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Updated: January 18, 2013 00:36 IST

Australian amateur explorer unearths 5.5-kg gold nugget

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A videograb from YouTube of the gold nugget weighing 5.5 kg found by an amateur prospector using a handheld metal detector on Jan. 16, 2013 in the Australian state of Victoria.
The Hindu A videograb from YouTube of the gold nugget weighing 5.5 kg found by an amateur prospector using a handheld metal detector on Jan. 16, 2013 in the Australian state of Victoria.

In a find of a lifetime, an amateur explorer in Australia has unearthed a gold nugget weighing an astonishing 5.5 kg.

The unidentified man, using a hand-held metal detector, found the nugget about 60 cm underground near the town of Ballarat on Wednesday.

The value of the nugget has been estimated at more than 300,000 Australian dollars ($ 315,000), The Herald Sun reported.

Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop owner and dealer Cordell Kent said the prospector heard a faint noise on his detector and removed a dense pile of leaf mulch before he started digging. “He thought he had detected the bonnet of a car when he saw a glint of gold,” said Mr. Kent.

“He cleaned the top of it and the gold kept expanding and expanding ... he saw more and more gold ... he couldn’t believe what he was seeing,” he said.

The nugget is worth actually about 282,000 Australian dollars in weight, but has an added premium because it is rare to find one over a kg, Mr. Kent said.

“I have been a prospector and dealer for two decades, and cannot remember the last time a nugget over 2.8kg has been found locally.

The find was unique with the nugget measuring at its longest 220 mm, 140 mm wide and 45 mm at its deepest point.

He said the finding would increase the enthusiasm of existing and new prospectors to Ballarat and the central Victorian gold-fields.

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