A new reality show about the trials and triumphs of gold mining in Canada premieres on television March 13.
“Yukon Gold” — a 10-part series of one-hour episodes — follows four mining crews in the country’s northwestern territory as they scour the landscape for the precious metal.
The stakes are high with each crew potentially striking it rich or cleaning out their bank accounts.
Ken Foy is the leader of one of the crews along with his best friend Guillaume Brodeur. The other three teams are led by ‘Big’ Al McGregor, Bernie Kreft and Karl Knutson. All the miners hail from different parts of Canada — Vancouver, Dawson City, Lac La Biche in Alberta plus Quebec.
Foy has been a miner a since he was 14, when he started helping his father on his gold claim in the Yukon. He also spent eight years mining in Alaska plus another two in the Yukon.
“I’m excited about this show because it’s as real as it gets,” said Foy in a telephone interview, noting the mining came first and the filming second.
He emphasized that everything is unscripted during the show.
“It documents our work ethic — and not just the good days.”
The toughest part of mining in the Yukon, Foy said, is the short season. There’s only four months during the summer to produce and process the gravels. He’s up at 8 a.m. and works through to 2 a.m. the next day.
Other challenging factors include the remoteness of the location (about 100 kilometres outside Dawson City), the mechanical breakdowns, getting supplies into camp, and ultimately Mother Nature.
“We’re so stubborn,” Foy said. “Some people lay down and quit, but we’re so stubborn it pushes us through every summer.
In Canada, the show will run on the History channel on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT starting March 13.
In the US, it will run on the National Geographic channel, as well as be picked up internationally.
Check out this clip of rival Al McGregor and his team as they prep their first bullion and melt it into a gold ingot: