Blog Histories of Gold #3: Striking the Mother Lode in Australia

Histories of Gold #3: Striking the Mother Lode in Australia

It’s not every day your typical gold miner unearths an internationally recognized find—especially in a mine primarily used to extract nickel. In 2018, Henry Dole discovered a mother lode containing roughly 9,250 ounces of raw gold after laborers excavated the site.

The Find of the Century
As Dole hosed down the dust-laden ground, he saw gold along the length of the tunnel, “as far as you could see.” What’s particularly impressive about this find is the ratio of gold to rock.

The average miner recovers less than one ounce of gold for every 2,200 pounds of rock mined. A staggering 77 ounces of gold per 2,200 pounds of rock was found among the individual stones cut from Canadian-owned Beta Hunt Mine, which sits nearly 400 miles east of Perth.

A Perfect Environment for Gold Growth
One stone weighed more than 200 pounds and contained 2,440 ounces, while another 140-pound fragment held 1,620 ounces of high-grade gold. It may be common to collect a few ounces of gold at once in the Australian Gold Fields, but the last occurrence of a deposit this large was recorded in 1869.

The “Welcome Stranger,” one of the world’s biggest gold nuggets, weighed 145 pounds and would be worth $3.4 million today. In total, more than $10 million in gold occupied the section of the Beta Hunt Mine where Henry Dole was stationed.