The Y-shaped nugget, weighing 5.5kg (177 ounces), was buried 60cm beneath the ground near the town of Ballarat in Victoria. Local experts said they could not recall any nugget even approaching that size being discovered in the area previously.
The prospector, who has not been named, was using a top-of-the-line handheld metal detector when he found the nugget. Video footage of the find was posted online by user TroyAurum, who wrote that the prospector described the sound given off by the detector as being “like the bonnet of a car through the headphones”.
“I have been a prospector and dealer for two decades, and cannot remember the last time a nugget over 100 ounces (2.8kg) has been found locally,” Cordell Kent, owner of the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop, told Australian media.
“If you are silly enough to melt it down, it would be worth just under AUS $300,000 on market value but as a nugget at this size and shape, it’s worth significantly more than that,” he was quoted as saying.
“It’s extremely significant as a mineral specimen. We are 162 years into a gold rush and Ballarat is still producing nuggets – it’s unheard of.”