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"Yukon Gold" premieres Sept. 5 on National Geographic Channel

Melissa Hayer Published: September 3, 2013
Jim Harris, Hiro Miyahama, Al McGregor, Jeremy Duplisea, Eric Hincheliffe. - Photograph by Klondike Productions Inc/ Andrew Topham
Jim Harris, Hiro Miyahama, Al McGregor, Jeremy Duplisea, Eric Hincheliffe. - Photograph by Klondike Productions Inc/ Andrew Topham

The new National Geographic Channel series centering on the 21st century gold rush, “Yukon Gold,” debuts at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5.

Details on “Yukon Gold,” provided by National Geographic Channel, are as follows:

It is a job few would want: 18-hour work days. Unforgiving landscapes. Mechanical struggles. All risk, and sometimes no reward. On the surface, it might look like the famous Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800s. But this is a modern-day take on the quest for the ultimate dream ‹to strike it rich with one lucky strike. In National Geographic Channel’s new series “Yukon Gold,” follow four family-run mining camps as they risk everything in the hope of hitting the paystreak. Working grueling days under the midnight sun, the crews give it their all to battle the elements Šand each other.

“Yukon Gold” delves into the real lives of these mining crews and the uncompromising challenges facing them. These miners lay everything on the line ‹- their relationships, bank accounts, reputations and lives ‹ to get their next gold fix, worth potentially millions of dollars. It’s genuine gold fever.

Even though the price of gold hit an all-time high in 2011, these days it takes mining even more gold just to break even. But there are still riches to be won through hard work Š and sometimes sheer luck. The determined, die-hard men of the Yukon are banking on finding 1,000 or more ounces of gold this season, and with good reason. The costs of wages, fuel, food and equipment are as high as ever. But these resilient miners never give up. Over the past two years, they’ve spent close to half a billion dollars exploring gold, silver, copper, zinc and other minerals in the Yukon.

“Mining is our way of life,” says miner Ken Foy. “Worst case scenario, you can lose everything you have. But the best case scenario means an opportunity to get rich. You just never know.”

The four gold mining crews profiled in “Yukon Gold” are novice “Big Al” McGregor; ornery Bernie Kreft and his two sons, Justin and Jarrett; best friends Ken Foy and Guillaume Brodeur; and Karl Knutson and his demanding father, Marty. From spring thaw to the mid-October freeze-up, the miners have only four short months to strike it big. The days are long, the work is exhausting, and anything that can go wrong usually does. Add to this the stunning but dangerous Yukon landscape and harsh living conditions, and you’ve got high stakes in the exotic Northern wilderness.

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