A Kazakh herdsman may have struck it rich after almost tripping over a 7.85kg gold nugget in northwest China.
NetEase reports the herdsman was “walking around a mining site in Qinggil country” when he saw a yellow object sticking out of the ground.
“When I walked closer, I was dumbfounded. My god, it was a piece of gold! I was so excited that I was jumping up and down.”
That was just over a week ago, and the nugget has since become a huge drawcard in the farmer’s village and online. ChinaSMACK says it’s shaped like a rooster, which is getting locals just as excited as its near-8kg weight:
But look again – it’s also shaped a bit like China:
Depending on its purity, it could be worth up to $350,000, but a lawyer has since told NetEase that the nugget will probably have to be handed over to Chinese government officials.
“Natural gold is classified as a national precious material, a mineral resource, and according to the regulations of the Mineral Resources Law, it is considered property of the state,” Shaanxi Qingang Law Firm attorney Shi Weibin said.
If the herdsman keeps it, he may be prosecuted for illegal possession or appropriation.
The nugget is 23cm long, 18cm wide and as thick as 8cm at one point.
If confirmed, that would make it the largest nugget found in the Xinjiang Altay province, a prefecture famously known for having “72 ravines and every ravine has gold”.
While big enough to make the record books, the Qinggil nugget is still a pebble compared to the Welcome Stranger.
Also found just below the surface of the earth in 1869 at Moliagul, Victoria, the Welcome Stranger, at 78kg, was roughly 10 times heavier than the herdsman’s nugget.
Here’s a picture of the grandson of one of the Welcome Stranger’s finders, John Deason, with a replica:
At today’s prices, that’s a find worth up to $3.5 million.
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