An amateur prospector in the Australian state of Victoria has astonished experts by unearthing a gold nugget weighing 5.5kg (177 ounces). The unidentified man, using a handheld metal detector, found the nugget on Wednesday, lying 60cm underground near the town of Ballarat. Its value has been estimated at more than A$300,000 (£197,000, $315,000 ).
Local gold experts say gold has been prospected in the area for decades, but
no such discovery had been made before. "I have been a prospector and dealer for two decades, and cannot remember the
last time a nugget over 100 ounces (2.8kg) has been found locally," said Cordell
Kent, owner of the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop. "It's extremely significant as a mineral specimen. We are 162 years into a
gold rush and Ballarat is still producing nuggets - it's unheard of."
Gold currently trades in Australia at about A$1,600 per ounce, meaning the
discovery would be worth about A$283,200, but its rarity and the fact it weighs
more than a kilogram would add a premium, said Mr Kent. He said the prospector had been using a state-of-the-art
metal detector, which meant he was able to find the gold relatively deep
underground in an area which had been searched many times in the past.
The man had only made small finds before, he said, but was a "person that
really deserved it". "A finding like this gives people hope. It's my dream to find something like
that, and I've been prospecting for more than two decades." I've got no doubt there will be a lot of people who will be very
enthusiastic about the goldfields again, it gives people hope," said Mr
Kent. "There's nothing like digging up money, it's good fun."