One lucky prospector has hit pay dirt – literally. The man, who wished to remain anonymous, found a 12.12-lb nugget lodged just 23 inches beneath the surface just outside Ballarat, a town that lies on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia.
The amateur prospector took his discovery to the 47-year-old owner of The Mining Exchange Gold Shop, Cordell Kent. Kent, who is friends with the man, said the prospector only started searching for gold last year. The nugget was found using a metal detector in an area whose gold rush history dates back to the 1850s.
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“He came in to my shop at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and had a grin from ear to ear. His eyes were sparkling,” Kent told CNN.
The nugget is estimated to be worth about $300,000 at current market rates. However, given the rarity of such a large lump of metal, it will most likely fetch a higher price. Gary Shmith, who works for the metal detector company, Minelab, suggested to CNN that it would be highly sought after. “My guess is that it would sell at 20% or 30% above its weight in gold. A nice, small nugget would already sell for 10% to 15% above its weight in gold.”
Kent told CNN that the prospector has now gone back out to continue his search. “He doesn’t want anyone to know his bit of ground. There are only four people who know that he found it — he and his wife and me and my wife. And he’s hoping the one he found this week is a small piece and that there are bigger ones still out there.”