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.
The first thing I realized was this was not a toy—this thing had power and I needed to really pay attention. I got into position, took a deep breath, and pushed that monster into the hard pack.
“Much of the ground where Ms. Hollingshead found her diamond is made of unweathered volcanic rock. When it rains, flowing runoff often leaves loose gravel, and sometimes diamonds, on the surface in these areas.”
Kimberlite is very difficult for geologists to find, let alone prospectors and rock hounds. This is because kimberlite is rarely exposed on the surface and few people know how to identify the rock.
He excitedly told me he was going mining and wanted to know where he should go, how to do it, and so on. After he calmed down, I got excited. “I need to go!” was my response.
There are a few questions you will need to ask yourself before you apply for a suction dredge permit from the State Water Resources Control Board.
Doubters be informed, yes, there is gold in Africa—lots of gold—and all the good and bad that comes with it.
Patience and persistence is the name of the game when you are detecting this way for gold, as you will have to do a lot of work preparing the ground to detect with any degree of success.
The Bawl Mill • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Ask The Experts - A few questions about 'peak gold' • Ask The Experts - Seeking advice on processing pocket gold • Ask The Experts - How do I recover gold in pyrite? • Ask The Experts - Can a British citizen purchase a mining claim? • Ask The Experts - Is California dredging going to return in 2019? • Ask The Experts - Were you aware of the new recording fee in California? • The Unusual Forest Nugget Patch • California Sniping • Large Gold Deposit Types • PLP Update • A Father’s Day to Remember: 24,000 Ounces Gold in Quartz • How to Beat the Heat--and The Bedrock • Gold Prospecting: For Better or Worse--It Was A Dark and Overcast Night • Using Geologic Publications to Discover Collecting Sites • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices