Returning: Opal Outback Hunters

Opal-hungry miners returns for a third season on Discovery with a new-look line up of crews.

Outback Opal Hunters returns for a third season next month with a new-look line up of crews.

The series is produced by Prospero Productions for Discovery Channel.

The treasure hunt is back on as crews of opal-hungry miners put everything on the line to unearth a fortune in some of Australia’s harshest landscapes when Outback Opal Hunters returns to Discovery Thursday 10 October. A mission not for the faint-hearted, the new season faces a major shake up with a new-look line up of crews who push their bodies, bank accounts and willpower to the limit as they hunt for one of the most valuable gemstones on the planet.

Outback Opal Hunters follows seven teams across three states on their daily battle to strike it rich; living off the grid, surviving the searing heat, fighting mechanical breakdowns and run-ins with ruthless opal thieves. Some familiar faces are back with Col Duff, The Fire Crew, The Cooke Brothers and The Boulder Boys all hungry for their next big find. And we say hello to some miners who well and truly have opal fever: The Brits, The Bushmen and The Young Guns. From Lightning Ridge (NSW), Opalton (QLD) and Laverton (WA), the new season also brings new locations into the fold; White Cliffs (NSW) and Sheepyard (NSW).

A single piece of opal can be worth millions of dollars and 90% of the world’s entire supply lies hidden beneath the searing Australian Outback meaning a miner could become a millionaire overnight. The 8-part series is a journey of hope and heartbreak as these crews test themselves day-in and day-out against the vastness of the remote outback. Along the way they must confront cunning gem dealers, grizzled veterans and untamed outback characters.

The Bushmen, Rod Manning and Les Walsh work the Sheepyard opal field near Grawin in New South Wales. It’s so remote that there’s no power or water and the population sits at just 249. Their season starts with a midnight clash with opal thieves raiding one of their mines.

In Opalton, renowned Queensland opal hunter Col Duff is continuing on solo, after a prolonged period out of action as he recovered from an illness last season. He’s venturing out into the remote Queensland outback prospecting for opal in the long-lost Old Timers diggers.

The Boulder Boys’ Aaron Grotjahn returns to the Dragonfly claim in Opalton, after finding enough opal to buy the claim – his late father’s – in Season 2. But after ending his partnership with Greg Geran and without heavy machinery he faces serious setbacks with the richest part of the claim inaccessible beneath rising floodwater.

After two seasons finding barely any opal at Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, The Cooke Brothers make the tough decision to part ways. With money tight, Mick has no choice but to take contract work, leaving Pete to mine with his modified decades-old Steen Machine with apprentice Sam Westra, who’s desperate to prove himself to his doubting parents.

This year The Fire Crew, Peter and Vikki Piromanski, their son Adam and his partner Cassidy Ricketts, are scaling up their operations in Laverton, Western Australia, hunting for a brand new deposit of black opal.

The Brits, Carl Grice and partner Mary McMillan put their opal workshop on wheels, taking a motor home to opal fields across Australia and this season they’ve set themselves up at White Cliffs, New South Wales.

Also at White Cliffs, The Young Guns, led by third generation opal miner Jaymin Sullivan, are a new team with first time miners. Jaymin’s mates Noah McDonough and James ‘JC’ Caruana are as green as the come and so the crew’s success and their safety rests squarely on the leader’s shoulders.

The epic new season of Outback Opal Hunters delivers new machines, new mines, new types of opal and new challenges. Old partnerships will fall apart, new friendships will be forged and a fortune in opal with be unearthed, all in the brutal Australian Outback.

Thursdays from 17 October at 8:30pm on Discovery

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