IT IS not a dream of richness that has gold diggers looking for access to properties on the Southern Downs, but a passion for history, the thrill of the chase and a love of being outdoors.
With the State Government keeping considerable swathes of prime mining land under lock and key, a small group of prospectors from Brisbane have asked Southern Downs landowners to open their gates for exploration.
In 2013, the government released sections of Durikai State Forest for fossicking, but the area is limited and has been mined out over the years according to Brisbane prospector Cory Dale.
“Since Durikai opened there has been hundreds and hundreds of prospectors through there so in certain areas it is getting very hard to find anything at all,” he said.
“Private properties are completely virgin ground.”
Mr Dale said properties in the Karara, Thane, Pratten and Leyburn areas could be home to valuable deposits of gold.
He said there had already been impressive discoveries in the region including a three-ounce nugget, which is worth about $5000 in gold value alone.
But regardless of whether Mr Dale and his mates put their picks in the ground, Southern Downs landowners can hope for a certain slab of gold – one that comes branded with four crosses.
“Generally most prospectors are happy to bring a carton of beer,” Mr Dale said.
“In most cases people don’t find much but prospectors that have found gold out there usually give some to the landowners as well.”
With the chance of striking gold so slim, Mr Dale clearly doesn’t do it for the money.
For him, fossicking is all about the research process and a chance to get out in the bush.
“You are sort of doing detective work looking at where the old miners were working and the geological features and guessing where the gold is going to be,” he said.
“Then going there and seeing your research pay off, it’s a big rush.”
Mr Dale said anyone open to inviting prospectors onto their land could call him on 07 3209 4939.