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Gold ‘Mother lode’ unearthed in Australia

Gold ‘Mother lode’ unearthed in Australia

Gold ‘Mother lode’ unearthed in Australia

Miners in Western Australia say they have discovered two huge gold-encrusted rocks that are each estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

Workers at the Beta Hunt mine near the small town of Kambalda, 630 kilometres east of Perth, have brought more than AU$15 million worth of gold specimens to the surface in just four days.

The gold-encrusted rocks were found about 500m below the surface in an area just 3m-wide and 3m-high.

The largest specimen weighs in at 90kg and took three men to lift it onto the back of a ute. The quartz rock is covered in an estimated 2300 ounces of gold worth about $3.8 million at today’s gold price. Another 60kg specimen is estimated to contain 1600 ounces, or about $2.6 million in gold.

One mining engineer described the finds as “exceedingly rare”.

“People do still record finding nuggets in the goldfields, but typically they are less than several ounces,” said Prof Sam Spearing, director of the Western Australia School of Mines at Curtin University.

Senior geologist Zaf Thanos said in most mines around the world it is only possible to see gold through a magnifying glass. “You might go your whole life and you’ll never see anything like it. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” he says.

The Beta Hunt mine had primarily been running as a nickel operation until last week’s discovery.

The company had targeted the gold vein, located 500m (1,600ft) underground, after finding traces of gold closer to the surface in June.

RNC Minerals chief executive Mark Selby said the largest rocks would go to auction as collector items. “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,” he says.

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