CALLING all fossickers, it’s time to warm up your metal detectors because a fresh new area near Clermont opened up to gold prospectors last week.
Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham predicted the new 181 hectares Flat Diggings fossicking area located 15 km northwest of Clermont would be a magnet for fossickers, who would in turn give the area a much needed economic boost.
“Locals, Isaac Regional Council, tourist operators, fossicking agents and community groups have been calling for new areas to be made accessible to fossickers,” Dr Lynham said.
“By giving general permission, fossickers only need a fossicking licence, and don’t have to also get written permission from the landholder to fossick.
“With this new area to explore, it opens up a world of opportunity for avid fossickers and metal detector enthusiasts to scan for gold and try their luck at unearthing new treasures.
“The prospect of finding a golden nugget is a tourism drawcard and news of this will excite and re-energise visitors who travel far and wide to the area that boasts some of Australia’s most popular goldfields.”
Dr Lynham said Queensland’s fossicking trails were world renowned, attracting visitors from across the globe, in a tourism activity that is vital to the local and regional economy.
Alluvial gold was discovered in creeks south of Clermont in 1861, sparking a rush that saw a hotel built in 1862 and the town of Clermont proclaimed the following year.
The area produced around 400,000 ounces of gold by 1956.
Flat Diggings is in the current central gold fossicking district, once a gold mining district and focal point of one of Queensland’s major gold rushes.
Eleven of the state’s now 16 gold fossicking areas are in this Central Gold District, seven of which are in State Forests.
Fossickers require licences, which start at $8.50 plus GST for an individual for a month.
For more information on fossicking visit qld.gov.au/recreation/activities/fossicking.
Gold occurs in a range of settings in the district. The primary source is numerous lode gold deposits, mostly quartz reefs, in the Anakie Metamorphic Group. Only a small number of these were economic to work.
More important were deep leads in old conglomerates (gravels) of Permian age, which overlie the metamorphics. These have usually been interpreted as ancient buried streams in which alluvial gold shed from the lodes has accumulated. Nuggets in excess of 15g were common and some specimen gold occurred in quartz-rich clasts. Other deep leads were located in late Tertiary alluvial deposits, in linear belts cutting across the present drainage pattern.
Finally there were the alluvial deposits of modern-day streams, derived from gold shed from older deposits.
The deep leads produced the most gold.
The gold of interest to modern fossickers is primarily from the young alluvial material, as well as eluvial deposits formed when gold or gold-bearing rock fragments have been transported short distances from their sources, and concentrated within the soil horizon.
Some older Tertiary wash on the edges and tops of interfluves may also be of interest. Some nuggets may have formed in these environments by chemical accretion of small gold particles into larger fragments or through the chemical action of host soils or sediments on a gold solution.
Panning is the simplest recovery method for the finer alluvial gold. However, the scarcity of water may preclude panning during dry periods. Dry blowing methods may be employed.
Special Conditions for fossicking in Flat Diggings Reserve general permission area
Fossicking will cease when the reserve is being used by travelling or agisting
No camping is permitted on the reserve at any time.
Fossickers must have a current map and a copy of these ‘Special Conditions’
Fossickers must not enter private property.
Inside a GPA, gate posts painted with red paint indicate NO fossicking or entry
past the point.
Fossicking must only occur during daylight hours.
Carry all water supplies – no potable water supply is available and water may
not be taken from dams.
Ensure children are supervised by an adult at all times.
Hand tools ONLY are permitted.
Educator dredges, sluices, dry blowers or machinery of any type are not
No fires whatsoever.
No water to be taken from Stock Route Water Facilities whatsoever.
Use only safe working practices.
Leave gates as they are found.
Vehicles must be clean (free of plant or soil material) prior to entry.
All rubbish (including organics) must be removed from the area and disposed
All tools and materials must be removed from the reserve immediately after
use – no equipment is to be left on the reserve overnight.
Ensure excavations do not exceed dimensions of 2m x lm and a maximum
depth of 0.5m.
Refill excavations immediately after use to make them safe for other visitors
and stock and contour excavations to the surrounding land surface. Replace
material that came from depth at depth, and replace surface material on the
No interference with Stock Route Water Facilities whatsoever.
No fossicking activities within 300m of any water source on the reserve.
Comply with any directions given by a sign or notice by Isaac Regional
Council, Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy or any other