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How Many Hours A Day Is The Gold Rush Crew Out Working?

Working in the gold mining industry has never been easy work, not even in modern times. Some hang on to a romanticized vision of the early gold rush of the nineteenth century, with visions of panhandlers shouting "Eureka!" in triumph as they extract gold nuggets from rivers with minimal effort; others are inclined to think modern technological advances have made gold mining these days into something akin to pointing a detection device at the ground.

But as viewers of "Gold Rush" know all too well, even augmented by heavy machinery and sophisticated equipment, gold miners still require substantial skills (and more than a bit of luck) when it comes to hunting down the precious resource used in everything from jewelry to smart phones.

One of the newer additions to the show is Bree Harrison, who has quickly distinguished herself as a member of Parker Schnabel's retinue. During a 2023 Ask-Me-Anything session on Reddit, Bree answered questions on such topics as how many hours each day they work, and if they take breaks.

"Our shifts are min 12 hours, 7 to 7. There's a half hour lunch in there but some people choose to work through it," she explained. "The solo plant operators can't really take a lunch unless someone comes to relieve them though." 

So, what does a 12 hour day look like when one appears on "Gold Rush?"

There is only so much time for gold mining in a year

Even in modern times, the nine to five lifestyle remains the norm. But for some professions — like nurses, doctors, soldiers, police officers, oil rig workers, and of course gold miners — the typical work schedule can fluctuate wildly. 

Considering that much of the "Gold Rush" television series takes place in Alaska and other similar latitudes, weather plays a huge component in the 12 hour schedule. Generally, gold mining season lasts from May to September in these locations, so gold mining crews don't have much time in which to operate. Between snow, diminished sunlight, and frozen ground, miners must work quickly with the time they have.

But despite long hours and limited time to mine gold, the profession is something Schnabel recommends to newcomers. Speaking with The Malestrom, the "Gold Rush: star was asked if mining is a career path worth pursuing.

"I would recommend it, I think it's something worth trying," he answered. "I wouldn't recommend pouring your life savings into mining. But I think if you're getting a job doing it for the summer it's not that hard to do, there are a lot of jobs both in the Yukon and Alaska. So go give it a shot. You've got nothing but some time to lose." 

Harrison might add that while 12 hours is nothing to scoff at, the allure of a golden payoff likely makes the long hours a bit more bearable.