On tonight’s episode of “Alaska Gold Diggers,” SaraJane and her four daughters are looking forward to reopening their late grandfather’s Alaska gold mines in Nome and Fairbanks. These California girls have never attempted anything like this, but they pooled their money and with help from a few grizzled miners, they are hoping to learn enough to secure their legacy and a comfortable future. But will the Alaskan weather be too much for them to handle?
Last week, viewers saw the Newport Beach women getting wet, cold and dirty as they attempted to find gold. As SaraJane, Krista, Korre, Kamme and Tori braved the elements, the women saw the arrival of the miners they hired to help them and teach them what it takes to be an Alaskan gold miner.
After two weeks, they found a total of 6.3 ounces worth $11,025, but with expenses of $16,251, they are still in the red for $5,226. As they made friends with the rough miners, they even saved one’s life. Now it is week three, and the weather is not any better. While cleaning the cabin, they discovered a safe with some items left behind by their grandfather, Popper. Among them were letters he wrote in 1934, his leather-bound mining journal and information that the Fairbanks mine was ready to produce gold. Because they have not found enough gold in Nome to sustain the operation, SJ decided to go to Fairbanks with her girls and leave the Nome mine to John and his miners.
Off they flew to Fairbanks, a much nicer part of Alaska than Nome, to check out the open-pit hard-rock mine. No dredging here, this mine requires truckloads of dirt to go through a sluice with the help of massive equipment. Now they need more miners to help. When they find the mine, it is a giant hole in the ground and next to his open-pit mine is an underground mine belonging to another miner, a lifelong family friend named Clutch. Clutch will be giving the women a crash course in mining while SJ and Korre will go searching for Popper’s old house.
Clutch showed the girls how to use divining rods to find gold and took them downstairs to his very own mine. Below, it is cold and damp and the feeling of being brought back in time comes over the girls. He showed them how to chip away at the walls of his mine after using a divining rod to find the gold.
SJ and Korre found the cabin that was in terrible condition, in fact, much worse than the ones in Nome. When they came upon the third cabin, it was in better shape than the first two.
While the other girls were with Clutch, he showed them how to crush the rocks and then separate the powder from the gold. Kamme, who found the rock in the first place, was delighted that she found at least a few small pieces she could call her own.
Kamme tripped and fell on the way to the cabin and was not happy. When they found the less than luxurious digs, they suddenly heard something outside, but chose not to look. Now that they have Popper’s old drilling logs and maps, they will use them to guide them.
When they checked his storage facility, everything was vandalized. His years of maps and logs were gone or destroyed. Clutch agreed to assemble a professional mining crew for the women. They met with Greg and his men, who will cost them $15,000 for five days of mining with equipment; way over their budget, but it left them no choice. Greg and the miners saw the women, who reminded them of “Sex in the City.” One of the miners, Big Ray was 6’ 10” tall, and they agreed to start the next morning.
With no maps, Kamme took what she learned from Clutch and went witching or using the divining rods to search for a place to dig. When they were satisfied that they found the right place, the crew came in early in the morning and started. First they had to blow a pilot hole where they wanted to start digging. As they set up the explosives, SJ manned the rifle to hit the mark and set it off. On the third shot, she hit the target, and they found quartz rock immediately. If they do not find enough gold to sustain the operation, the girls will have to operate the equipment themselves or head home. Krista got familiar with the dump truck, and Tori got to try it with the excavator. Korre worked with Aaron to drive the backhoe. Kamme worked with Big Ray. As the day progressed, they dug as many truckloads as they could to bring them to be crushed and washed at the processing plant.
The women took to the equipment like ducks to water and for the next four days, they dug and transported tons of dirt and rock to the processor. If they find ten ounces of gold, it will cover their expenses, allowing them to continue. They met with Big Al, “The King Crusher,” who showed them how the dirt and rock they worked all week for, was going to be crushed and turned into powder and hopefully, a good amount of gold. When the gold was weighed, there was sixteen ounces worth $30,000. After one week at Ester Dome, they found a total of 16 ounces worth $28,000, with expenses of $15,000, they turned a profit of $13,000. Now they can keep Clutch’s crew going while they return to Gold Run and find more nuggets on the next episode of “Alaska Gold Diggers.”
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