and this has more to do with damaging equipment then safety: when people end up in a bad situation, normally they won’t want to get someone involved because they are embarrassed. But the situation only gets worse when someone tries to fix the problem they created themselves.

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