LONDON -- An Australian man has quite literally struck gold.
He discovered a rare gold nugget worth about 240,000 Australian dollars, or about $160,000, while scanning Victoria’s “Golden Triangle” with his metal detector.
The man, who did not wish to be named, was scanning the area between Ballart, Bendigo and St. Arnaud, which was popular Victoria’s famous gold rush in the 1850s, when his Minelab Equinox 800 metal detector started to beep.
It was there that he unearthed a 4.6 kg rock, which contained 2.6 kg of gold.
Inquisitive about the rock’s worth, the man put it in his backpack to took it to Darren and Leanne Kamp at Lucky Strike Gold in Geelong, a city nearby, for appraisal.
Lucky Strike Gold told ABC News that in 43 years of working in the industry evaluating and prospecting gold, they have never encountered a gold nugget of this size.
“We are in a unique position to see lots of gold nuggets come through the door to be sold or shown off by prospectors,” Leanne Kamp told ABC News. “Darren, himself, has found gold nuggets weighing 24 oz, 16 oz, 10 oz, 8 oz, 6 oz, but nothing as big as this!”
She added, “The gold specimen was originally very dirty so the prospector broke it into two, thinking that there may be a solid nugget inside. However, it turned out that it was riddled with gold from the outside in."
The prospector had thought the piece migh be worth about 10,000 Australian dollars, but "when he placed it into Darren's hand, it was immediately apparent due to its significant weight that it was worth more like 100,000," Leanne said.
“Just on gold price alone, the valuation came in at 240,000 Australian dollars, however nuggets like these fetch a premium price because of their rarity," she said.
Victoria’s “Golden Triangle” is known for producing some of the largest and purest gold nuggets in the world. It was there that the “Hand of Faith” -- the biggest known golden nugget -- was discovered in 1980, weighing 876 ozs. That nugget currently resides in Las Vegas’ Golden Nugget Casino.
Equipped with a more expensive detector, the man who found $160,000 nugget said he's going back to see if he can strike gold again.