Prospector Unearths Huge 'Duck’s Foot' Nugget
October 2018 by Scott Harn
A retired gold prospector spent hours digging up his fortune in the northern goldfields near Kambalda, Western Australia, after finding the target with his metal detector.
The prospector, who wishes to remain anonymous, was not far from the site of the rich gold discovery made by Royal Nickel Corp. that we reported earlier in this issue.
The nugget is being called the “Duck’s Foot” due to its unique shape. It’s nearly 104 troy ounces, and testing indicated it contained 68 troy ounces of gold.
“When I had finished digging it out, I just thought ‘Oh my God,’” he said.
“There’s an amazing feeling of joy when you find a gold nugget, even a small one, so when I uncovered this one it was really a special moment. I have been going to the same spot for years but with a better detector, better technology, I keep finding gold in patches I’ve been over many times. I can’t believe the amount I’ve left behind,” he said.
The prospector said he camps out for weeks or sometimes months at a time. Prior to the “Duck’s Foot” nugget, he already found a smaller nugget that was large enough to pay for the entire expedition, and he recovered six nuggets on this trip.
“That meant the pressure was off and I could relax a bit,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. “I started looking for deep signals in ground I’d gone over before,” he added.
The prospector said the “Duck’s Foot” nugget was down deep—about 31 inches below the surface—and in clay soil. It took him two hours digging carefully to recover it.
He took the nugget with him to visit his friend Rob Anderson, who operates the Prospectors Pick in Banbury, Western Australia, and allowed Anderson to photograph the nugget.
Anderson said he’s known the prospector for a long time. “I think it’s fair to say he’s been very successful over the years,” said Anderson.
The gold bullion value is about $82,000 at current prices, but the prospector will likely get considerably more due to the rarity of large nuggets.
For years, ICMJ writers, many of whom are expert prospectors, have suggested to our readers that persistence, patience and in this case some newer technology, has its rewards.
Consider revisiting older patches with more than one type of detector, and take time to dig out signals that sound like deep targets. They may be trash, but then again, they may be a giant nugget shaped like a duck’s foot.
Lots of prospectors are trying out nugget detecting for the first time and finding out that it isn’t all that easy. In fact, in my opinion, metal detecting for nuggets is perhaps the most difficult form of prospecting that one can take on.
When you approach a location, even if you've been there before, you should consider all the factors and conditions present at the site. This includes both natural and man-made factors.
Detectors have been around for decades now. And with thousands of them swinging, many of the best or at least most likely nugget places have seen a swinging coil. The part that amazes me is that so many nuggets still get pulled out of these seemingly pounded places.
We all love to see that first glimmer of gold when it peeks out from under the black sand in our pan, or feel the weight of a nugget in our scoop when we dig a good target. But sometimes things don’t go quite so smoothly.
Oscar Espinoza considers himself an amateur gold prospector, but the gold nugget he recently found puts many seasoned prospectors to shame.
“Metal detecting is not a social function.” So said a good friend of mine. And it’s true. But that’s not to say the benefits of having a prospecting partner don’t outweigh those of being alone.
As I arrived at my detecting location, I got all my gear and headed up the trail. I had to stop and take in the devastation all around me.
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