Prospecting for gold is not usually considered to be the most effective way of getting your hands on some of the much sort after precious metal. The traditional method of panning for gold (a la Klondike), and the modern equivalent of using a portable metal detector, are usually only good for finding small nuggets – that is unless you happen to be one lucky Australian man.
Largest Find in Recent History
Just outside the city of Ballarat, in Victoria, Australia, a so far unnamed prospector made a news breaking discovery. He unearthed a natural gold nugget weighing a considerable amount, at 5.5kg, or 177 ounces, from 60cm or 23.62 inches beneath the ground. The size of this gold nugget is easily the largest to be found in the region in recent history.
Prospecting Goes Hi-Tech
The unknown Aussie, who made the discovery, used a state of the art metal detector, which can locate metal below the ground at much deeper depths than earlier models. This goes some way to explaining why this particular prospector was able to make such an amazing discovery, on a site that has been previously prospected many times before. With the Australian gold per gram price at around $1,600 (Australian) per ounce, until the recent drop, this piece of metal would fetch around $283,200 (Australian) on weight alone. However, due to the unusual size of what is after all a mineral specimen, it is expected to fetch even more.
It looks as though hi-tech metal detector sales could now be expected to boom, as news of the find kindles a new excitement, and possibly a new Ballarat gold rush, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since 1851, could be sparked.
Australia – Home of the Large Gold Nugget
Australia is no stranger to producing large gold nuggets. In fact, as 8 out of the 10 of the largest nuggets ever found anywhere in the world hail from “down-under”, it could well be called the nugget capitol of the world. Here’s a selection of some of the more famous of the 10.
The Beyers and Holtermann Matrix – This was not actually a nugget. It was and still is however, the biggest gold “matrix” ever found. It was discovered in 1872 and weighed in at approximately 3,000 ounces.
The Welcome Stranger Nugget – The world’s biggest ever gold nugget, found in 1869. It weighed more than 2,284 ounces
The Welcome Nugget – Found in 1858, weighing 2,195 ounces
The Golden Eagle Nugget – Found in 1931 by a young schoolboy. It weighed 1,136 ounce.
The Hand of Faith Nugget – This has the distinction of being the largest ever gold nugget located by a metal detector. It was found in 1980 and weighed 875 ounces. It is still in the same form as when it was discovered.
Of Pebbles and Boulders
Comparing the new nugget recently found in Ballarat, which weighed in at a mere 177 ounces, is rather like comparing a pebble to a boulder, when viewed alongside the 5 monsters described above. But even so, there are many people out there who would have loved to have found it, and doubtless, hundreds of others may now be joining the queue for a new metal detector.