KALGOORLIE, Australia – With just one blast, miners in Western Australia unearthed two large quartz rocks containing gold estimated to be worth about $11 million, bringing the cache to the surface over four days.
Australian miners often extract just 2g of gold per ton of rock—an expert says the gold particles are often too small to be seen by the naked eye—but in this case, Canadian mining company RNC Minerals says 2,200g per ton was extracted, the BBC reports.
“You might go your whole life and you’ll never see anything like it. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” a geologist tells Australia’s ABC News. The largest rocks will be auctioned as collector’s items, according to the RNC Minerals CEO.
The biggest one weighs between 200 and 210 pounds and contains more than 2,300 ounces of gold for a worth of about $3 million; the next biggest weighs 139 pounds and contains 1,600 ounces of gold for a worth of around $2 million.
The miner credited with discovering the gold describes it as the “mother lode,” telling ABC he’s never before seen anything like it: “I nearly fell over looking at it.”
The Beta Hunt mine, near Kalgoorlie, had primarily been a nickel mining operation, but RNC found traces of gold in June and then targeted the gold vein 1,600 feet underground; the gold was extracted from an area just 10 feet wide and 10 feet high.
“This sort of bonanza zone is incredibly unique,” the geologist notes.