Sometimes, the greatest discoveries come with their fair share of beginner’s luck. An amateur gold hunter based in Victoria, Australia, literally struck gold armed only with an affordable metal detector. Having spotted a rock that could be loaded with this precious metal, he hoped to find maybe a tiny gold nugget inside that he could sell for some good money. When he took it to Lucky Strike Gold, a gold prospecting business, he was told by the owner that his finding was worth much more than he initially thought.
The rock is 4.6 kilograms (10.1 pounds), and contains about 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) of gold. Initially, the gold hunter found the rock to be very dirty and had a hard time spotting the gold on its surface. However, once it was cleaned by the prospector, the precious metal revealed itself. “You could see the gold just come oozing out of the rock everywhere,” Darren Kamp, the owner of Lucky Strike Gold told CNN.
“When it hit my hand, my jaw dropped with it,” Kamp recalls. “It was just incredible. Once-in-a-lifetime find.” The finder, who wants to remain anonymous, asked Kamp if there could be AU$10,000 (US$6,675) worth of gold in it, to which the owner replied ‘try $100,000.'” The best part? This was only part of the discovery, as the man had accidentally split the rock in two when unearthing it, and had another valuable piece at home. In the end, the gold was valued at AU$240,000 (US$160,000).
The rock—which has been named “Lucky Strike Nugget,” after the prospecting shop that unveiled its treasures—was found in an area known as the “Golden Triangle.” This region experienced a gold rush in the 19th century, and it is once again seeing a surge of gold hunters. Many people have picked up gold digging as a way to make some money given that the price of the precious metal is reaching an all-time high. The unnamed finder set out to find gold with a AU$1,200 (US$800) metal detector. “It just proves that a 1,200-dollar machine can find gold,” Kamp, who has been in the prospecting business for over 40 years, concluded.
Though he’s been in the business for many decades, the prospector admits he had “never seen a rock of this size with that amount of gold in it.” However, this is not the largest gold nugget to be found in the area. That honor still belongs to the “Welcome Stranger” nugget, found in 1869. It weighed 72 kilograms (158.7 pounds) and, according to IFL Science, if it was discovered today, the gold it contained could be worth over $2 million.
Since gold currently costs about AU$94 per gram (or US$1,988 per ounce), it's easy to understand the excitement about this discovery and any other pieces that could be hiding in the area. “It's well worth looking for,” said Kamp. “You only need two little bits and there's 200 (Australian) dollars basically.” As for the mysterious gold hunter, the store owner recalls what he said when he learned how much money his rock was worth: “Oh wow, the wife's going to be happy with that.”
An amateur gold hunter found a giant nugget loaded with 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) of gold with the help of an affordable metal detector. It was later valued at AU$240,000 (US$160,000).
“When it hit my hand, my jaw dropped with it. It was just incredible. Once-in-a-lifetime find,” said Darren Kamp, owner of the prospecting business where the valuable rock was taken to.