Miners in Western Australia have unearthed more than 9,000 ounces of gold from a single blast over the past few days. That’s more than 560 pounds (255 kilograms), or $10 million of gold if you want to just cash it in.
The quartz rocks encrusted with gold were found in Beta Hunt, primarily a nickel mine, in the town of Kambalda, in an area of Australia known as the Goldfields.
Miner Henry Dole is credited with hitting the mother lode. “I’ve been an airleg miner for 16 years. Never in my life have I ever seen anything like this,” he told ABC News. “I nearly fell over looking at it … we were picking it up for hours.”
The mine is owned by RNC Minerals of Canada, which plans to auction off some of the most impressive specimens. The largest rock weighs more than 200 pounds and is covered in an estimated 2,400 ounces of high-grade gold —a $2.9 million find.
“Given the rarity of the rock, and the physical beauty and presentation of the gold that’s there, it’s a very spectacular stone in multiple ways, so we’ll see whether 20, 30 or even 50% premiums apply here,” RNC President Mark Selby told ABC News. “We’re really looking forward to auctioning the key stones off over the coming weeks. There’s a pretty select group of collectors who this would appeal to. When you look at nuggets, which are a solid piece of gold, the biggest are around 2,000 ounces, so this is right up there in terms of the largest specimens we’ve ever seen.”
RNC reported mining a total of 13,320 ounces of gold from Beta Hunt in the previous quarter. Most gold in Western Australia is processed into gold bars to sell to the Perth Mint. The mine itself is actually on the market — RNC is trying to find a buyer willing to fund more exploration drilling. “We believe that a different set of management should be running the asset with the right amount of capital to take it forward,” Selby said.
The gigantic find has raised spirits in Kambalda. “It’s good for the town, the mine life, all of that. I truly believe there’s something bigger and better down there,” Dole told ABC News. “I reckon we’re just on the fringe of it … and if we get deeper, I reckon we’ll find more.”