Skip to main content

Gold nugget worth $300,000 discovered in Australia

By Ramy Inocencio, for CNN
January 18, 2013 -- Updated 0904 GMT (1704 HKT)
Photograph of a 5.5 kilogram gold nugget found in Australia with a metal detector.
Photograph of a 5.5 kilogram gold nugget found in Australia with a metal detector.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Amateur Australian prospector unearths 5.5 kilogram golden nugget
  • Experts say value of gold nugget at least $300,000
  • Gold first found around city of Ballarat in 1851

(CNN) -- One Australian gold prospector has hit pay dirt.

The man, described as an amateur explorer who wants to remain anonymous, unearthed a 5.5 kilogram golden nugget 60 centimeters in the ground outside Ballarat, a city about an hour and a half drive west of Melbourne.

Experts say the value of the find is at least $300,000.

"He came in to my shop at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and had a grin from ear to ear," Cordell Kent, owner of The Mining Exchange Gold Shop, told CNN. "His eyes were sparkling."

The 47-year resident of Ballarat says that gold has been continuously found in the region since 1851, but technology has recently become an essential aid for modern prospectors.

"In the last 10 years it's gotten very, very hard to find nuggets over a kilo, so this (5.5 kilogram) one is extremely rare," says Kent. "In the old days miners could only see or feel gold - but now with detectors they can hear it."

A Minelab GPX Model 5000 metal detector was used to find the nugget, Kent says. In Australia, the machine retails for nearly $7,000, according to Gary Shmith, Minelab's General Manager for the Asia Pacific.

Shmith expects collectors may already be eyeing a potential purchase of the Ballarat nugget because of its rarity.

"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 says the lucky prospector is back at work, "detecting right as we speak."

"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."

While many people in the region have been searching for gold for decades, Kent's friend only started last year.

Other prospectors - old and new - will hope that they will be as lucky.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea -- the three countries facing the biggest health crisis -- are also facing huge bills to try and contain the virus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
Twitter has lost its position in the top 20 coolest brands for the first time in three years.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
As the crisis in Iraq escalates, CNN looks at how Iraq could crack down on ISIS' oil riches under the guidance of its new oil minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0842 GMT (1642 HKT)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is Turkey's new president . So can he revitalize its economic fortunes?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT)
Experts share their tips on cities they see as emerging financial hubs...they're not where you think.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1340 GMT (2140 HKT)
Growing numbers of us are willing to serve as bank, teacher or travel agent to people we have never met, and entrust them to serve us in turn.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
The European Union is stepping in to save its dairy from going sour.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1236 GMT (2036 HKT)
Europe's deteriorating relationship with Russia has hit the region's growth, even before new food sanctions begin to bite.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
With cyberattacks on the rise and here to stay, it's a modern-day challenge for people and businesses to get smarter about preventing them.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
Airstrikes, rebels seizing control of oil fields, plus a severe refugee crisis are a recipe for market panic. So why are Iraq oil prices stable?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Peer-to-peer finance lets businesses bypass bank loans. Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Evidence points to pro-Russian separatists as perpetrators of the attack and Vladimir Putin is facing questions, David Clark writes.
September 3, 2014 -- Updated 0952 GMT (1752 HKT)
CNN's Jim Boulden looks on the future of online shopping.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)
The biggest Ebola outbreak in history is taking its toll in Western Africa, hitting some of West Africa's most vulnerable economies.
ADVERTISEMENT