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Gold Rush's Parker Schnabel Has A Big Warning For New Miners

Gold, as a precious mineral, has been a source of much drama, controversy, and exploration throughout human history. The California Gold Rush brought over 300,000 people to the fledgling state (per Encyclopedia Britannica). The Conquistadors of the 1500s sought legendary cities made of it and helped colonize two continents in the process. Even now, gold holds a strong place in society — not only use in jewelry, but also in many of the technologies that permeate modern day life, like computers and cell phones. Due to the multitude of uses, gold still hovers around $1800 an ounce, according to Trading Economics.

It's no surprise, then, that "Gold Rush" is such a popular reality television series. The show has brought viewers to many locations around the world with multiple teams in pursuit. Parker Schnabel has been a part of the series since its inception, and hails from a family of miners. In a recent interview, Schnabel spoke about his experiences in the field, and had an important caveat for those thinking of getting into the gold mining business.

Schnabel says gold mining has a huge upfront cost

In an interview with The Guide Online Magazine, Schnabel was asked how profitable gold mining really is, and whether beginners should dedicate the time, resources, and effort. Schnabel replied that it was pretty expensive. "I mean, gold mining is a risky business, and there's a lot of -– there's a lot of reasons for that, I won't go too much into detail into any one of them. But the problem is, it's a business where 100% of your cost or upfront cost –- buying equipment, getting launch plans, finding ground, doing explorations –- you spend a huge amount of money upfront before you start making any. And so, that makes it a difficult business because cash flow is such a tough thing to have in that –- in this business."

Judging by these comments, it seems that Schnabel believes that one would need a tremendous amount of innate financial power in order to even get started. The basic pan system people envision when they think of the early California Gold Rush run around $30 on the low end, while the heavy machinery operated by Schnabel on his crew on "Gold Rush" cost upwards to $500,000 (per Outsider). Besides the equipment, the process to gain rights to mine can be arduous and time consuming, with the ability of the local population to potentially block any mining operations, setting up lengthy legal proceedings, as discussed by the Legal Resources Centre. On top of that, there is still the cost of moving and maintaining all of that equipment, and paying employees, to consider, as well. All in all, it appears as if one needs to be rich in order to even think about mining for gold professionally.