'Gold Rush' Star Parker Schnabel Teases a 'Challenging' Year of Mining After Record-Breaking Season (Exclusive)

Parker Schnabel may have made Gold Rush history with a record-breaking $8.4 million gold haul in 2018, but even now being out from under the thumb of Tony Beets, the young mine boss continues to have to prove himself against the unforgiving Yukon.

Ahead of the Season 10 premiere of the hit Discovery show, PopCulture.com's Anna Rumer traveled to the Yukon to try her hand at gold mining and get the inside scoop on the 2019 season, learning from Schnabel right off the bat that things have been difficult as ever on his new claim.

"It's been a bit of a challenging year — I mean they all are," he admitted of the season's progress, explaining that with water permitting issues making things far more complicated than expected, his operation has been forced to get creative and step outside the box when it comes to breaking even and making a profit.

"Basically, we always mine the next best piece of ground we have is usually how it works out, but this year it's a little different, because we're having some government and permitting issues that have forced our hand into doing things in a way we didn't really want to," Schnabel explained.

He wasn't sure if the claim would produce the same quantity of gold that set everyone back on their heels in 2018, but being able to take home all the money without having to fork over a portion of the profits to Beets as the land owner makes a huge difference.

After their big blowout over Beets' royalty system last season, Schnabel said he hadn't spoken much with the seasoned miner, which he noted was "much better" for him.

"The problem with Tony is that the only way he ever operates is with leverage — you know, like helping somebody out," he explained. "It doesn't mean jack s— to him unless, how is it benefiting him, right? And that's a bit ... it gets old after a while, you know?"

Schnabel may only be 25, but after a lifetime spent in the Yukon around the mining world, he has no romantic notions of the gold he seeks so fervently, calling the people who seek out that gold miner's lifestyle out "a little crazy."

"When I first came to the Yukon and started to learn the ground and what we were doing and figuring out the processes, I didn't know how far we'd get," he said of his own success. "It's a very hard business to really grow and build and maintain efficiency. And so, I didn't really ... I didn't think that we'd make it to the point where we were doing, you know, like over 1,000 oz. a month, which is what we did last year."

But can he top even his own success in the new season, even with all the obstacles in his way?

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Don't miss the return of Gold Rush Season 10, coming to Discovery Friday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Photo credit: Discovery