'Gold Rush' Season 10: Parker Schnabel on Major Water Crisis

Barb Oates
Exclusive Discovery Channel

Just when you think you’ve seen it all and know it all when it comes to Discovery’s No. 1-rated show Gold Rush, returning for its 10th season Friday, Oct. 11, along comes a doozy of a problem. This season finds each of the miners — Parker Schnabel, Tony Beets and Rick Ness — with some immense challenges.

Parker, the 25-year-old mining superstar, finally owns his own 115-acre claim — that’s like 50 city blocks —  however, he is faced with a major water permit issue.

“The licensing side of things is extremely boring but has turned into part of our season, unfortunately, because it’s affecting both Tony and my operation pretty massively, so we’re trying to navigate our way around and it’s not particularly easy,” Parker told TV Insider yesterday. “I wish it weren’t an issue.”

Both Parker and Tony’s water permits have failed to come through forcing them both to make critical decisions to salvage their investments. Parker’s license is up June 1, 2020, which means he needs to do three years of work in one season. Tony’s license expires in just days (at the start of Season 10), forcing him to remove all of his equipment — including his 50-ton wash plant — from the water. If he doesn’t get it out he’s facing a $20,000-a-day fine.

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Tony actually has to play nice and work with Parker if he’s going to mine anywhere this season.

“A lot of people operate purely on a level of leverage and I’ve always seen that as a pretty short-term view of dealing with an issue,” Parker tells us.

“Early in my career [Tony] did a lot to help me out, but in the last few years whenever he’s had any type of leverage over me he’s used it much to my detriment. I wish it didn’t matter. I wish that Tony and I could help each other out whenever each of us had something that the other needed, and that we could all get along because it’s a business that is very difficult to succeed in.

"That’s not the case with Tony. With Tony, when he’s got control of a situation, by God he’s going to flex his muscles, so in this situation it was pretty nice to have that certain amount of control. You never really have that much of control but it was pretty nice to have a bit of it.”

As for how this season went and if he was happy with it: “Some parts of it I am, some parts of it I’m not,” he told us. “I still enjoy it. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t. Hopefully there’s no end in sight. I’ll continue down the old mining path as long as we can still get gold out of the ground and have fun doing it.”

Gold Rush, Season 10 Premiere, Friday, October 11, 9/8c, Discovery