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All about gold - history, prospecting and transforming your treasures

A Look into Western Australia's Gold Mining History

The Western Australian gold rush began with the first discovery of gold in the late 1890s. The discovery of gold in the Kalgoorlie, Goldfields, and Murchison regions led to a frenzy of activity as prospectors from all over the world flocked to the area in search of their fortunes. Despite facing harsh conditions such as extreme heat and isolation, the prospectors persevered and uncovered some of the largest gold deposits in the world.

Today, gold mining continues to be an important part of Western Australia's heritage and economy. Many of the original mining towns still stand as reminders of the region's rich history.

Night view of the Kalgoorlie super pit gold mine in Western Australia

Image credit: Shutterstock - Christoph Schaarschmidt

Your Guide to Prospecting in Western Australia

Gold prospecting and fossicking opportunities in Australia’s Golden Outback draw people from far and wide. Some common places for gold prospecting in Western Australia include Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Coolgardie, Leonora, Laverton, Sandstone, Mt Magnet, Cue, and Halls Creek.

To prospect in Western Australia, the most common prospecting permit is a Miner’s Right, required for each person in your party. This gives you authorisation to prospect on:

  • Unoccupied crown land that is not covered by a granted mining tenement.

  • A pastoral lease that is not covered by a granted mining tenement – provided prior notice is given to the pastoralist.

  • A mining tenement - providing you have permission from the tenement holder.

  • A granted exploration licence, after having been granted a three-month section 20A permit.

  • A Permit to Enter is required to search for any mineral on private property (farmland). The permit can be issued by the department and contact with the landowner is to be made before entry.

Map showing close up of Western Australias Goldfields region

Image credit: Shutterstock - AustralianCamera

For more information about prospecting in Western Australia, download the 7 golden rules for prospecting flyer or visit the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.


Making the Most of Your Gold Find

Under the Mining Act, as a holder of a Miner’s Right, if you discover gold or other minerals on Crown land not covered by a mining tenement, then you may keep your find. If your find is on a mining tenement where you have permission to prospect, you may keep the find subject to the terms of your agreement with the tenement holder.

Once you've successfully found gold through prospecting, you have several options for what to do with your newfound treasure. Here are some ideas:

  1. Take it to the mint for refining or cash

  2. Have it made into some beautiful nugget jewellery

  3. Gift the gold to someone special

  4. Keep it as an investment for when gold prices are high

Custom gold nugget jewellery by Tayha Designs

Looking to create some beautiful nugget jewellery?



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