Todd Hoffman and his crew are back in the jungle. Presumably, the Gold Rush team is with them and we’ll get to see (some version of) it ourselves before too long. For now, though, all we have are occasional tweets and Facebook posts from Todd to give us a glimpse of what’s going on down there.
Recently, Todd posted a status to Facebook that included the lines: “I’m sweaty/ I’m tired/ I’m going broke/ I don’t like fricking snakes . . .” How serious is he? Who knows? After the fiasco in Guyana that aired as Gold Rush: The Jungle, and three fairly ridiculous seasons of placer mining in Alaska and the Klondike, there seem to be only two sure bets when it comes to the Hoffman crew: (1) they’re going to screw up,and (2) Discovery’s going to pay them to do it.
Here’s the whole status update:
Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually sort of a fan of the Hoffmans. I suspect that they’re not nearly as innocent as their on air personas suggest, and I’m confident that they’re pretty awful miners; but, they’re impressive reality television stars, Todd especially. All the mining shows on TV these days (and there are a bunch of them) are spin-offs from Gold Rush:Alaska, which was Todd Hoffman’s brain child. There’s no controversy about that. And, because the market is so flooded, now, with mining shows, everyone has to have an angle. Todd keeps finding enough of one to keep his crew on the air. I think that’s impressive
You have to wonder whether Todd’s quest to stay on television might eventually go too far. Maybe it already has. The South American jungle is no joke. The Klondike may be rugged, but the rule of law exists up there, as do plenty of civilized comforts less than a tank of gas away from their claims. Not so in the jungle. Not only are the claims remote, but the political/military/judicial system isn’t . . . um . . . robust. Do you think those guys with guns wandering through the jungle care about reality TV? I don’t think so. And, we’re not even talking, yet, about the snakes and spiders.
Another part of Todd’s edge (both for TV and mining success) is supposed to be bringing a non-Mercury based process to the jungle. Right now, the last step of jungle mining is done by introducing mercury into the gold-rich slurry by hand. The gold binds to the mercury which is later separated, off site, leaving pure gold. The problem is that mercury is very toxic. Both the people who come into direct contact with it and that water used in the process are terribly contaminated. The accounts of mercury-related sicknesses are heartbreaking.
So, the Hoffmans are in the jungle seeking their fortune . . . and trying to save South American miners from themselves. Like that’s going to work out. Sigh. Here’s a photo of the cleanout room equipment that the Hoffmans were planning to haul to the jungle, though, and here’s what Todd had to say about it.
Is Todd Hoffman going broke in the jungle . . . so broke that his Discovery Channel paycheck won’t bail him out? Doubt it. Will Todd go so far out on a limb to keep his show that he endangers his life and the lives of his crew? That, sadly, seems a lot more plausible.