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Aussie hobbyist unearths four-kilo gold nugget

August 25th, 2016

by Greg Klein | August 25, 2016

Gold-seekers have scoured the area since the 1850s but overlooked this one—a nugget weighing in at 4.121 kilograms or 132.5 ounces. The August 26 (Down Under calendar) discovery was the anonymous hobbyist’s second find in two days, following a nine-ounce nugget and demonstrating the enduring potential of Victoria state’s Golden Triangle.

Aussie hobbyist unearths four-kilo gold nugget

“I was in total disbelief as I didn’t think nuggets of this size were still around,” the Age quoted the prospector. Initially mistaking a lump in the ground for the tip of a horseshoe, he dug a mere 30 centimetres to unearth the treasure. The previous find came from a depth of 60 centimetres.

The Age said he’d been working the area on weekends for about a decade. Now sitting in a bank vault, the nugget’s slated for the auction block.

Five of the world’s 10 biggest nuggets, including the top three, came from Victoria, according to the Discovery Channel. The biggest, Welcome Stranger, was a 72.02-kilogram whopper found in 1869. Following in size were the 68-kilo Welcome nugget found in 1858 and the 27.2-kilo Hand of Faith, found with a metal detector in 1980.

The Golden Triangle hosts a number of storied mining camps and towns including Ballarat, Bendigo and Mount Alexander. The 1854 miners’ rebellion at the Eureka Stockade near Ballarat ended with dozens of deaths but helped bring responsible government to the colony.

Australia’s promise to assist BHP with its Olympic Dam expansion a “cruel hoax”

December 17th, 2013

by Cecilia Jamasmie | December 16, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

The Australian government has vowed to help BHP Billiton NYE:BHP, the world’s largest mining company, go ahead with an estimated $33-billion expansion of its Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine, shelved last year as metal prices sank and costs rose.

“I want to ensure that as far as is humanly possible everything that government does is directed towards making it easier, not harder, for this iconic project to go ahead,” Bloomberg quotes Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Australia’s promise to assist BHP with its Olympic Dam expansion a cruel hoax

The mine expansion was cancelled in 2012
with sinking metal prices and rising costs.
(Photo: BHP Billiton)

But South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is calling Abbott’s comments “a cruel hoax” as Weatherill claims to have spoken with BHP management last week and there was no indication of any plans to resume expansion of the mine.

His state is facing massive job losses as General Motors’ NYE:GM Holden unit will stop production in 2017 after 69 years, laying off about 2,900 workers in the state and in neighbouring Victoria.

“The impracticality and the illusion of that is a bit of an unfair thing to hold in front of those workers right at this moment,” Weatherill told the Herald Sun Monday.

“We need to work with those businesses which do have the capacity to expand their operations to ensure that they do that more quickly,” he added.

In September, chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said BHP would provide an update on the shelved $30-billion project in 2014, but any expanded mine site at Roxby Downs in South Australia’s far north was unlikely without a technological breakthrough.

Doubts about the lauded project first emerged in early 2012 when BHP told markets of its intention to cut back an $80-billion capex programme. A JP Morgan research note a few weeks later also suggested the Olympic Dam would not go ahead “for at least three or four years, if at all.”

The ambitious project in South Australia’s outback is expected to become the world’s largest uranium mine. It included the construction of 270 kilometres of powerlines, a 400-kilometre pipeline, a new desalination plant and a 105-kilometre railway.

The Olympic Dam, Australia’s largest underground mine, currently employs over 3,500 people.

Reprinted by permission of

Week in review

January 18th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for January 12 to 18, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Colombia kidnap victims still missing

By press time Friday, little was known about the five people abducted earlier in the day from Braeval Mining’s TSX:BVL Snow Mine gold project in northern Colombia. The three employees and two consultants included a Canadian, two Colombians and two Peruvians. The Peruvian consulate identified two victims as Javier Leandro Ochoa and Jose Antonio Mamani. The other names haven’t been released.

Colombian kidnap victims still missing

Military sources say the victims were abducted
in a rural area of Norosi municipality, in Bolivar department.

The hostages were taken by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in a region described as a traditional ELN stronghold, the Globe and Mail reported. With an estimated 1,500 members, the ELN is much smaller than the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), news reports stated.

Although FARC holds peace negotiations with the government, “the ELN has been seeking peace talks … without success. Unlike the FARC, it has not renounced ransom kidnappings,” according to the G&M.

“Miners in Colombia have traditionally paid tributes, or ‘war taxes,’ to rebels and other illegal armed groups,” the paper added.

Geologist gets jail

A Vancouver court handed former mining executive John Gregory Paterson a six-year prison sentence for his faked assay scam, the CBC reported on Friday. Paterson pleaded guilty last September to four counts of fraud.

As CEO of Southwestern Resources and a qualified person, Paterson signed off on 433 assays that he invented between 2003 and 2007. His make-belief numbers were used in a 2005 PEA for the Boka Gold Project in China.

According to the CBC, Paterson’s lawyers told a sentencing hearing that “he suffers from severe depression and argued he didn’t carry out the fraud to line his pockets. Instead, Paterson was motivated by wishful thinking and a crippling fear of failure.”

But the Crown prosecutor told court how investors suddenly lost their savings. “Really, the floor fell out from underneath them,” the CBC quoted him. “It was an absolute shock and a terrible loss.”

Read more about Paterson’s Boka gold scam here.

Land claims clash with claim-staking

A possible overhaul of British Columbia’s claim-staking process could give natives more power to block early-stage exploration on Crown land. A Monday Vancouver Sun article discussed implications of a December decision by the Yukon Court of Appeal, which ruled that the territorial government must consult and “accommodate” the Ross River Dena Council before awarding mineral claims within the Ross River area.

So far the ruling concerns a region surrounding one native band. But it might have wider repercussions within the Yukon and B.C. As the Sun pointed out, the three judges behind the decision also sit on the B.C. Court of Appeal, “meaning they could rule similarly in any separate B.C. case.”

Mining Association of B.C. spokesperson Zoe Younger told the Sun that B.C., unlike the Yukon, doesn’t automatically approve exploration once a claim has been staked. Different circumstances “have different trigger points and thresholds,” she said.

Nevertheless the Sun stated that Andrew Gage, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, “called the Yukon decision ‘hugely significant’ and urged the B.C. government to take notice or face the prospect of more litigation with the same results in this province.”

In a statement issued Monday, the Association for Mineral Exploration B.C. said, “We are encouraging the Yukon government, First Nations and Yukon Chamber of Mines to work together to resolve this issue in a practical way that brings certainty to everyone. AME BC is supporting YCM and following this important file closely. The government of Yukon has been given 60 days to determine if it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

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