Question About Ice Dredging

Question from “topdogintampa”

The Pomrenkes sound like they didn’t do so well over the winter season

Basically no one does well over the winter season. It’s twice as hard, takes twice as many man hours per nozzle hour, and the gold per hour is less than half as good as it is in the summer.

I did through the ice one year in 2011, it was horrible. There was us and one other gold mining operation on all of the Bering Sea. I lost money on that venture. Even if I didn’t have any capital costs, and with gold at $1700/ozt like it was then, I made less than minimum wage.

The Discovery production company wanted us to do it again in 2012 when they filmed the first season under the ice; and we would have if they paid enough and had given us enough warning so we could have staged our equipment differently, as it was our gear was under a 15 foot snowdrift.

My ice hut did end up on one season, the green shelter on skis that they portrayed as Zeke’s. That turned out to be about $12.50/hr for the guys working on it; and they were by far the most successful.

The only reason anyone does through the ice a second year is for the TV show, or they live in Nome year round and have nothing else to do. They would do better working as a checker at a grocery store.

Construction of my ice dredging hut

Construction of my ice dredging hut

Using 48" chainsaw to cut hole in the ice.

Using 48″ chainsaw to cut hole in the ice.

The main pieces of equipment. Mini-ex, tracked ATV, and my ice hut design.

The main pieces of equipment. Mini-ex, tracked ATV, and my ice hut design.

View from inside ice hut though tailings hole.

View from inside ice hut though tailings hole.