Fossicking for gold, precious gems and metals has experienced a surge in popularity across Central Queensland and the state.
Gold and gem hunters must apply for a fossicker’s licence, with more than 18,000 of the permits being issued over the past two years.
With gold currently worth almost $2500 per ounce, there has never been a better time to enjoy the great outdoors, and the chance of striking it rich.
Some of the nation’s and the world’s best fossicking grounds and gemfields can be found in the region, or within a few hours drive.
Gladstone business Leading Edge Electronics on Tank and Auckland Streets is a certified Minelab metal detector retailer and can provide everything you need to get started.
The Port Curtis Metal Detecting Social Club has 252 Facebook members and holds regular events around the region where people can try their luck with metal detectors.
The world metal detecting championships were held near Gympie in 2019 attracting participants from around the globe.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said fossicking was a popular outdoor activity the whole family can enjoy.
“Whether you’re hunting for gold in Charters Towers and Clermont, searching for sapphires around Emerald or looking for the vibrant and colourful gemstones of Agate Creek, and western opals at Yowah and Opalton – Queensland is a fossicker’s paradise,” Mr Stewart said.
“It’s been a tough year for Queenslanders but we’re encouraging everyone to get out and support our regional communities and explore our state’s natural beauty by urging more families to put fossicking on your must-do list these holidays.”
Regional Queensland has a history of spectacular finds by fossickers, a 1.1763kg gold nugget was found in a paddock in the Charters Towers region in 2017 and a huge sapphire named the Pride of Tomahawk was discovered at Anakie in the same year.
During the COVID-19 travel restrictions, fossickers have been especially welcome in many far flung, small centres of the state.
“Find your fortune using hand tools such as picks, shovels, hammers, sieves, shakers, electronic detectors and other similar tools,” Mr Stewart said.
“You can collect gemstones, ornamental stones, mineral specimens, alluvial gold – including nuggets and some fossil specimens, but not meteorites or fossils of vertebrate animals.”
Chasing huge gold nuggets can be very dangerous.
“Before you leave home be sure to check you have packed sunscreen, hats and lots of water – fossicking is thirsty work,” Mr Stewart said.
“We also recommend that fossickers wear long pants and boots or closed in shoes for protection.
“Fossickers also need to remember to fill in the hole they have dug so the area is safe for others.
“State Government officers undertake targeted checks on site to ensure fossicking activities are happening safely and that people are following the rules.”