Kitco News The fascinating Australian find totalling about 9,250 ounces of gold and worth around $11 million is too “extraordinary” to export and needs to be bought out by Australia’s government and put up for public display, according to a gold expert.
“These … specimens are part of Australia’s heritage and particularly Western Australia’s heritage,” said Sandra Close, the director of Melbourne-based gold mining consultancy Surbiton Associates. “They should be purchased by the Commonwealth and/or the WA State Government and put on permanent display, to remind locals and overseas visitors of the enormous influence that gold has had on the development and settlement of this country.”
Last month, Toronto-based junior miner Royal Nickel Corp. (TSX: RNX) made headlines around the world with its discovery of two specimens — a 95-kilogram stone containing 2,440 ounces of gold and a 63-kilogram stone containing 1,620 ounces of gold.
Both were found at RNC Mineral’s Beta Hung mine in the Kambalda mining district in Western Australia (WA).
Close described the larger stone as “the biggest, most valuable, natural mass of gold existing today.”
She also noted that both specimens were mined underground and were not gold nuggets found near the surface.
Close pointed out that the RNC owns the newly discovered stones and the company’s shareholders need to be the ones who benefit from the sale.
“The two outstanding specimens should be valued by a number of independent experts and then purchased at that valuation,” Close said. “They would make a wonderful exhibit and tourist attraction on display at, say, the Perth Mint.”
According to Close, Australians forget that their country is the world’s second largest gold producer and need to be reminded of the gold mining’s role in the Australian economy.
RNC Minerals said that the plan was to auction off both stone specimens, but added that it was open to finding another solution.
“Beta Hunt is part of WA and we want to make sure that we give back so at the end of the day we’ll make a decision that is compliant with all the regulations and basically, as a good corporate citizen, balances those considerations with the financial,” RNC Minerals chief executive Mark Selby told WAtoday on Thursday. “We would be happy to come to something that works for everybody.”
But, the WA state government has signalled that the purchase of either of the stones would not be fair to taxpayers.
“The state government does not own the gold nuggets and it is up to RNC Minerals on what they decide to do with them or who they sell them to,” WAtoday quoted a government spokeswoman as saying. “Purchasing them for up to $7 million would not be an appropriate way to spend WA taxpayers’ money.”
Both stones will be on display at the Perth Mint next week and then taken to on a global tour to North America, Europe and Asia.