I, Edwin Waters recently did a interview with Jim Dorsey of Gold Rush Alaska, the television reality show about Gold Mining that airs on the Discovery Channel.
Oregon Gold : How has the response been on the street after appearing on the show?
Jimmy Dorsey: I think overwhelmingly positive. A lot of people want to know what I am doing next and want to know what is happening with my family.
Oregon Gold : Do you think you were portrayed poorly or wrong in the edit of the show?
Jimmy Dorsey : I understand the need for creating a character. I think my inexperience in mining and the construction field is not something that they created. You never see me actually turn a wrench. They cut out about ninety percent of the positive things I do.
Oregon Gold : Was the show scripted?
Jimmy Dorsey : Sure. Every formatted documentary is scripted. It is scripted from the beginning. They knew exactly what they wanted to see out of the program. Even me leaving was scripted, but in the way in which it happened was not. The plans were made, but the footsteps were ours. They actually direct you into these situations. It became very real. That is why I actually got my ribs broke. There was a fight…not even a fight…I was assaulted by Greg. He broke my ribs. That was very real, but it was also in the script for episode four which ended up being episode six, that I would end up leaving the show. They kind of push you towards, making these things happen. They would tell me to say ” We’ve got get gold in seventy hours” so I say “We’ve got to get gold in seventy two hours”. Then they would say “What are you going to do if you don’t get gold in seventy two hours?” And I am like “I don’t know you just told me to say seventy hours.” Then they said “What are you going to do if you don’t get gold?” They push you towards saying I was going to leave if we did not find gold. It was never my intention to leave. My plan was staying the entire summer and seeing it out.
Oregon Gold : Was it more about making the show or was it about getting the gold?
Jimmy Dorsey : You cannot really separate the two. I did not think we had a good show unless we got gold and I was not making very much money from the show; nothing substantial, so for me I did not think we would get a second season once we got gold and I did not think I would be able to feed my family once we got gold. It was very real for me. Real Estate has really devastated me in the last year.
Oregon Gold : Do you consider yourself pretty good at gold panning?
Jimmy Dorsey : At this point yeah. When I first started gold panning I did not even classify any of the material. So yes, I have gotten gold and I now have panning down. I did some mining after I left the mine.
Oregon Gold : Are you a better miner now, than what you appeared to be on the show?
Jimmy Dorsey : Yes, now I am taking classes in Nevada at a school of mining. I am learning about gold mining. I am not done with gold mining.
Oregon Gold : A lot of miner friends who are on my Facebook page want to know about the equipment. Was that equipment made to not work for the purpose of the show, or was it just poorly constructed equipment?
Jimmy Dorsey : It was poorly planned. The shaker was bought from a auction for fifteen thousand dollars. There was some incompetence there to modify that shaker. These guys were kind of playing around with it… It was a pretty old machine. I think it was built in 1967.
Oregon Gold : Do you think there would have been a better outcome if the group would have invested in better equipment from the start?
Jimmy Dorsey : Absolutely. I said from the beginning…I was actually at Sandy airport saying “Why are we taking this thing to Alaska?” I did not understand why they would want to go on the Discovery Channel with such poor equipment… We also did not have enough water to be running the equipment properly. The equipment demanded eighty gallons a minute and we had about thirty.
Oregon Gold : On your website you state that you are going mining again. Are you going to Alaska?
Jimmy Dorsey : I don’t know. I am looking at a mine up north. There a couple hard rock mines in Oregon that I am looking at. We are performing assays and I am talking to investors right now.
Oregon Gold : Did you receive any money for appearing on the show?
Jimmy Dorsey : The deal with Todd Hoffman was one thousand dollars per episode. At the time of me leaving he had paid me a total of three thousand dollars.
Oregon Gold : How do you feel about Todd?
Jimmy Dorsey : To be honest, today I feel sorry for him. I feel sorry that he threw away a lot of relationships that he has ruined in his pursuit of fame and gold.
Oregon Gold : Do you think that Todd should have done more research on even the most basic principals of mining?
Jimmy Dorsey : Absolutely. One thing I have learned from my studies in Nevada and working with lots of miners is that representative sampling and assaying is key… Finding out how many ounces per ton, is what you do first. Then you decide…what machine you are going to use for that material… Porcupine has gold that is forty to sixty mesh size and you need to have the right machines to get that size of gold out.
Oregon Gold : There is one episode that sticks out in my mind when the equipment is being loaded onto the flat bed and the chain snaps. You made the comment “that could have killed somebody” and Todd went off on you and told you to keep your mouth shut. Was that scripted or was that Todd?
Jimmy Dorsey : That was Todd. That was him… A lot of it was about camera time. When you put a camera in front of people, they get jealous.
Oregon Gold : A majority of the public think that the family members should have stayed at home. What do you think of that?
Jimmy Dorsey : We were going to church across the river and there were a lot of kids that grew up in that valley, so I will agree that we should not have had the kids that close to the operation…that we built our house in the wrong spot…the day I decided where to actually the build the house, I went for a walk…and there was a really big black bear grazing right where I wanted to put my house. So that was too far way. We were in a pretty remote area…this was an area where people have not lived in many years. Plus there is safety in numbers. We packed everybody in real tightly. As far as my family. I plan on bringing my family next year. I don’t leave my family. There is no reason to.
Oregon Gold : Is there anything else you would like to share with the public?
Jimmy Dorsey : …The platform this has afforded me is huge. My family is going to show the face of the mining industry. We can change things by opening natural resources here in Oregon and Alaska. I want to show how mining can be good for people…that is my plan…We need to show that mining can be safe and it can help our economic problems here in Oregon. I am getting pretty involved in the mining community.
Special thanks to Jimmy who took the time to do this interview. Please take the time to visit his website located here:
New episodes of Gold Rush Alaska can be seen on the Discovery Channel Friday nights at 10PM