An Australian prospector has dug up an 11-pound gold nugget worth in excess of $300,000 in the state of Victoria near the town of Ballarat.
The nugget was discovered by an amateur prospector with a metal detector, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The man wished to remain anonymous.
Cordell Kent, the head of The Mining Exchange Gold Shop in Ballarat, told the ABC the man’s find is the largest he’s seen in 20 years. “We have 800 prospectors on our books and only a couple of those have ever found a nugget over 100 ounces,” he said.
“So there’s only been one or two big pieces and they were found a long time ago.”
Kent said the nugget’s market value is $300,000, but said that because it’s such a large piece of gold, it would be likely worth much more, reported the Ballarat Courier.
“If you are silly enough to melt it down, it would be worth just under $300,000 on market value, but as a nugget at this size and shape, it’s worth significantly more than that,” he told the Courier.
Kent said the prospector, who used a several-thousand-dollar metal detector, has found much smaller pieces of gold in the past.
“Up until yesterday the largest nugget he had found was about a quarter of an ounce. A small one,” he said. “A finding like this gives people hope. It’s my dream to find something like that, and I’ve been prospecting for more than two decades.”
The nugget will likely be sold to a collector or possibly to a museum. It will also prompt a gold rush in the Ballarat region, Kent expects.
In recent years, gold prices have soared to upwards of $1,600 per ounce.
“I’ve got no doubt there will be a lot of people who will be very enthusiastic about the goldfields again, it gives people hope,” Kent told the paper. “There’s nothing like digging up money, it’s good fun.”
But according to the ABC, Kent would not say exactly where the gold nugget was found.
“A lot of people think Victoria’s goldfields are dead and that there’s none left, but he (the prospector) has worked in an area where a lot of people have worked in the past, but he persisted and he’s been rewarded,” Kent told the broadcaster.
“We are 162 years into the gold rush and it’s never totally waned, it’s just changed,” he added.
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