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Gold Rush exclusive: Parker risks moving massive Shaker with an Excavator

This week Parker Schnabel is doing the heavy job as Sluicifer needs to sidle up to Big Red and double the efforts three miles downstream. Pic credit: Discovery.
This week Parker Schnabel is doing the heavy job as Sluicifer needs to sidle up to Big Red and double the efforts three miles downstream. Pic credit: Discovery.

On tonight’s exciting episode of Gold Rush, Discovery Channel’s top-rated television series, we have an exclusive clip that shows how tenuous profit margins are when it comes to traditional mining.

Parker Schnabel opens the clip with his intention of moving giant wash plant Sluicifer down a long three-mile stretch of dirt road that runs parallel to the creek and positioning it next to another excavator to double his efforts.

This task should be easy, but the wash plant isn’t designed to move long distances and requires pulling and dragging, which opens the giant million-dollar-plus piece of equipment up to all sorts of damage possibilities.

Parker knows what he is up against.

His team member Brandon Ruault explains in the opening that this is a big, heavy piece of equipment to move with an excavator, which technically was not designed to do this work.

So not only is the plant in jeopardy of being broken, the excavator — another costly piece of large machinery — is also at risk.

Watching his boss handle the delicate job of moving so much metal and risking so much operating costs, Ruault observes Parker’s moves and says: “You’re gonna want to get your a**-end over.”

He adds: “Nice to have the boss in there because at least if it gets broken, he’s the one that’s breaking it, but when you drag a hundred thousand wash plant around with an excavator, it’s definitely not what they’re designed to do. They’re designed to sit in one spot, dig dirt.”

“We gotta get this big ole girl down there. Hopefully, she makes it,” says Parker. “This thing is heavy…they took all the awkward bits off, but… she’s still heavy.”

The plan for Sluicifer’s move

At 29-feet long, the 45-ton Sluicifer is too big to put on a trailer.

Parker used his most powerful excavator, a $1 Million, 75-ton 750 to haul it three miles downstream along a series of dirt roads, where he’ll drag it onto the pad and position it right beside his other plant, Big Red.

He needs to double down his efforts at this location.

The excavator’s importance can’t be over-stressed here. This beast Parker is driving is super expensive, and the abilities it has makes it one of Parker’s most prized pieces of equipment.

Made by Volvo, The EC750E boasts electro-hydraulic technology, made effective by its potent engine, hydraulic system that features Volvo’s advanced ECO mode, for improved fuel efficiency without any loss of performance in most operating conditions.

It’s other selling points are the more comfortable operator experience with a low-noise environment, ergonomically positioned joysticks, keypad, LCD monitor, and a spacious cab with excellent storage and legroom, and even air-conditioning.

The million-dollar price tag delivers a lot of horsepower and comfort and is not something Parker wants to run out and repurchase.

Parker’s history of nearly losing equipment

This season, Parker Schnabel has had to do some drastic things to make sure his crew is efficient and doing the work they were hired to do. This involved hiring a spy right out of college who never worked in a plant in her life. That move angered his team.

Then, new hire Fred made a dog’s dinner of moving pay dirt, so bad that Parker had to stop him and intervene.

Fred was nervous, to say the least. Observing him work, Parker said: “Most operators get three months practice before they load pay dirt into the plant. Fred has only had five hours.”

Fred was a nervous wreck as he was filmed and said: “Oh gosh…[this is my] first time scooping pay.”

Gold Rush exclusive clip here:

Watch as Parker uses his most powerful excavator here to move Sluicifer:

Gold Rush airs Fridays at 9 pm on Discovery.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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