Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

RNC Minerals finds $15mn of gold in Western Australia's Beta Hunt mine

RNC Minerals finds $15mn of gold in Western Australia's Beta Hunt mine

The Beta Hunt mine had primarily been running as a nickel operation until last week's discovery.

"When you look at nuggets, which are a solid piece of gold, the biggest are around 2,000 ounces, so this is right up there in terms of the largest specimens we've ever seen", he said. "This is an exceedingly rare find and very exciting", he added.

RNC said it is the first owner of the Beta Hunt Mine to focus on deeper drilling in the Lunnon Basalt in its search for gold, and therefore the first owner to discover and mine gold from newly discovered coarse gold located entirely within the Lunnon Basalt.

"Never in my life have I ever seen anything like this", he told ABC News.

Two quartz rocks containing gold have been removed from 500 metres underground, the biggest of which weighs 90 kilograms and contains an estimated 2,300 ounces of gold, worth 2.7 million USA dollars at today's price.

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.

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Previous bonanza grade specimen stone occurrences at Beta Hunt, says the company, were associated with the nickel-sulphide bearing contact between the Lunnon Basalt and the overlying Kambalda Komatiite, where RNC and previous operators have mostly mined nickel.

The discovery by RNC nearly 150 years after that discovery comes amid a resurgence in Australia's gold industry, with companies ploughing a record A$223m ($158m) into exploration in the June quarter - up 16% on the same period a year earlier. There was chunks of gold in the face, on the ground, truly unique I reckon.

RNC Minerals reported a total haul of quartz and gold nuggets in excess of 190kg, "the largest of which is 95kg with an estimated gold content of 2,440oz and a second large specimen stone of 63kg with an estimated gold content of 1,620oz". "I almost fell over looking at it ... we were picking it up for hours".

Security has been reinforced at the mine with armed guards on site transporting any and all new discoveries to a secure vault before being shipped to the Perth mint.

The mine's Canadian owners, RNC Minerals, are planning an auction for the large specimens.

"Very, very seldom do we see results on that level".

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