Australia's Koonenberry Gold Belt

 (Multi-ounce gold nuggets from the Koonenberry Gold Belt. Photo courtesy Eurasian Minerals Inc.)

For those of you interested in finding gold nuggets, Australia's Koonenberry Gold Belt may be just the ticket. Unlike most gold districts throughout the world, Koonenberry's discovery is credited to electronic prospectors using metal detectors. That has to be a first (at least in my book).

As the Aussies like to say, "Good on ya Mate!" and I couldn't agree more.

10,000-12,000 Troy Ounces

Despite their use of the latest metal detecting technology, those nugget shooters whose initial recoveries triggered both the finding and development of the Koonenberry Gold Belt in New South Wales are every bit the gold prospector as the old timers who came before them in the Australian goldfields. In this they should take great pride, despite the fact that Koonenberry has proven somewhat of a two-edged sword to them (as we'll see later).

Gold Pans
Gold Prospecting Books
Gold Panning Kits

Over the past few years nugget shooters have recovered an estimated 10,000-12,000 troy ounces of gold from Koonenberry, with most of this gold coming in nugget form ranging from as small as a few grams on up to 100 troy ounces. Yep, you heard right. It's said that some nuggets taken from the Koonenberry Gold Belt have weighed over 3 troy pounds!

Exploration and Sampling

One of the prime regions within the Koonenberry Gold Belt is along the Koonenberry Fault on the eastern edge of what's known as the Curnamona Craton. Most of the nuggets taken at Koonenberry have been found at or very near the surface. This is not surprising since numerous gold-bearing quartz veins (what the Aussies call "reefs") and outcrops lie scattered throughout the area and it's obvious the gold that has eroded out hasn't moved very far.

 (Typical terrain in the Koonenberry Gold Belt.)

Interestingly enough, no hard-rock ("reef") mining operations have been conducted within the Belt as of late 2011, but this could all change soon as commercial mining concerns begin their exploration and sampling efforts. For example, Eurasian Minerals Inc. already has a lock on about 2,200 kilometers of the Koonenberry Gold Belt with over a dozen contiguous exploration licenses staked out.

"When the Big Boys Move in..."

What does this mean to the small-scale miners, gold prospectors, and nugget shooters ("fossickers" in Australian) working the Koonenberry area? Although it may be a bit of an overstatement on my part, I'll put it this way: "When the big boys move in, the little guys get kicked out."

That said, there's no doubt that the Koonenberry Gold Belt holds great promise for both individual miners and nugget shooters as well as commercial mining concerns. Most importantly, the Koonenberry may well be the most significant gold discovery in Australia since the early days of the Victoria goldfields.

Best of luck out there.

 If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Large Nuggets in Australia (Part 1)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. As my friend and mining mentor Howard (aka J.R.) has said before, "Keep your mouth shut!". The reason the big boys know about this area is because the original fossickers wanted to brag a little and could just not KEEP THEIR MOUTH SHUT! Otherwise they might still be out there reeping the rewards of their discovery. Loose lips sink ships. Let this be a lesson to all. LTJ, Listen To Jim.


  2. You're a chip off the old block Dobbsie...and absolutely right. Tell you what...I'd like to have been first on the scene at a spot like Koonenberry. Best to you. Howard.

  3. As you know, last february before this one (summer down under) we got a once in a lifetime chance to go to Australia. We were on the East coast just North of Sidney. I think I will allways regret not finding gold there. The folks we went to see wern't into it, we ended up in a picked over tourist spot, and limited to about 2 hours. I found nothing.......well, I found a horse shoe. Short of winning the lottery, it's not likely I'll ever make it back there. It will haunt me the rest of my days.....

  4. Well Gary, I'd like to make it Down Under one day before I cash in my gold the final time. Doubt I will I empathize with you. J.R.


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