Last weekend the Western Australian gold prospectors assembled for their annual meeting at the pub in Ora Banda, a hamlet in the Western Australian outback. At the end of the meeting a nugget buyer from Perth, a guy named Andy Comas, made quite an interesting announcement: he recently acquired and sold a nugget weighing 23.26 kilogram, making it the world’s third largest gold nugget in existence (just after the Hand of Faith at 27.21 kg and the Normandy Nugget at 25.5 kg). When Andy showed a picture of the monster the bar went dead quiet. People just couldn’t take their eyes of it. This was of course what every prospector dreams of and keeps him going: the bloody big one!
The nugget had been found a couple of weeks ago with a metal detector somewhere in the goldfields around here. Through various tests it had been established that the thing has a 92% purity. With today’s gold price of around 40 US Dollars a gram, the gold value of this baby would be around 860.000 dollars. But of course, nuggets of that rarity go for two, three times the gold value.
Anyway, Andy said that the prospector who found it, and who wishes to remain anonymous, gave him a week to sell it. Andy sold it for an undisclosed sum within a couple of days to a buyer in the US. No Australian could come up with the money, somewhat surprising with all the filthy rich mining executives around here.
Most prospectors in the room expressed regret or even outrage that this nugget would leave the country – although no doubt they would have done the exact same thing: sell it to the highest bidder.
And they even might get their wish because the story doesn’t end here. The Australian government might declare the nugget a National Treasure – and I think they should – and then Andy wouldn’t be able to export it.
And remember: this hasn’t been reported on anywhere, you read it here first.
update: It seems like this nugget is not the third largest nugget in the world. Larger nuggets – even larger than the Hand of Faith – were found in the eighties in Brazil, and are kept in the museum of the Central Bank of Brazil. It seems the Pepita Canaã is the largest nugget in the world at 60.82 kg.
update 2: Picture of the frontpage of the Kalgoorlie Miner, annoucing the news below