A two-kilogram gold nugget has been dug up on the outskirts of famous Central Victorian gold rush city Ballarat.
The happy prospector, a retiree who wished to remain anonymous, discovered the 63-ounce specimen using a metal detector.
Mark Day, who operates metal detector retailer Gold Ballarat, said there had already been offers of $160,000 for the nugget that the prospector has named “You Wouldn’t Believe It.”
“I’ve been in this business for 25 years and this is the biggest find we have seen by one of our customers – that they’ve told me about anyway,” he joked.
The man was using a Minelab GPX45000 detector and had recently come into Day’s store to upgrade the coil to one that was more sensitive.
A short while later, the prospector phoned Day and asked if he was interested in buying some ‘big gold.’
“I said I wasn’t a buyer and asked him what he meant by big. He said two kilos and I just said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding’,” Day said.
“When he showed me the nugget here in the store he was shaking like a leaf. He didn’t know what to do with it. He hadn’t slept in three days.”
The nugget was found about a metre down in old pasture land – below 30 centimetres of wash and about 15 centimetres of very hard clay. The location was within 150 kilometres of Ballarat, with the prospector keeping the specific site a secret for obvious reasons.
“He told me the detector made a noise and when he dug down a short way and found a .22 lead bullet and thought that was that. But the detector kept insisting there was something there, so he dug further and – bang – there it was,” Day said.
“History tells us that big finds like this have happened in this area before, and even though they’ve been digging gold in this region for 150 years, it’s still out there.”
With gold passing the $2000 per ounce mark, the nugget has a gold value of about $130,000, but collectors are offering a premium for the nugget’s rarity.
“People collect nuggets, they don’t want them melted down,” Day said. “And this one has real character to it. We were in awe when he brought it in. It really looks good.”
While the prospector might have retired from his original job, he certainly hasn’t retired from his new passion.
The prospector went back to Day’s store and purchased a top-of-the-range Minelab GPZ 7000 soon after his discovery, and is already enjoying further success.
“He certainly thinks there’s more gold out there,” Day said. “And after this, who can say he’s wrong?”