The gold rocks were discovered just 500 meters [about 1640 feet] below the surface at the Beta Hunt mine around 400 miles east of Perth.
In most mines gold can only be observed using a microscope, geologist Zaf Thanos told the ABC, but in this find, large quartz rocks are covered with gold.
“You might go your whole life and you’ll never see anything like it. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” he said. “As a geologist, you get excited by a pinhead speck. But to see something on this scale is just phenomenal.”
Canadian mining company RNC Minerals said the largest specimen weighs 210 pounds and contains more than 2,400 ounces of gold—worth about $3 million.
The second-largest weighed 139 pounds, which yielded around 1,600 ounces of gold valued at $2 million.
‘Among the Largest Ever Discovered’
Mark Selby, president of RNC, said in a statement that the gold could “rank among the largest ever discovered.”
He said the company planned to auction off the largest pieces.
“Given the rarity of the rock, and the physical beauty and presentation of the gold that’s there, it’s a very spectacular stone in multiple ways so we’ll see whether 20, 30, or even 50 percent premiums apply here,” Selby told the ABC.
“When you look at nuggets, which are a solid piece of gold, the biggest are around 2,000 ounces, so this is right up there in terms of the largest specimens we’ve ever seen,” he said.
The gold was discovered by miner Henry Dole, who told the ABC it was like hitting the “mother lode.”
Dole used explosives in the mine as usual, but when he went to look he saw “gold everywhere,” he said.
“I’ve been an airleg miner for 16 years. Never in my life have I ever seen anything like this. There was chunks of gold in the face, on the ground, truly unique I reckon. I nearly fell over looking at it … we were picking it up for hours,” he said.
As a result of the find, security has been enhanced at the mine, with armed guards transporting the gold to a secure vault.
Dole believes more gold may be found at the mine and that the find had picked morale up in the small town of Kambalda, where the mine is located.
“I truly believe there’s something bigger and better down there,” he said. “I reckon we’re just on the fringe of it … and if we get deeper I reckon we’ll find more.”