There's gold in them thar Ballarat, Australia. Really big gold.
A 12-pound gold nugget, worth perhaps $500,000, was dug up Wednesday by a prospector using a $6,000 metal detector, local news site the Courier reported. A good investment, we'd say.
The identity of the prospector and exact location of the find remain secret, but the Courier wrote that the man took the mega-nugget to the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop to confirm his incredible fortune. Shop owner Cordell Kent said the nugget was unearthed nearly two feet below the land surface.
Melted down, the "nugget" would be worth about $300,000, but its rarity multiplies its value, Kent said.
Kent told Australian news site Adelaide Now that the prospector heard a faint alert on his detector and scooped up a pile of leaf mulch before digging. The miner thought he had uncovered a gold car part at first but, to his disbelief, kept unearthing a bigger and bigger chunk of real gold.
"It’s extremely significant as a mineral specimen," Kent said via Adelaide Now. "We are 162 years into a gold rush and Ballarat is still producing nuggets -- it’s unheard of." Gold was first discovered in Ballarat in 1851, and 20,000 miners had descended on the place by 1853. Just last July, an eight-pound nugget was uncovered in the region.
Kent said, per the website, that the discovery will create a new gold rush and provide a "life-changer" for the finder. "He is going to pay off a lot of bills and pay off his house," Kent remarked.
As huge as the nugget is, it's a mere pebble compared to the Holtermann Nugget found in Hill End in New South Wales, Australia, in 1872. It weighed 639 pounds, and is considered by many to be the largest single mass of gold ever found.
All this talk of instant riches giving you the bug? The gold detector used by the Ballarat prospector is reportedly a Minelab GPX-5000. We found a used one on eBay for $5,180.
Let the rush begin!