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Americo's rubies: Philly miner takes Greenland

He's featured on a reality show, but he's still a full-time working stiff.

Americo DiSantis in Greenland. Americo DiSantis in Greenland. Credit: Animal Planet

He's featured on a reality show, but he's still a full-time working stiff.

"I’m an average everyday guy. I’m a driller, it just so happens I took a chance and made it," said Americo DiSantis, 32. "But when it comes to it I'll get in there, get as dirty as you are and work with ya."

DiSantis, a father of two who lives in Bucks County, is a key player on "Ice Cold Gold," a reality show premiering its second season tonight on Animal Planet about a team of miners sent to Greenland in search of rare and precious stones.

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Season two promises even more thrills, DiSantis said, because the first jaunt to the icy terrain of Greenland ended with the discovery of a massive ruby deposit dubbed "The Red Zone" -- located on a mountaintop 3,200 feet above sea level.

"Season two is lots more action. Bigger tools. More personality. It's just go go go," DiSantis said. "It's like the gold rush of the 1800s. It’s the final frontier out there."

Starting on the island of Storo, DiSantis said the team went south to Fiskenæsset, where geologists in the team studied the unusual metamorphic rock of Greenland to figure out where valuable stones could be mined.

"Just imagine picking yourself up out of your home and dropping yourself in an area, that you're so out of your element, you're staying in a tent and you're bracing yourself for the weather -- and while you're doing this everyday you have to be working. We put ourselves through hell," DiSantis said of his time in Greenland from last July through September.

"From the moment you wake up freezing cold, trying to put on frozen clothes, getting water out of a frozen stream with glacier ice floating in it and trying to boil that to make coffee, we'd go until we were too tired to go on, or until the weather became too hazardous," he said.

For his day job with Ameridrill, DiSantis uses cutting edge technologies like augur boring and directional drilling. But in Greenland, his proposal to helicopter in a massive drill got canned by the team due to expenses, he said.

Instead, he said the team took a hand drill and set it up with a foot-long bit.

DiSantis did find some rare stones that he was able to bring home to his daughters as souvenirs -- olivine and garnet -- but for most of the stint in Greenland he was just focused on cutting through stone.

"I’m usually auguring and drilling and blowing through rock to get to depth. I’m not caring about how pretty it is," he said.

Gemology


DiSantis works full-time for Ameridrill here in the US. But as one of seven Americans in Greenland on Ice Cold Gold, he makes up Sixty Degree Resources, a company that is seeking to exploit Greenland's vast unexplored terrains.

The team could only search for stones during the warm months when "the glacier cap peels back furthest," as DiSantis put it.

Animal Planet estimates "The Red Zone" deposit is worth millions of dollars.

 
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