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Why Parker Schnabel Calls His Gold Rush Career 'Unsustainable'

For as long as there's been "Gold Rush," there's been Parker Schnabel to entertain millions of viewers. Of course, mining is nothing new for Schnabel; he began his gold mining career when he was only five years old, working on his grandfather's mine in Haines, Alaska (via Discovery). After gaining years of experience under his belt, he ventured out on his own, leasing ground from another "Gold Rush"  mainstay, Tony Beets. Over the years, he's retrieved millions of dollars worth of gold out of the earth, vastly enhancing his net worth. He's consistently one of the most successful miners on the series, usually outpacing many of his contemporaries.

If there's anyone who you would think would love the art of mining, it would be Schnabel. However, even he has to remain pragmatic about the industry's future, and he admits there's a significant problem that will not only impact him but affect the entire industry.

There's only so much gold for miners to mine

Parker Schnabel sat down for a chat over Facebook, where he answered fans' questions about his life and "Gold Rush." One of these questions involved discussing the most difficult problems Schnabel faced while on a mine site, and the miner took a macro-level approach to respond. He answered, "The biggest problem that we face is just, that as an industry — in the real world they would call it the 'total addressable market,' right — which is, if you sell, you know, newspapers, you can only sell newspapers to so many people. In mining, in plaster mining in the Yukon, there's only so many ounces of gold in the ground. And we're all fighting for the same ounces."

He goes on to discuss how every mining crew essentially worsens its own prospects with every passing year. When you take an ounce of gold out of the ground, that's one less ounce of gold that exists to be taken, so there's less for the mining crew to bring in the next year. It's all about finding new land that hasn't been excavated yet in the hopes it will spring riches. Schnabel goes on to say, "So that's the big struggle, that there's this kind of — I guess what I'm trying to say is, the goal of every mining company is to put itself out of business. And your job is to mine as efficiently as possible, and make as much money per ounce that you're finding as you can."

He concludes by calling the entire mining model "unsustainable," and if anyone would have insight into that concept, it'd be him. Hopefully, he makes enough money while the going's good to have a nice nest egg for himself and his family.