An amateur gold digger armed with an inexpensive metal detector has hit the jackpot in Australia after finding a 4.6kg gold nugget worth about $160,000 (A$240,000).
The man, who chose to remain anonymous, made the discovery in the goldfields of the state of Victoria, which was the heart of Australia’s gold rush in the 1800s.
He took his discovery to a prospecting store nearby run by Darren Kamp, who valued and bought the specimen.
“He pulled this rock out and as he dropped it into my hand he said, ‘Do you think there’s A$10,000 worth in it?'”
“I looked at him and said, ‘Try A$100,000’”, Kamp told 9 News Australia.
He then learned the piece he was looking at was just half of the nugget.
“All up, the 4.6kg rock contained 83 ounces – or about 2.6kg – of gold,” he said.
The prospector used a Minelab Equinox 800 detector that costs about $800 (A$1,200), the lowest end of the tool’s price range, according to Kamp.
He noted that if the nugget had been buried 12 inches deeper it would have been impossible for the man’s machine to detect it. That’s why Kamp named the find “Lucky Strike”, which is also the name of his prospecting store.
The location where the nugget was found is the same that in 1869 yielded Australia’s largest. Found by two miners, who called it the “Welcome Stranger,” this 154-pound nugget measured 24 inches across.