12 Pound Gold Nugget Found in Southeastern Australia

A lucky prospector in Australia found a 12-pound gold nugget in a popular prospecting site in the southeastern corner of the country.

The massive nugget, weighing an astounding 177 ounces, has an estimated market value of $365,000 if it was to be melted down and sold, but the find could bring in significantly more money should it be sold at auction.

The name of the person who found the nugget and the exact location have not been made known, but reports from Australia indicate the nugget was brought to a local mining shop Victoria to have it analyzed.

Cordell Kent, owner of The Mining Exchange Gold Shop in Ballarat, revealed the gold nugget was found about 20 miles away from downtown Ballarat. The prospector used a Minelab GPX-5000 detector, which costs about $6,000, to uncover the nugget, which was resting two feet below the surface.

"Over that period the sum total of my finds would be just over 100 ounces," Kent told the Courier.

"We have 800 prospectors on our books and only a couple of those have ever found a nugget over 100 ounces … so there's only been one or two big pieces and they were found a long time ago," he added.

Kent is currently looking for a buyer for the nugget on behalf of the prospector who wishes to remain unidentified.

Kent said prospecting was becoming increasingly popular since gold has breached $1,600 per ounce.

"A lot of people think Victoria's goldfields are dead and that there's none left, but he (the prospector) has worked in an area where a lot of people have worked in the past but he persisted and he's been rewarded,' Kent said. "We are 162 years into the gold rush and it's never totally waned, it's just changed."

Kent said the nugget was uncovered on Wednesday morning, but did not reveal the location of the find.