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WHERE can I go detecting gold in Queensland ?

WHERE  can  I  go  detecting  gold  in  Queensland ?

 

WHERE  CAN  I  GO  DETECTING  GOLD  IN  QUEENSLAND  ?

Now that’s a great question ! …. that we often get asked by customers/visitors to our store.

To lawfully go detecting gold nuggets (and gold specimens) in Queensland you requireQueensland ‘Fossicking Licence’.

You can purchase your Qld Fossicking Licence online using a credit card payment. Costs vary from about $9 for 1 month, up to about $57 for 1 year for an individual fossicker (A one-year Fossicking Licence for a family costs about $77). Your licence is e-mailed to you once payment is confirmed.

Fossicking Laws/Responsibilities

The Queensland Fossicking Act 1994 and it’s associated Regulations contain requirements for fossickers to maintain safety, hygiene and a high standard of behaviour. Infringement notices (on-the-spot fines) and prosecutions may be used to enforce the provisions of the legislation. Breaches may also result in cancellation of licences.

When fossicking in Queensland, some of the general responsibilities include that a person MUST NOT:
•    destroy or injure any trees
•    clear any vegetation except above an actual excavation
•    pollute any watercourse, dam or the like
•    create areas likely to erode
•    interfere with any livestock, wildlife or property infrastructure (e.g. windmills, bores, pumps, tanks, fences)
•    interfere with any heritage or cultural site
•    undermine any banks or dig pits to create any tunnels or overhanging sections.

There are also other requirements a person must follow when fossicking near watercourses, and also upon designated fossicking lands and areas.

When fossicking upon private property in Queensland, a person should also have written permission from the land owner/s.

A Qld Fossicking Licence allows you to search for, and collect fossicking materials using hand tools and for recreational, tourist and educational purposes only.
“Hand tools such as picks, shovels, hammers, sieves, shakers, electronic detectors (metal detectors) and other similar tools can be used.

No machinery is permitted. This includes water sluices with electronic pumps and dredges of any kind.

You can collect from the surface or by digging, but you are not permitted to dig below 2m of the natural ground surface of land or below 0.5m in streams. Overhangs and tunnels are not allowed.”

Also - “You can collect gemstones, ornamental stones, mineral specimens, alluvial gold (including nuggets) and some fossil specimens, but not meteorites and fossils of vertebrate animals. (The finding/ownership of meteorites in Australia will be considered in a future BLOG article).

You don’t need a fossicking licence to search for ‘treasure’ such as lost jewellery and coins on a beach.”

In other words – you can go detecting on public beaches in Queensland in search of coins and jewellery (including those made from gold or platinum or silver) without holding a Qld Fossicking Licence.

However, if you find any item of value, including jewellery – that does not belong to you - then you are required by law to hand such property in to the police. Accordingly, you are entitled to receive an official receipt from the police for the found property you hand in to them. If the police can not locate the lawful owner of that found property within a few months, then you can lawfully lodge a claim to the police for that property you found. Otherwise, if you keep valuable property that you find - that does not belong to you – you may be liable to prosecution for “Stealing by Finding”.


General Permission Areas (GPA's) for Fossicking in Qld
It was recently publicly reported that:  "Queensland currently has 11 fossicking areas, 9 designated fossicking lands, and 21 General Permission Areas (GPA's) for fossicking - totaling more than 20,000 hectares"

There are 11 separate General Permission Areas (GPA's) in the Clermont area where landholders have given general permission for fossicking. Seven of these are in the Clermont State Forest. More than 11,000 Hectares (> 110 square kilometres) of General Permission Areas (GPA's) are available for fossicking near Clermont (about 950km NNW of Brisbane).

A total of about 50 square kilometres of General Permission Areas (GPA's) are available for fossicking at Durikai State Forest, about 30km west of Warwick (about 200km SW of Brisbane).

Also near Warwick (about 30km NW), approximately 5 square kilometres of General Permission Areas (GPA's) are available for fossicking at Talgai State Forest.

We regularly receive feedback (including photos) from customers, and other detectorists/prospectors, about gold nuggets being detected in the above GPA's - mostly found using Minelab Pulse-Induction (PI) technology detectors (e.g. GPZ 7000, GPX 6000, GPX 5000/4500, and SDC 2300).

 

New GPA's Sought

In late 2022 it was reported that "the Rockhampton Regional Council said it had written to the Department of Resources to try to create GPA's in three locations in Mount Morgan."

Like the 'Amalgamated Prospectors & Leaseholders Association' (APLA) of Western Australia, and also the 'Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria' (PMAV) - perhaps what is required in Queensland is a similar membership-based body created to protect the rights and opportunities of those who wish to fossick and prospect in Queensland. Furthermore, such an Association could lobby the Queensland Government on behalf of it's members to create more opportunities for fossicking & prospecting throughout Queensland, including far more General Permission Areas.

In other States like Western Australia and Victoria there is far more total areas of ground available for fossicking and prospecting with a Miners Right - than there is currently available via GPA's in Queensland.

 

Perhaps the following online information with respect to fossicking areas in Queensland, and Qld Prospecting Permits, may also be of interest to you:

 

Queensland 'Globe'
Queensland Globe is a free online interactive website tool that you can use to identify property names (and their boundaries) including pastoral properties.
e.g. you can select following options:  All Layers > Location > Property Names


Queensland ‘GeoResGlobe’
Queensland ‘GeoResGlobe’ is another free online interactive website tool that you can use to obtain information on Queensland's mining and exploration data, including:
1.    Identify property names (and their boundaries) including pastoral properties; and
2.    Identify ‘Exploration Permits - Minerals’ (EPM’s) – either “Granted” (current) or “Application” (pending assessment); and

3. Identify 'Mining Leases' (ML's) -

covering areas/properties of interest to you. Additional available information includes the “Authorised Holder Name” of the EPM’s / ML's, as well as the “Grant Date” and “Expiry Date’ of them.


 
Upon accessing this interactive website tool, you can use the menu system on the left hand side.
Click on “Layers” > “Add Layers” > “All Layers”
Then you can choose from a list of different Layers, and also the sub-layers within each Layer (e.g. “Cadastre” > “Properties”).

Example 1 of available information - a simple search via the Qld ‘GeoResGlobe’ database revealed that:  in early May 2023 an Application was lodged for a Minerals Exploration Permit (EPM 28787) covering 230 square kilometres to the west & north-west of Durikai State Forest. Interestingly, in April & May 2023 the same Applicant also lodged EPM Applications for other areas within and around Durikai State Forest.

 

Example 2 of available information - a simple search via the Qld ‘GeoResGlobe’ database - using the menu system on the left hand side, by Clicking on “Production permits” > “Mining lease” > “ML granted”, and then selecting the letter "i" Information tool and then clicking this tool within the marked area of ML 1870 on the map, provides further information at the bottom of the screen - which revealed that within the Blair Athol State Forest, Mining Lease ML 1870 (re: "Au" - gold) was granted in 1980 and is current until June 2026, including the name of the leaseholder.



Contacting Exploration Permit Holders/Mining Companies
During my recent several years of full-time prospecting, I contacted several gold exploration and mining companies, and after voluntarily submitting written details (via e-mail) about my prospecting experience, vehicle/s, prospecting techniques & gear (including safety equipment), my Prospecting Licence/Miner's Right, and public liability insurance etc., and my intentions – I was very fortunate to be granted written conditional permission to prospect on their leases. As a result, I provided details (photos & GPS co-ordinates) of all my finds of gold nuggets to the leaseholders, who then permitted me to explore additional ground held via their leases.


Properties Allowing Prospecting & Camping
There are several properties (including large stations) throughout Queensland that permit recreational prospecting/camping for a fee. These include locations near Georgetown/Forsythe in North Qld, and Warwick ('Glendon Camping Ground' – which is beside Durikai State Forest) in South-East Qld, and Clermont in Central Qld, and Palmerville Station in Cape York Peninsula, etc

https://www.facebook.com/flatcreekstation/

https://www.facebook.com/people/Western-Creek-Gold/100066532061530/

https://www.gilbertongold.com/

https://glendoncamping.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/people/Fig-Tree-Camp/100066735554908/

https://goldenprospectingtours.com.au

https://www.facebook.com/people/Palmerville-Gold/100065218831323/ 

To lawfully go detecting gold nuggets (and gold specimens) on such properties - a Qld Fossicking Licence is also required.

 

Unallocated State Land

The Qld Government webpage for "Fossicking Rules and Responsibilities" states: "If the land is "Unallocated State Land", you don't need permission to fossick unless:

  • there has been a native title determination over the land, or
  • the land has been ‘vested’ in another agency and used for a particular purpose."

"Unallocated state land (USL) refers to land above and below the high-water mark (HWM) that is not freehold land or land contracted to be granted in fee simple by the state; is not a road or reserve; and is not subject to a lease, licence or permit issued by the state."

The Qld Dept of Natural Resources & Mines previously reported that:

"There is a sometimes a misapprehension that there is a lot of unallocated state land or vacant crown land across the state. While there are a large number of parcels of unallocated state land, most are small in size and in odd locations. Other than a few occasional large parcels of land, the majority of land across Queensland is allocated either as freehold, leasehold, road, reserve or other tenure such as national park or state forest. Unallocated state land makes up less than 1% of Queensland land."

In June 2023 it was reported that there were "over 16,000 Unallocated State Land parcels" in Queensland.

The Qld Govt. Department of Resources (Lands Services) have recently advised that:  "As there is no list or register of available Unallocated State Land (USL) in Queensland - it is recommended that the departments FREE interactive online mapping service, Queensland Globe is accessed to allow you to search an area of interest and view all parcels of land with a tenure type of USL or SL in Queensland. This can be sourced in layers under "Planning Cadastre", by ticking "Land parcel tenure".

 
Brisbane Metal Detecting Club (BMDC)
The following information is published on the BMDC website:
“The Brisbane Metal Detecting Club (BMDC) is a non-profit organisation for metal detecting enthusiasts in Brisbane and surrounding areas. The club supports detectorists who specialise in the search for coins, jewellery and relics, as well as the infamous Australian gold nugget.
Together, the members have many years of experience in varying conditions in Australia and overseas, and are eager to share their knowledge and experience about detectors and detecting with anyone. BMDC members have access to the club's collection of helpful and educational library materials, including books, videos, maps, magazines, CDs and DVDs. Organised group trips to national goldfields and local areas of general detecting interest occur on a regular basis.

 

Books, Atlases, Online, etc.  
'Gold Prospecting’ by Doug Stone – reprinted in 2022, (192 pages) contains a section (26 pages) on goldfields in Queensland, including locations and old maps. Doug Stone has been writing prospecting books for decades, and has also authored a great range of 'Gold Atlas's' for several Australian states, including excellent maps.

    

 

A Prospectors guide to metal detecting in Australia - Gold & Ghosts’ - 2 Volumes for Qld (Volume 3 & Volume 4) by Mr. D.W. de Havelland (There are also 2 other volumes for Western Australia). These excellent/detailed books (containing numerous maps) have been out-of-print for decades, and are highly sought after.


     

Historical maps of various goldfields throughout Queensland - can be viewed online via the TROVE website. This excellent website also contains digitized historical newspapers - including reports on gold discoveries, prospecting & mining throughout Australia since the mid-1800's.

The archived website of the former Brisbane-based business of 'Treasure Enterprises of Australia' contained some excellent information on the locations and details of gold occurrences in Queensland.

The free  online database  Mindat.org  contains detailed information on minerals and their localities, deposits, and mines worldwide, including gold in Queensland.  Mindat.org has been collecting, and sharing such mineral information for the past two decades.

 

Queensland Gold Mining Leases  - Historical records held at the Qld State Archives commencing from 1871. This includes bound volumes of gold leases, including names of leaseholders and areas of leases. "Each lease in a volume includes the date of lease, name of the applicant, period of the lease and amount of rent, as well as a sketch and description of the area of the lease, and any transfers of the lease." Digital copies can also be requested.

'The Goldfields of Queensland - Charters Towers Goldfield' - a historical report published in 1899 (which has been digitized, and can be viewed online via the TROVE website) contains detailed information about the numerous gold mines that were operating around Charters Towers over 124 years ago, including old photographic images, and also details of the extent of workings and gold production results.

The 'Outdoors Queensland' website also contains some tips & resources for fossicking in Queensland.

The online ‘Prospecting Australia’ Forum contains valuable information, and has many helpful/experienced members.

Based on my experiences with hunting gold throughout the mainland of Australia - the importance of doing extensive research on likely areas of potential for finding gold can not be under-stated. Sometimes the best areas to find gold are the hardest to get to, often away from any vehicular tracks, sometimes in/nearby rugged, undulating/hilly terrain. Besides using a modern pulse-induction Minelab detector - preparation, patience & perseverance are all a must-have to find gold.

Are you up for a challenge ?

 

Large Nugget Detected in North Queensland

It was reported in 2017 that a prospector,  using a Minelab Pulse-Induction (PI) detector,  found a  1.17kg  (37.7 Ounce)  gold nugget in a field near Charters Towers. The nugget was 15cm (6 inches) below the ground. The prospector stated:

“It was beneath some vegetation so it was a bit of a challenge to get to, but now I’m thinking maybe those roots are keeping some other big nuggets safe ready to be found another time.”

 

 

Some Awesome Aussie GPX 6000 Finds

Some Awesome Aussie GPX 6000 Finds

* Some Awesome Aussie GPX 6000 Finds *

The Minelab GPX 6000 Pulse-Induction detector has now been available in Australia for about 2 years. In that time some awesome nuggets have been unearthed throughout Australia. Some of these significant finds have been publicised, and not surprisingly, many fantastic finds have not been publicised for various reasons.

Several big chunks of gold have been recently found in Western Australia.

 

Below are some of the Minelab GPX 6000 finds that have been shared online:

The big nugget shown in the two photos above reportedly weighs  about 13 Ounces  (about 0.4 kg).  My "guesstimation" is that the total weight of all of the above nuggets would be  at least 30 Ounces !

 

Below are some more finds using the GPX 6000:

“Here are two of the nicest bits for the season, biggest is 5.5 oz (171.2g) and the other is just over an ounce (35.5g). Both found with a 6000 while pushing. Interestingly the big bit was laying flat, in a crevice in a rock bar, about 60 cm down I suppose (from the bottom of the push) but it was not an inverted signal, and I have no idea why.

Every other solid bit I've got from a gram or so up has been an inverted signal. It started off as a normal up down signal, sounded very OK like a few gram specie 10 inches or so down, good but not outstanding. It just got louder and louder the deeper I got. By about 40-50 cm down I knew it was going to be a better bit, maybe an ounce or two even, and I was convinced that it had to be a specie as the signal wasn't inverted.

The pinpointer was going crazy over a red rock stuck in the crack and I couldn't see any gold yet so I was convinced it was under the rock, got the biggest shock when I got that rock out and felt the weight. It was flat and heavy and clearly a nugget but even after giving it a wash I still couldn't see any gold.

Took a couple of days in alibright for the red coating to dissolve. It has about 6 g of rock in it based on an SG test so it's technically a specie but I'm happy to call it a nugget. The smaller bit was in a different spot, in old wash, probably 70 cm or so down from the surface. I had pushed it though so I only had to dig a few inches. Before I dug it I tried detecting it from the surface level and got no response. Had to be down another 6 inches or so before any signal but it was inverted all the way. The bit was in a small crack but standing upright on it's side and it looked bright and shiny like it does now when it was still stuck in the hole.”

 

 

 

An old Aussie gold prospector (who has used all of Minelab’s other pulse-induction detectors over the past decade (e.g. SDC 2300, GPX 5000 & GPZ 7000) has also used the GPX 6000 in Western Australia for 118 days (about 1,000hrs of swinging) and on 100 of those days, his GPX 6000 detected 854 gold nuggets in highly mineralised ground. He mostly used the large Minelab GPX17x13” elliptical Mono coil for excellent ground coverage (“patch hunting”) and depth capability. In fact, the GPX17 coil easily detected two spherical-shaped nuggets (a 5-grammer, and a 6 grammer) at depths of between 40cm and 45cm in highly mineralised ground north of Kalgoorlie. The GPX17 coil also picks up the small bits too – using the proven “Low & Slow” technique. He also found the GPX14 DD coil excellent for use in salty/conductive ground (where it was almost impossible to run a Mono coil), as well as in areas within/nearby high electromagnetic interference (EMI).

 

 

Liz Pickthall spends her spare time detecting in the central goldfields of Victoria.

"I finally had seen and heard enough, and at the age of 28 I decided to go out and invest in my first detector. Only then did I realise my true love for it, and I’ve been addicted ever since. As the years went by and my love for detecting grew, I started to work less and detect more.

After upgrading my metal detector to the GPX 6000, I was keen to upgrade my coil as well. I waited for the release of all brands of coils, and was lucky enough to be able to try before I bought two different coils – one of which was the Coiltek 9” GOLDHAWK.

It didn’t take me long to see that it was the standout performer in all areas including weight and sensitivity – and it worked wonders on all ground types in the Victorian goldfields. I was so impressed by how quiet it ran for such a sensitive coil. The 9” coil has found gold in the most ‘flogged out’ areas, with the coil’s size making it so easy to get in tight areas under and around bushes and trees.”

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine how many tens-of-thousands of gold nuggets (& specimens) have been found throughout Australia over only the past 2 years using the mighty Minelab GPX 6000 detector.

Imagine how many more huge chunks of gold are still out there throughout Australia - that have never had a GPX 6000 scan over them !

To boot ..... there are now  SEVEN  (7)  different coils available for the GPX 6000.  Even better - four of these new coils are AUSSIE-MADE.

Coupled with a super-low 1.225 kHz operating frequency of the GPX 6000 - it's no wonder the GPX 6000 is a gold magnet !     (By comparison the GPX 5000 "is configured to operate at a fundamental operating frequency of 5 kHz", and the GPZ 7000 "is configured to operate at a fundamental operating frequency of 3.675 kHz”, whereas for the SDC 2300 "the transmit frequency is about 3 kHz")

With the gold price at a near all-time-ever record high (over AU$3,000 per Ounce in early September 2023) - you only need to find less than 3-ounces of gold to cover your investment cost of a new GPX 6000.

 

Minelab Detector Options and Accessories for the Hearing Impaired

Minelab Detector Options and Accessories for the Hearing Impaired

Minelab Detector Options & Accessories for the Hearing Impaired

 

A hearing impairment alone should not prevent a person from effectively using a metal detector. Furthermore, digging up gold nuggets, or coins, or jewellery, or relics, certainly does not require hearing.

With tactile/vibrational feedback solutions now available, there is a range of options of new Minelab detectors for people with hearing impairment.

Recently released Minelab detectors - with the optional feature of  HANDLE VIBRATION  - include the  X-TERRA PRO  ($499), and  Equinox 700  ($1,079), and  Equinox 900  ($1,549), and  MANTICORE  ($2,349).

 

 

There is also the unique  Minelab SDC 2300  ($3,999) – a highly compact, robust, & waterproof detector, featuring extremely fast Pulse-Induction (PI) technology - that is especially suited for sub-gram gold nugget hunting on land and underwater – which features an LED display (above the handle) that provides a visual indication of target size & proximity. This detector has been very popular, particularly in Australia, for many good reasons.


 

 

‘LUCKY KNUCKLE’ Speaker/Target LED Light packs
The Target LED Light Pack allows you to change the audio from your detector to a visual indicator. This is ideal for those with hearing issues, or those who prefer quiet detecting. Features include:
•    Adjustable between light & sound
•    Sound On/Off switch
•    Light sunshade & diffuser
The 3 LED Light pack is suitable for the Minelab SDC 2300 and GPZ 7000 detectors.
The 2 LED Light pack is suitable for the Minelab SDC 2300, GPX 4500/5000, and GPZ 7000 detectors.

 



Gold-Tec Australia’ “have developed and designed hearing impairment aid device using the latest Audio/ Haptic Technology to help you with your partial or profound hearing loss.” …..
The QUAVAR-PI is design for persons with a hearing impairment, who are or desire to be Detectorists. The device offers tactile perception delivered by an haptic transducer to the operator. The detector does not require to be operated without audio. The QUAVAR-PI has the ability to discern between proper and false targets. For beginners this aid will make it easier in reducing false targets and having to do less digging.”

 

Bone Conduction Headsets

Another option to consider is the use of Bone Conduction Headphones, including an option of wireless connectivity via aptX Low Latency codec. Minelab detectors such as the X-Terra Pro, Equinox range, MANTICORE, and GPX 6000 are compatible with aptX Low Latency / Bluetooth headphones.

Bone conduction headphones use vibrations to transmit sound directly to your inner ear through the bones located in your upper cheek and jaw. Your cochlea, inner ear, does not realise that the sound is coming from the bones rather than the eardrum. Your brain processes the sounds vibrations in the same way as if they came via your ear-drum, meaning you can hear sound clearly.

 

 

Pin Pointers
There is also a range of waterproof, hand-held pin-pointers – that feature both vibrational & LED light functions, including:

Minelab PRO-FIND 35
Garrett Pro-Pointer AT
Garrett Pro-Pointer II
Nokta Pointer
Nokta PulseDive Pointer
Nokta PulseDive 2-in-1 Underwater Metal Detector

 

 

So please don’t let a hearing issue prevent you, or a family-member, or a friend, from pursuing a passion for metal detecting or prospecting.  You may be more than surprised at what you find !


Aussie-made Coiltek GOLDHAWK coils

Aussie-made Coiltek GOLDHAWK coils

Aussie-made  Coiltek  GOLDHAWK  coils

The Minelab GPX 6000 detector has now been available for nearly 2 years. Many prospectors throughout Australia have re-visited goldfields, including their “fav” patches, that they considered “flogged” and then unleashed the GPX 6000 over such areas to find even more gold, including at depth.

The popularity of the GPX 6000 is not only due to its high performance, but also because it is of relatively light weight (50% lighter than the Minelab GPZ 7000), and it is very easy to use - even for “newbie” detectorists, and budding “prospectors”. It also costs approximately 20% less (a few thousand dollars less) than the Minelab GPZ 7000.

Now, there are even more coil options available for the GPX 6000 detector. In fact, there are currently more coil options available for the GPX 6000 than for the GPZ 7000.

With Minelab’s approval, long-time Aussie coil-maker ‘COILTEK’ recently released a range of 3 different sized Monoloop (“Mono”) coils for the GPX 6000. These are named the ‘Goldhawk’ series of coils.

The Coiltek Goldhawk coils (very pale tan coloured) are rated as waterproof to 1-metre depth, have a 2-Year Warranty, and include the following sizes/weights:

9 inches round - cost $609  (weighs 700 grams)
10x5 inches - cost $579  (weighs 575 grams)
14x9 inches – cost $639  (weighs 900 grams)

Feedback so far, including from many gold hunters throughout Australia, has been impressive as to how stable (smooth & quiet) the coils run, and how sensitive they are to all sizes of gold nuggets, with great depth capabilities.

Many people also prefer the elliptical shaped coils, for not only ease of use in confined areas/less-open ground/more vegetated ground, but also for better pinpointing capability than a round coil.

 

 

 

Tips for Gold Hunting in Western Australia - Part 3

Tips for Gold Hunting in Western Australia - Part 3

TIPS  FOR  GOLD  HUNTING  IN  WESTERN  AUSTRALIA  –  Part 3

DETECTING TECHNIQUES
Gold Detecting Tips:
1.    Upon commencing detecting each day, consider doing a “Factory Preset” (on the GPX 6000) or “Reset Audio & Detection Settings” (on the GPZ 7000) – in order to optimise the operational performance of your highly-sensitive, Minelab pulse-induction detector.

2.    Be patient, the gold is not going anywhere – if the GPX 6000/GPZ 7000 becomes a bit noisy or “chattery”, then do a noise cancel followed by manual ground balancing using the “Quick Track” button. Some days I do this often throughout the day. This will optimise the performance of your GPX/GPZ so that you are not wasting time and possibly missing those quieter/faint target signal noises often associated with deeper gold.

3.    Swinging technique is also VERY CRITICAL to how much gold you are likely to detect. The “Low and Slow” rule is VERY IMPORTANT to find more gold. On soily ground (without too many sharp rocks) I would lightly and slowly rub my coil upon the ground, with overlapping sweeps from side to side, in order for the detectors pulse induction to energize gold nuggets as long as possible, and so as to increase the chance of the nugget being detected. I found that the coil skid plates lasted longer than I expected, and they are a small expense to pay for the benefit of finding more gold. (The gold price recently hit an-all-time record high of about AU$3,000 per ounce – nearly $100 per gram).

4.    After finding a gold nugget, and then re-checking the back-filled hole, I would always do a Noise Cancel, and a manual Ground Balance, to optimise the operation of my detector to find further nuggets.

5.    Whenever possible, and about half-way during a day of prospecting (during my midday lunch break), I would replace my detector's Lithium-ion battery with a fully charged battery.

6.    A Guide Arm (or Control Arm) attachment to the shaft of your detector can also be very useful. The end-grip of the guide arm is held by your non-detecting hand, so as to provide precisely controlled swinging of the coil within both the horizontal and vertical planes. The guide arm is also great for distributing some of the detector weight to the strength of your non-detector arm. I found that a guide arm greatly increased my prospecting comfort, especially on long, consecutive days of swinging.

7.    A Bungee cord (also often called a Bunji or Bungey cord) is often worn by many prospectors using the heavier GPZ 7000, especially if it is being swung for sessions of longer than a few hours. I also used a bungee cord on my GPX 6000 (attached from the shaft of my detector to the “D” ring on my harness) to minimise fatigue since I would mostly swing my 6000 for about 8 hours a day (equivalent to the running time of a fully charged battery). Some weeks I would swing for 7 consecutive days (that was about 56 hours of swinging a week). I found using a bungee made a huge difference to my muscle fatigue, and it provided me with greater swinging endurance time per day. More swinging = more ground coverage = more gold.

8.    If you find a gold patch, then use all the suitable coils you have on the patch, and also then thoroughly over the patch – that is, not only sweep-swinging on a grid-like pattern in both perpendicular directions, but also at angles across the patch. It never ceased to surprise me how much more gold I picked up with the GPX 6000 by detecting in many different directions on a patch. I would firstly exhaust the patch of gold using the GPX17” mono coil. When I was finding little more gold on a patch, I would then run the GPX11” mono coil over the patch and find more gold. Finally, I would then put the GPX14” DD coil and often find some more gold.


UNFILLED HOLES
One of my pet hates .... unfilled holes dug by lazy detectorists/prospectors - it ain’t rocket science.
Besides, it is generally much quicker to fill in a hole than dig it.
Who would like strangers coming into their yard and digging holes? let alone leaving them unfilled?
To me, leaving their holes unfilled is a reflection of, not only someone’s personality, but also their professionalism as a prospector.

During my several years of prospecting in W.A., I reckon I encountered tens-of-thousands of holes, some up to about 2-feet deep, left unfilled by other people using detectors. Most poachers do not backfill their holes - for various reasons.

I would often run my detector over many of these unfilled holes and find trash left in them, or in the adjacent spoil.

Fortunately, on about half a dozen occasions, I found small gold nuggets either still remaining in the hole, or in the spoil beside the hole - that were missed. On two occasions I found two nuggets within a hole after digging out the holes deeper.

Always re-check your holes & the spoil, and then check again after you have back-filled them. You might just get a nice surprise, like I did on a few occasions.


THEY NEVER GET ALL THE GOLD
One day I encountered two old "blow-in" (from interstate) prospectors near Kalgoorlie detecting some recent scrapes using a GPZ 7000 with a Minelab GPZ 19" 'Super-D' coil and a "modified" GPX 4500 with a Coiltek 18" Elite Mono coil.
 
I also had written permission to be on that lease to detect gold using my Minelab GPX 5000 with my new Nugget Finder 15" Evolution mono coil.
I got yarning to these blokes as they were packing up to leave. They loudly boasted that I "would be absolutely wasting my time" detecting the scrapes with my "stock 5000" as they "had completely flogged the ground" with both of their "high performance" detectors.

After they left, I fired up my trusty & proven workhorse GPX 5000, and I unleashed it upon that ground with enthusiasm. The first thing I did was walk upon the top of the many windrows (soil bunds created via machinery pushing/scraping operations), and I detected their tops, and both side batters.

Over the next few days, I pulled out over several ounces of gold (40+ nuggets) including a stunning half-ouncer at a depth of 1.5 feet. Most of the bigger nuggets were within the windrows. Other blokes who had recently pushed this ground with a loader not only failed to detect the nuggets in the windrows, but so too had these two "mature"-aged interstate prospectors missed all these nuggets. I had found more-than-enough "missed gold" to buy a brand spankin' new Minelab GPZ 7000. I had a few quiet chuckles to myself.

Over the next few years I was often amused hearing others claim they had "flogged" areas. This always presented a challenge to me - to try and prove them wrong. In the vast majority of cases I always found multiple nuggets from such so-called "flogged" ground.

It would seem to me that it was highly likely that all of those hundreds of nuggets I found on such so-called "flogged" grounds was due to poor detecting techniques used by others (including lack of patience and thoroughness).


TERRAIN/GEOLOGICAL INDICATORS
The vast majority (90%+) of gold nuggets I found in W.A. were detected with a distance of about 0.5km to 1km of a hill or hill/s. Many nuggets I detected were on the sides of hills or near the toes of hills too. A salt lake/s was often nearby too, within about 1 to 2 km's.

Most of the biggest nuggets I found in W.A. were at depth, often nearby large/old trees, and they were either within gold patches containing numerous nuggets, or nearby at least a few other smaller nuggets.

I also detected many nuggets buried under tree logs & branches that I carefully moved (watch out for snakes). Sometimes I would find unfilled holes scattered nearby/beside big logs that, surprisingly, had not been moved. I would then move these potential "nugget covers" and sometimes detect gold nuggets below. Many part-time/hobby detectorists are not absolutely thorough in their physical quest for gold. Full-time prospectors mostly think-outside-the-norm, and also take those extra, hard-yards steps to find more gold - probably because for many of them, their (and their family's) livelihood/s depends on it.

Saltbush vegetation was often nearby where I found gold too. I found several great nuggets beside the roots of saltbushes.

Often where I found gold (and other long-time local prospectors told me the same too) nearby was any/many of the following geological indicators:
Quartz + ironstone (often called “salt & pepper” ground)
Laterite ground
Banded Iron Formations (BIF's)
Greenstone belts
Jasper
Fault lines and contact zones (sometimes they can be naturally marked by way of obviously contrasting/sudden changes in vegetation types)

Many long-time, local prospectors in W.A. enjoy going out prospecting after heavy rains (when unsealed roads are not closed and not boggy) - since good gold is often eroded out of the ground and exposed, to be possibly spotted by a sharp-eye, or become within the range of detection of a detector coil.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

There are many good books (and atlases) available for information on gold prospecting in Australia. I particularly like reference books that contain good maps, including locations of historical gold workings & mines. For decades in Australia, aussie prospector Doug Stone has authored several such prospecting books & atlases, including for Western Australia.


SIMPLE AIR-DEPTH CALIBRATION TEST:
At the start of every prospecting session, after turning my detector on and then doing the Noise Cancel, and Ground Balancing procedures, to get the detector running quiet & smooth, I would ALWAYS do an air-depth detection calibration test - to ensure my detector was running at near optimum performance for depth.
For this test I used a new/clean Aussie 5 cent coin (that I would always carry in my pocket), and I would confirm the maximum height (above the coin-on-the-ground) that the coil could just detect the coin.
Around Kalgoorlie, I generally obtained the following air-depth testing/calibration results (on an unburied 5 cent coin) for the respective Minelab detector & coil/s that I was using:

GPX6000 with 11" round Minelab Mono coil = 14" depth
GPZ 7000 with 14×13" Minelab Super-D coil = 16" to 18" depth
GPX 5000 with 19" round Nugget Finder Evolution Mono coil = 16" to 18"depth
GPX 5000 with 25" round Nugget Finder DD X-Search coil = about 20" depth

The above air-depths were the absolute maximum detection depths I generally achieved, and less than the detection depth of the same metal target buried in the ground, especially in highly mineralised ground.

Pulse-induction detectors will generally lose depth performance to some degree in highly to extremely mineralised ground, particularly when using highly-sensitive, flat-wound Monoloop coils, and especially as the ground surface temperature increases.
In "difficult ground" (highly mineralised and/or conductive), and sun-heated ground, a DD coil of at least the same diameter (albeit heavier than a Monoloop coil of the same diameter) may be more of an advantage.


PICKS
For extra grip for my big hands, and also for increased shock-absorbing capacity, I fitted a rubberised tennis handle wrap to my pick handle.

I always had a super-strong, round/flat, rare earth magnet mounted upon the top middle of the head of my pick. It was great for pulling out iron-based trash e.g. wire etc. It also often grabbed hot rocks. Don't just assume that all such hot rocks consist totally of iron and don't contain any gold. Over the years I found several hot rocks on my magnet that when broken up contained gold.


RECORD & SECURE YOUR NUGGETS .... & 4WD KEY
Most gold prospectors I have met (hundreds of them) use a plastic container (i.e. a used medication-type bottle) in the field to store their smaller, found gold, and most carry that container in either their shirt pocket or trouser pocket.

Over the years I was told by several local W.A. prospectors that they had found small plastic pill-type containers apparently dropped in the bush by other prospectors. Most contained gold nuggets. One bloke told me the container he found had 19 nuggets in it, totaling about an ounce. It was found on 'Pending' ground.

I store my freshly found nuggets within a plastic container, either secured:
(A) inside a zippered, deep compartment inside my backpack (together with the keys for my 4WD); or
(B) inside my trouser pocket - with a lanyard made from strong, pink coloured string that is securely connected from the bottle thread to a belt loop on my trousers.

I also use compact (pocket) digital scales to weigh, and I also photograph my significant gold nuggets in the field immediately after finding them.
That way if you then lose such a valuable nugget/s (either by accident, or it being stolen), at least you have a digital record (with a date & time stamp) of you having then had possession/ownership of it prior to it being lost or stolen.


LOOKING AFTER THE BUSINESS END OF YOUR DETECTOR
I regularly inspect my detector coils for any damage, and very carefully/gently remove the coil skid plate to clean out any dust and soil that may possibly congregate over time. In Western Australia where highly to extremely mineralised soils are common, such very fine mineralised dust can eventually find it’s way into between the coil and the skid plate.

This is even more likely to occur for large diameter spoked coils, compared to small round solid coils – mainly due to the significantly more total length of the contact faces between the coil and the skid plate.
If enough such material gets in, and also moves around whilst swinging, then this can affect the performance of highly sensitive, pulse-induction detectors.

I also wrap the circumference of all my coils with a quality adhesive tape. This acts as both a seal against any possible ingress of moisture and/or dust, and also as a protective layer on the outer vertical edge of the coil which nudges/rubs on soil, rocks, etc. I prefer Scotch heavy-duty grade ‘SUPER 88’ vinyl tape. It usually lasts me several months of swinging.

Talking about dust - which can find its way into almost all small gaps - it can pay to make sure that all the pin connections for all cables (like the coil cable plug, and also any battery cable plugs) are fully inserted, with the screw rings also done up firm.

Given the tens-of-thousands of dollars I spent buying pulse-induction metal detectors over the years, I always protected these investments from the dust, heat, and potential damage (e.g. caused by impact/scratching etc), by way of fitting quality, Aussie-made, padded canvas protective covers over the control box of each detector. Such protective covers can also protect the manufacturer’s labels of serial number/security codes – which may be useful down the track.
Furthermore, for concealment and ease of transportation of my detectors and accessories, I also use quality, Aussie-made, padded canvas carry bags for all my detectors.

When I was gold prospecting full-time in W.A. I soon learned the benefit of dusting down my detector & coil/s at the end of each day (with a soft cotton rag), prior to placing my detector & coil/s into the padded carry bag. This end-of-day ritual sure helped minimise the amount of fine dust that got caught inside the canvas carry bag. After every week of prospecting I would empty my carry bag of it's contents, and then turn it inside out to thoroughly shake out any dust that had congregated. I also kept all electrical-related accessories (like spare cables, and batteries and headphones, etc), within separate plastic clip-seal bags to minimise any dust entering the plugs or connections. This held me in good stead for years without any issues.

 

[Nugget image source - Facebook page of Finders Keepers Gold Prospecting - Kalgoorlie, W.A.]