A prospector made an extraordinary discovery yesterday, when he found an "incredibly rare" 12-pound (5.5-kilogram) gold nugget under only 23 inches of dirt. The total price for such a happy unearthing: a whopping $300,000. And he found it in a place where hundreds searched before, all thanks to state-of-the-art technology.
And it could be even more than that. At current market prices, 12 pounds of gold will get you 298,697 US dollars but, apparently it can reach a higher price because it's such a weird discovery. Geologists are impressed by the finding, which looks like howling jackal to me.
The anonymous prospector discovered the nugget in a field near the city of Ballarat, located on the Great Dividing Range in the state of Victoria, Australia, by the Yarrowee River. It's 8.66 inches (22 centimeters) on its longest side.
Cordell Kent, the owner of the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop, told the courier mail that the prospector was shocked by the discovery, just as much as himself: "He thought he had detected the bonnet of a car when he saw a glint of gold. He cleaned the top of it and the gold kept expanding and expanding... he saw more and more gold... he couldn't believe what he was seeing [...] We've got 800 local prospectors on our records. I cannot remember the last time we saw a nugget of this size."
Kent says that, surprisingly, Ballarat is still producing big nuggets after 162 years of gold rush. But this nugget is outstanding. The prospector found it in a nearby place where hundreds of gold diggers have searched before, which makes the event even more surprising. He believes that the difference may have been the equipment. The gold digger used a Minelab GPX-5000, a state-of-the-art metal detector that goes for about $5,200. According to its marketing description:
The GPX 5000 sets the new benchmark in gold detecting technology. With an amazing range of features and functions the GPX 5000 is not only superior to its predecessor, the GPX-4500, and is in a class of its own. Featuring Minelab's exclusive technologies, Multi Period Sensing (MPS), Dual Voltage Technology (DVT) and Smart Electronic Timing Alignment (SETA), the high performance GPX 5000 is capable of finding more gold than ever before. From sub-gram nuggets to the elusive 'retirement nugget' and everything in between, with the GPX 5000, you can find it.
New improved electronics, new Soil/Timings and an amazing range of features combined with the legendary GPX ability to ‘see through ground' mineralisation, gives you a significant Depth Advantage over other detectors.
Well, it seems that the Minelab GPX-5000 works better than the competition, indeed. At least in this case. Best return of investment ever.
Record gold nuggets
While impressive and outstanding on its own right, this howling jackal is not the biggest gold nugget ever found. That's the Welcome Stranger. This beast:
It was found by John Deason and Richard Oates in 1869 near Moliagul, Victoria, Australia. It was 171.9 pounds (78 kilograms) gross, 156 pounds (71.0 kilograms) net. The previous record belonged to the Welcome Nugget, which was also found in Ballarat. The gold nuggets in Australia are the purest in the world, "often are 23K or slightly higher." [Courier Mail and Wikipedia]