How do you get a Bering Sea gold mining claim? Can anyone do it?
          

The Sluicey dredge from Bering Sea Gold

What do you get when you do a hi-def mash up of Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush Alaska? Why, Bearing Sea Gold, of course – the Discovery Channel’s instant blockbuster documentary/reality series airing every Friday night at 10/9c. The show follows several crews who man (and woman!) dredges just off the coast of Nome, Alaska. And, to be honest, they don’t really look like they know what they’re doing.

Most of the stars of the show admit to being newbies, and most of the dredges appear like crazy, thrown together mousetraps of old car parts bolted to floats. So, you have to wonder . . . can just anyone throw a VW engine on a raft, don a wet suit, and start sucking up gold?

The Clark dredge from Bering Sea Gold Zeke Tenhoff Emily Riedel

As it turns out, the answer is yes and no. Some of the offshore land near Nome is divided into non-competitive claims, some is open to prospectors who have a permit, and some is set aside for normal (but perhaps a little crazy) folks like you and me who want to see what gold fever feels like first hand.

The regulations for land use in Alaska are complicated, so don’t think you can use this article in a court of law! If you’re serious about offshore gold dredging in Alaska, you should, by all means, take a look at the regs yourself. Here’s the 2009 Mining Code I used as reference, but I’m sure you could write to the Alaska DNR for the most current version of the relevant laws and regulations.

Bering Sea mining map with Nome Alaska

So . . . let’s say you have a good feeling about a patch of underwater land in Alaska. What should you do? Well, first you should go to the Department of Natural Resources and make sure that no one else has a non-competitive claim on the land. If there’s already a current claim in effect, then you’re out of luck. If there isn’t, then you can apply for a prospecting permit.

With the prospecting permit in hand, you can go out and look for evidence of gold on the land that your permit covers. It appears that quarter mile chunks are the standard. If you don’t find anything, then your permit will run out and someone else will have a chance. If you do find gold, though, you can go back to the DNR and apply to have your prospecting permit converted to a non-competitive claim.

When you have a non-competitive claim, you have to pay the state rent and give evidence that you’re actively mining the claim. In 2009,

The amount of the annual rental payment is $.88 per acre during the first five years of the lease, $1.75 per acre during the next five years of the lease, and $4.25 per acre after that.

If you miss your rent or don’t do anything with the claim, then the DNR can jump back in. But, as long as you’re current, the claim is all yours. (That’s why it is called non-competitive.)

But, let’s say, you can’t find a patch of land that isn’t already being prospected or mined. Do you have to pack your aqua-jalopy and go home? No way! Alaska has you covered. There are two public mining areas in the Nome area, alone: The Eastern Nome Public Mining Area and the Western Nome Public Mining Area. Of course, there are some rules you have to follow if you’re going to jump in and mine in these public areas, since, by design, you can’t lay claim to any part of it for non-competitive mining. You can find those regulations here.

Interestingly enough, a quick look at the regs for using the Public Mining Areas suggests that all the Bearing Sea Gold miners might be in compliance. Does that mean that, at least from the perspective of the DNR, all the Bearing Sea Gold miners are amateurs? Hobbyists? Maybe. That would explain a lot. Hmmm . . . I wonder if I could break away next summer. I know where I can find an old pontoon boat and a rusted out Honda Civic. I’m halfway there!

For more information about Emily Riedel, the opera singing gold miner featured on Bering Sea Gold, check out our profile post on her and click here to watch and listen to her doing what she does best – singing opera!



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    • rudy delgado

      Hey there, im a huge fan of the show its freakin awsome was wonderin how i could get hired by a real crew out there. Looks like somethin i was meant to do, im always in the water, and i love gold. If anyone knows anything about it could you send me the info. im chasin the dream!!

      • http://chefbarryt@gmail.com chefbarryt

        if its anything like my experience in commercial boat job i acquired on another ocean gold “sockeye salmon” on a seine boat , it was hanging at the docks looking ready and eager and a lil hopin someone snoozes and loses thier spot.

      • gmail

        hay you still want a piece of the bearing see and gold,?

    • lawrencenykyforak

      I would like to get in miming gold I have been dirt poor and I mean dirt poor I have slep outside in the winter lived on the strrets for some years and have had not any income all my life so I lived on welfare all of my life which is the poorest form of life in CANADA AND i WOULD LIKE TO GET A START IN LIFE GOLD MINING AND COULD YOU TELL ME HOW TO START i CAN NOT LIVE LIKE THIS ANY MORE i DO COME FROM A MINING BACKGROUND MY DAD WAS MINER ALL HIS LIFE ETC SO HELP ME GET STARTED ANY ADVISE WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED i KID YOU NOT i GREW UP IN eLLIOT LAKE ONTARIO AND ATIKOKKAN ONTARIO i GUESS THE ACID RUINED MY LIFE WHEN I WAS YOUNGER OR THE LSD sOME WHAT WHEN i WAS 13 BUT MANY OF US HAVE BEEN THREW IT i HOPE TO START TO MAKE SOME MONEY A LIFE OF WELFARE IS NOT WHAT I WANT ANY MORE HELP WITH WAYS FOR ME TO START MINING FOR GOLD PS . REMEMBER i HAVE TO START WITJH NOTHING THANK YOU lAWRENCE

      • E M

        Ive been there and done it. Send me a message at my e-mail before you jump into it full blast. I can help.

    • random guy

      hi, my wife and i are getting a huge settlement andhave decided to build a dredge, we see how rickidy some on the show are built and desided to go with bigger barge design on pontoons, equipped for 3 divers, is their a law reguarding only being able to have 1 suction hose, or are allowed 2??? our operation would be designed to withstand alot worse weather than everyone was getting scared of to potentially double our time on the water and with 2 suction divers potentially doubling the gold recovery. and 1 more thing if someone has one of those claims on the water that they started for the first time, can you negotiate with the owner of the claim to mine their??? or is it specifically for that owner only…
      heres a laugh, with how flimsy those dredges look, wheres all the life jackets and life rafts???

      • http://www.isawhim.com JasonD

        The limitation for the “open area”, is for pump-size/strength and hose diameter. (You can have as many hoses as you wish, running below the diameter, at the maximum engine-size. The losses will be greater with each hose added, as the power will be lost to pull-up material. However, silt-gold is the majority, and the rig should be designed for that.)

        Pulling-up large rocks is only to de-mud them, and to move them from the hole. The mud on the rocks contains a majority of the “free-gold”, which is sea-placer gold.

        Keep in mind, that sluice-boxes are the WORST design for gold capture. Well, the best of the worst. High-loss at any volume of flow. More loss when the gold is smaller than an eraser, and the fill is larger than a shooter-marble.

        Every foot of sluice, pays for itself. The best you can hope for is about 35% capture. (Proven by the constant re-mining and higher yields from the same mined areas, year after year.) The good news is… Nome is one of the highest concentrations of free-gold, “placer-gold”, in the sea. So any properly worked area has a decent yield. Key-word: properly. (Most don’t mine proper, they just vacuumed the floor like maids at a hotel, leaving with pocket-change, not wallets of cash normally nested in the cracks of the couches or dressers.)

        Good luck. Hope I can make it there this year, or next-year.

        P.S. Don’t go crazy on top-dollar purchases. A $2.00 sluice produces the same as any $400.00 sluice. If you know how to operate it. If you don’t, the $400.00 sluice will yield nothing, as will the $2.00 sluice, but your losses will be greater.

      • E M

        Random Guy
        Send me your e-mail before you go and jump into this full blast. Ive been there and i could help you get started. There’s a lot to learn before you jump into this.

    • Sno cap Dave

      Big fan of show hopping it real not just reality show plan to come up there an test the waters , when would be the best time ??? When I get there I hope to be able to get on with someone for a little exp. use to work at dacor scuba got some dive exp. Ben a lic general contractor 20yrs, if it’s for real I hope to lease a couple yrs on someones lease,??
      And try it for myself got any info or leads or can help in any way please leave email an comment Ty look forward to seein nome thnx

    • psdofficer

      great show….how can I get a job diving for gold?I am a very experienced diver I have many talents to offer I can weld good with mechanics worked all over the world…love adventure…I can also put up some money too.Thanaaaks

    • Living the dream

      Hello EM,
      I would like to write directly to you about gold dredging in Nome. Please make contact. mark.sandgren@austvending.com

    • Hungery for work

      I would like to try UW gold mining. I would come up to do an internship for free. If you like my work ethics, then you higher me and I get paid. I’ve lost everything else. What more do I have to loose? Please contact me. dive@greenwaterscuba.com

    • http://www.facebook.com/dave.webster.3572846 Dave Webster

      Can you get this message to Steve Pomrenke of Bering Sea Gold. Forget dredging off of Nome as thats small potatos. Go 15/20 miles west of Nome to the Cripple River. Come back east a mile or two and dredge. Virgin ground. About 35 years ago a group of people set up a camp on the beach there. They had crude waterworks with riffle boxs. (I was there.)They did it one summer and reportedly took out 20 qts of gold, then disappaered because they had no permits or anything. This is were the gold is at and no one has touched it, ever!

    • Michael

      Please help me make contact with Zeke Tenhoff in Nome Alaska
      My mail:
      roddarviking@hotmail.se
      Thank’s from Michael in Sweden

    • Michael

      Hope to make contact with Zeke Tenhoff in Nome Alaska by this…
      I’m a experienced diver in CMAS (1* instr.) also well home in cold and dark whater,
      I have no problem with icediving or muddy wather.
      Have many talents and skills; wood, iron, welding, mechanics etc. etc.
      I am in the middle of my life and not afride of enything but have the biggest respect for the ocean and the nature, my granfather was a fisherman so I am born in by the sea.
      My mail:
      roddarviking@hotmail.se
      Thank’s from Michael in Sweden

    • CT4LIFE

      me and my husband want to so this we have the money to build a dredge and interested in making this a living for us if someone could get ahold of me on how to do this and get started to prepare for next summer would be great

    • Brian Skeeters

      I am a struggling father of 3 beautiful children and I am physically able to do most jobs. This may be a complete waste of time, but is there anybody in the dredging industry looking for a hard working, physically capable and highly determined individual to hire for laboring on a dredger? My email is skeeteb1@hotmail.com. You wouldn’t be disappointed as I take pride in my work, pride in my team and pride in my results. Thank you guys in advance…

      • Brian Skeeters

        Also, what an honor and great challenge it would be to be called a greenhorn (Deadliest Catch) or a deckhand…I would bring a cheerfully entertaining, yet serious minded attitude to the crew

    • ken fitzner

      I am getting ready to retire out of the military I am 42 years , I am in great shape. I have been deployed over seas to IRAQ and can work in ANY CONDITIONS, I am am very good with tools and a very good problem solver . I sit here and watch this show and wonder HOW these people aren’t pulling in TONS on money ? If anyone that wants to make a go of this get in contact with me and let’s talk ! I will not go back and forth with endless emails , I am VERY serious and hope you are as well ! You may contact me at the following email address .
      Kind Regards:
      SGT Ken
      Kfitzner1@gmail.com

    • james

      my name is James and I have been watching Bering sea gold and thinking that I can do this too. the only thing that I have come across is that I don’t really have instruction on the ends and outs of dredging. I know this may sound like a down fall, but many doctors believe I have autism. I believe this enables me to learn jobs much quicker because I tend to obsess over learning and perfecting it. you can ask my past and present employers and they will tell you I am a very hard worker and have mastered all tasks set before me in less time then most people. if there is anyone who is looking for a hard worker then I am the able body you are looking for. you can contact me at james59glenn@yahoo.com

    • james

      I just lost my job yesterday. I am wanting to dredge for gold in Alaska. if anyone knows or needs a deckhand I am willing and a heard worker. I have little to no experance in diving but I am a quick learner and work heard. I do have money to get to Alaska and extra for living. just wanting a chance to dredge for gold. you can get a hold of me by e-mail. james59glenn@yahoo.com this is for the 2014 season

    • Don D

      My name is Don, I have been landscaping for 16 years, have great knowledge of how to operate small machinery and work land water or not. intelligent, positive, Working on getting certified to dive (I dont know if you even need it there). Love thee show and would kill to be part of a great small, but SMART team to make some real money over the 2014 season. Have enough money to get through season without issue, possibly even by my own dredge here and pull out there. Please any info or help would be wonderful. I would kill for at least one season of this to see how it goes, I cant get the burning want to try out of my system!
      dimaginllc@yahoo.com

    • kyle tommo

      I’m just going to save as much as I can and go if your up for starting a team and doing it well add me on Facebook my name is Kyle tommo and if a few got together and put Munny together I think we have a chance of doing it so get in tuch

 

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