An Australian amateur prospector using just a metal detector has discovered a huge gold nugget worth $300,000 in the Australian outback.
The anonymous finder was using a hand-held metal detector when he discovered the huge gold nugget approximately 60 cm under the ground near the old gold mining town of Ballarat, Victoria.
The piece which weighs in at 5.5 kg (177 ounces) has both delighted and surprised local experts saying they have never seen a piece of gold so large from the area before.
The prospector was searching on ground which had already been searched before many times without finding anything.
When he detected it he thought he’d picked up “a car bonnet” before he saw the glint of gold. Not believing his luck, he kept cleaning it and the gold kept on growing and growing.
Cordell Kent, the owner of a local Ballarat mining exchange gold shop said that he had known the man who found it for 20 years and that he was the type of person that really deserved to find it. Cordell said that he cannot remember the last time any nugget over 2.8 kg (100 ounces) had been discovered in the local area.
Mr Kent also went on to say that the prospector had rushed home to tell his wife of the find and that he is going to pay off his house and his bills with the $300,000 it is expected to fetch at auction.
Experts are saying that it is a very significant discovery as a mineral specimen. The first gold was discovered at Ballarat 162 years ago and created a gold rush that is still producing nuggets today.
The price of gold is currently about $1600 (£1065) per ounce but because nuggets over 1 kg are so rare it is expected to add a premium to the price.
Ballarat is a city located on the banks of the Yarrowee River and lower Western Plains of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria, Australia. It is approximately 65 miles west north-west of the state capital Melbourne. Ballarat has a population of approximately 94,000 people.
The first gold was discovered at Poverty Point in 1851. News quickly spread of the size of the find and the ease which the gold could be extracted. Within months the small sheep station had over 20,000 prospectors digging for gold. Unlike many gold rush boom towns, the Ballarat Gold Fields have produced high yields of gold for decades.
The exact place where the gold nugget was discovered has been worked over by many prospectors yet all of them have missed it. This prospector was using the latest state-of-the-art detector, basically the best there is. It could detect metal and gold deeper than other older detectors.
The gold measures 22cm in length by 14 cm width and 4.5 cm deep.
A find like this is also good for the local economy as it will attract a lot more prospectors to be area and gives people hope that they too might strike it lucky one day.