Newsday, Australian gold miners make 'once-in-a-lifetime' discovery

Kambalda the Western Australian town where the discovery was made has been fighting for survival with low prices of nickel forcing four large mines to close in three years

Newsday, Australian gold miners make 'once-in-a-lifetime' discovery

It took three people to lift the 90kg specimen onto a utility vehicle when it was found, so it could be brought to the surface for further inspection.

The Beta Hunt mine had primarily been running as a nickel operation until last week's discovery. The largest is 95 kilograms and contains approximately 2,440 ounces of gold. "These discoveries highlight the high-grade gold potential of Beta Hunt". "This is an exceedingly rare find and very exciting", Prof Spearing said. RNC Minerals said it had extracted 2,200 grams per tonne. Geologists are calling it a "once-in-a-lifetime discovery" especially since mining in the area had traditionally been geared towards nickel.

"You might go your whole life and you'll never see anything like it".

Selby said the first of the two boulders could be the "largest gold nugget" ever discovered.

"This is the sort of find that you would associate with the 1860s Gold Rush and will probably cause a boom in exploration", he said.

Airleg driller, Henry Dole, has been credited with the find and after 16 years in the industry, the Kambalda resident told Perth Now that he's never seen anything like it.

RNC Minerals said on Monday it had found a 95kg stone containing 2,440oz of gold and a 63kg specimen containing an estimated 1,620oz at its Beta Hunt mine in Western Australia.

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The discovery by RNC nearly 150 years after that discovery comes amid a resurgence in Australia's gold industry, with companies ploughing a record A$223m ($158m) into exploration in the June quarter - up 16% on the same period a year earlier.

CEO of RNC Minerals mark Selby said that the largest blocks of ore will be sold at auction. There was chunks of gold in the face, on the ground, truly unique I reckon. "I almost fell over looking at it ... we were picking it up for hours", he said.

He said the real question, unanswerable without more information, is whether the gold comes from a vein that will quickly "pinch out or whether it stays wide".

"I'm really lucky to be seeing this - it's a rarity", he said.

The Beta Hunt Mine has been up for sale since March.

Armed guards have been transporting the gold to a secure vault. "Obviously with this find going forward we won't have any shortage of capital to make that happen and we think we'll have a very long bright future to build a very big mine at Beta Hunt going forward".

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