Blog Histories of Gold #3: Striking the Australian Mother Lode
Possibly Australian gold

Histories of Gold #3: Striking the Australian Mother Lode

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 in Australia 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. Dole found a staggering 77 ounces of gold per 2,200 pounds of rock among the individual stones cut from Canadian-owned Beta Hunt Mine. The gold amount now sits nearly 400 miles east of the Australian city of Perth.

A Perfect Environment for Gold Growth

One stone weighed more than 200 pounds and contained 2,440 ounces. At the same time, another 140-pound fragment held 1,620 ounces of high-grade gold. A miner might commonly collect a few ounces of gold at once in the Australian Gold Fields, but the last finding of a deposit this large occurred 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 stationed.

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