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177 Ounces of Pure, Local Gold Found with Metal Detector in Australia

January 21, 2013 - A man has unearthed a massive gold nugget possibly worth more than $500,000 with a metal detector in Ballarat, Australia.

A local prospector discovered the nugget, at a weight of slightly more than five kilograms or 177 ounces, on Wednesday of last week. It was subsequently rushed in to the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop.

The exact location and the identity of the lucky prospector, described as a very private person, remain secret.

The very large gold nugget was found about 60 centimeters below the ground’s surface and found with a metal detector worth more than $6,000, the Minelab GPX-5000.

The market value of the weight of the gold is worth just under $300,000, a fairly nice take. However, the extreme rarity of the nugget, particularly its size, means it could be worth far more.

Gold Shop Owner Cordell Kent, who holds the nugget said, 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.

Mr. Kent added he could not remember a nugget that big ever being found locally.

The gold shop owner said many nuggets are found locally, and the prospector who had found the massive 177-ounce nugget had found many small pieces of gold before, though none worth more than $1,000.

He said up until yesterday, the smallest piece the prospector had found was a nugget about the size of one-quarter ounce.

Kent said the area is so far into a gold rush and they have years and years and years of hope ahead of them. It’s unbelievable he added.

The nugget is expected to be sold to a collector or possibly a museum. Given the size of the nugget, special permission would be required to sell it for export overseas.

Kent is predicting both a new rush of business to the area as well as a revival of older interest. The goldfields have been a playground for prospectors and each find is regarded well, but the current find will certainly bring a lot of very strong interest in Ballarat. Kent sees the news as a type of hope, which is necessary on a gold hunt.

He also said there’s nothing like digging up money, it’s good fun.


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Jonathan Monroe

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