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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 

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  contains detailed information on minerals and their localities, deposits, and mines worldwide, including gold in Queensland. 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.”



Have I Found a Meteorite ?

Have I Found a Meteorite ?

Have I Found a Meteorite ?

Below are some links to websites containing informative guides on how to identify a meteorite:


The Differences between a Meteorite, and an Impactite, and a Tektite
In the simplest terms –

A Meteorite is a piece of rock or metal that has fallen to the earth's surface from outer space as a meteor. Not all meteorites consist of metals. Most meteorites (about 95%) that have been recovered on Earth are of the ‘Stony’ type.

Meteorites of high density are heavier, and strongly attracted to a magnet due to the amount of Iron and Nickel they contain. Most of the largest meteorites ever recovered on the mainland of Australia are of the Iron-Nickel Type. These are one of the least common types of meteorites found (only about 4% are of the Iron-nickel type). In fact, the largest recorded meteorite found in Australia was officially discovered in 1966 and it weighed over 12-Tonnes.


A Tektite is a terrestrial molten rock fragment ejected out of the crater during a meteor impacts.

Tektites are small, black blobs that might pass for hardened bits of asphalt but they are actually glassy stones. They commonly take on distinctive regular shapes like teardrops, jelly-beans, dumbbells, and interesting flanged buttons that look like the tops of large rivets with the stems melted off. Tektites are found strewn about on the ground in widely separated "fields" around the world, the largest of which covers most of Australia. Many prospectors find tektites throughout Central Australia and the south part of Western Australia.

An Impactite is a terrestrial rock modified by the high stresses of pressure and temperature during a meteorite impact. It is generally the rocks present in the impact crater. It can also include brecciated rock materials, and shatter cones.

XRF Testing of Metallic Specimens
Some jewellers, and gold/jewellery buyers, use a portable/handheld X-Ray Fluorescence analyser (commonly called an “XRF gun”) to non-destructively test items - in order to determine their metallic composition. XRF guns can cost in the order of tens-of-thousands of dollars to buy.

Accordingly, suspected metallic meteorites can be tested by an XRF gun to quantify the percentages of metals present.
If you have a piece of metal that does attract a magnet, and you want to know if it is an iron-nickel meteorite - then you could try and obtain an XRF analysis for the elements of: Iron (Fe), Nickel (Ni), Cobalt (Co), Chromium (Cr), and Manganese (Mn).

Iron-nickel meteorites will typically contain about: 75 to 95% Fe, 5 to 25% Ni, 0.2 to 2% Co, and less than 0.05 % each of Cr and Mn. The nickel/cobalt ratio in meteoritic metal is usually in the 10 to 25 range. If the metal contains more than 0.05% Chromium or Manganese - then it is NOT a meteorite.

Recently, a customer visited our store to seek advice about some interesting metallic specimens he had detected in Queensland. The customer suspected they may have been iron-nickel meteorites. I was informed that the specimens were very heavy, and very-strongly attracted to a magnet. I was advised that subsequent XRF analysis results indicated the following composition: Fe 97.65%, Mn 1.2%, Ni 0.68% and Cr 0.56%. Based on the absence of Cobalt, and also the Manganese & Chromium contents both significantly exceeding 0.05% - these XRF results indicated that the subject tested specimen is NOT an iron-nickel meteorite.

What is a Widmanstätten pattern ?
The Widmanstätten pattern (also known as Thomson structures) is a distinctive formation of interweaving (cross-hatched) lines that appear in some Iron-Nickel meteorites when a cut & polished cross-section of such a metallic meteorite is etched with weak acid.

The methods used to reveal the Widmanstätten pattern in iron meteorites vary. Most commonly, the meteorite is firstly faceted or cut/sliced, then an exposed face is ground and polished, then cleaned, and etched with an acidic etchant (e.g. a mixture of 1-part Hydrochloric Acid, added to 2-parts Hydrogen Peroxide in a non-metallic container). Then the prepared specimen is washed, and dried.

Can I keep a meteorite I found in Australia ?
That depends on WHEN ?  HOW ?  and WHERE ? you found a meteorite in Australia.
Most of the States (and Territories) in Australia have laws (since from about the 1970’s/1980’s) which deem any meteorites found in those particular States to be the property of the Crown or State.

However, those laws do not apply to other specimens like Tektites (Australites) and Impactites – that are also often formed when a meteorite impacts the ground. Sometimes Tektites and Impactites are also found near an impact crater.

Queensland’s Fossicking laws prohibit the collection of meteorites in Queensland whilst fossicking.

However, it is my understanding that if a person was in Queensland or New South Wales, AND was lawfully permitted to be upon such land AND also permitted to remove any specimens found on such land, AND if by way of chance discovery (e.g. NOT fossicking in Queensland) found a suspected/unconfirmed specimen – then they would be able to take possession of such a specimen.

Can I lawfully sell a meteorite I found/acquired in Australia ?
If you lawfully found a meteorite in Australia, or lawfully acquired a meteorite within Australia – then you are lawfully permitted to sell the subject meteorite within Australia.

In 2021, an ABC News report was published online stating that in 2016 two men, who were reportedly fossicking for gold on Western Creek Station, near Georgetown in North Queensland, detected (using a Minelab pulse-induction metal detector) a meteorite weighing 24.3 kilograms. It was also reported that they sold this Iron-nickel meteorite to ‘Geoscience Australia’ for AU$200,000 (i.e. over AU$8 per gram).

Similarly, to the above 24.3kg meteorite being detected on Western Creek Station – in April 2016 I was informed by an Australian prospector that in early 2016 he was gold prospecting using a Minelab GPX 5000 detector on the eastern part of Western Creek Station (near Georgetown) where he detected a 9.6kg metallic specimen (a suspected Iron-Nickel meteorite) at a depth of about 0.4 metres.

The sale of a meteorite in Australia to an overseas buyer is prohibited without an official export permit pursuant to Commonwealth laws.

Recent Unusual Meteor Sighting in Australia
In May 2023 it was reported that a fireball lit up the sky in Queensland between Mackay and the Gulf of Carpentaria. NASA confirmed that this meteor was the LARGEST recorded over Australia in at least 30 years.

When it exploded, the meteor had an altitude of about 30 kilometres above Blackbull, a small rural locality between the Gulf communities of Normanton and Croydon, in north-west Queensland.

The data also revealed the meteor was travelling at a velocity of almost 30 kilometres per second. Scientists estimated that the meteor had a diameter of about 3.5 metres (of equivalent size to an average caravan) and weighed about 80 tonnes.

My further enquiries with NASA obtained additional data indicating that when the meteor was detected travelling from an altitude of 100km, down to 30km altitude, it was heading approximately Westwards (with an approximate bearing of 280 degrees), whilst falling at an angle of about 40 degrees.

Due to the blue and green colours of the meteor fireball observed, it is suspected by scientists that this meteorite was a metallic (Iron-nickel) meteorite.

Will fragments of this meteorite be found in Queensland ? - including perhaps by someone using a metal detector ?

NASA data also indicates that in recent years (since 2014), there have been several significant fireball events detected in North Queensland.

Where in Australia have meteorites been found ?
The following free on-line search database contains over 700 records of various types/sizes (and photos of) meteorites that were found in Australia over the past few centuries:

In recent years a few large meteorites have been detected on Western Creek Station in North Queensland by gold prospectors using Minelab detectors featuring pulse-induction technology.

Suitable Detectors & Coils for Meteorite Hunting
Meteorites containing sufficient quantities of iron/nickel (including the 'Stony-Irons' Meteorite Types) are detectable with a metal detector. Since metallic meteorite fragments are sometimes strewn about an impact crater, often for many kilometres away from the crater, then a suitable metal detector is a lightweight detector with a large coil – which is ideal for quicker ground coverage, and also greater depth capability.

Many meteorite hunters use a lightweight, Very Low Frequency (VLF) technology detector fitted with a 15-inch DD coil.

Recently released Minelab VLF detectors – which can operate using a variety of DD coils ranging in size from 6 inch diameter up to 15 inch diameter - include the X-TERRA PRO ($499), and Equinox 700 ($1,079), and Equinox 900 ($1,499).

Both Minelab, and Coiltek, manufacture a 15-inch diameter coil for these VLF detectors – priced at about $400 to $450.



Furthermore, in about early December 2023, Coiltek released a new BIGGER coil - the  Coiltek 18" NOX coil  ($470). It is a DD configuration coil of 18-inches (45cm) diameter - that is also compatible with the Minelab Equinox range of detectors, and also the Minelab X-TERRA PRO detector. This coil weighs nearly 1kg, is rated as waterproof to a depth of up to 5 metres, and carries a Coiltek Warranty for 2 years.


You don’t necessarily need a more expensive & heavier Pulse Induction (P.I.) technology metal detector to detect metallic meteorites. Other than a VLF detector, some meteorite hunters also use a lightweight, telescopic walking stick – fitted with a strong, rare-earth magnet attached near the end closest to the ground.

Tektites (which are of a glassy composition) are not detectable by a metal detector. Most are found by sight – often discovered washed down to low points (“sumps”) in the terrain (e.g. gullies or clay pans or salt lakes).

Many prospectors detect so-called “Hot Rocks” throughout Australia. Often many prospectors will simply discard such metallic specimens without further examination of them.

Mostly, such “Hot Rocks” are of terrestrial origin, and sometimes they can contain minerals such as gold. I have detected several hot rocks in W.A., and upon breaking them, I found they contained gold either in the form of a nugget, or a specimen, or concentrated gold mineralisation.

If such hot rocks are very heavy (e.g. like the weight of iron steel), and also highly magnetic, and also have smooth indentations (called “regmaglypts”) on the outer surface - then perhaps the specimen may be more than just a highly-mineralised, terrestrial hot rock ? ….. possibly a meteorite ?

Meteorites containing Gold ? ?
Over the decades, I have heard many explanations/theories (including from experienced geologists and prospectors) on how gold was formed on planet Earth. Most theories relate to terrestrial formation processes. In recent years, some scientists believe that gold was deposited upon earth by meteorites. A study published in 2011 suggested that:

"A massive meteor bombardment 3.9 billion years ago provided most of the gold and other precious metals found near the Earth's surface today"

Interestingly, a United States Geological Survey report published in 1968 stated that:

"The reported gold contents of meteorites range from 0.0003 to 8.74 parts per million. Gold is siderophilic, and the greatest amounts in meteorites are in the iron phases. Estimates of the gold content of the earth's crust are in the range of 0.001 to 0.006 parts per million."




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.




Gold Search Modes on the Equinox 900 & Manticore detectors

Gold Search Modes on the Equinox 900 & Manticore detectors


Gold Search Modes on the Minelab Equinox 900 & MANTICORE detectors

If you are not keen on spending several thousand dollars on a Pulse-Induction “gold-specific” metal detector, and would prefer to get an “All-Rounder” (coin/relic/gold) detector, at a fraction of the cost, that is lightweight, with discrimination & pinpointing capabilities - that you can use on beaches, and/or in parks, and/or in the bush including in gold-bearing terrain, or underwater – then Minelab have several great new options for your consideration.

Minelab recently released two new detectors - the Equinox 900 and the MANTICORE.

Both these 'VLF' detectors feature Simultaneous Multi-Frequency technology, including operating frequencies of between about 5 and 40 kHz, as well as the options of selectable single frequencies.


These two new Minelab detectors have a significant number of segments of Discrimination Scale. The Equinox 900 has 119 Target ID numbers (from -19 to 99), and the Manticore has 100 Target ID's numbers (from 0 to 99). By comparison the older Equinox 800 only has 50 Target ID numbers.

Interestingly, the Equinox 900 detector kit also includes two Double-D coils (the 11 inch, and 6 inch coils), whereas the Manticore currently only has an 11 inch Double-D coil available. Having  the Equinox 6 inch Double-D coil  is an advantage in terms of hunting small (sub-gram) gold nuggets, particularly in trashy areas (e.g. on old goldfields and nearby bush camps), and also in confined spaces to swing (e.g. in narrow gullies, including those highly vegetated, and areas covered in boulders or fallen timber etc.).

Both these new detectors also include excellent, low latency, wireless (Bluetooth) headphones. They also both feature a built-in Lithium-ion battery (within the handle), a built-in speaker, and LED flashlight (for nighttime use). They both only weigh about 1.3kg (The Minelab GPZ 7000 detector weighs about 3.3kg).

All new Minelab detectors have a 3 Year Warranty.


Both these detectors also have Search Modes suited for gold nugget prospecting.

The Equinox 900 has two gold search modes – designated as ‘Gold Profile 1’ (for “Normal Ground”) and ‘Gold Profile 2’ (for “Difficult Ground”), whereas the Manticore only has one gold search mode – designated as ‘Goldfield - General’ (suitable for benign to moderately mineralised ground).

Minelab explain these different Search Modes for the respective new detector as follows:

Equinox 900

“Gold Profile 1* — Normal Ground Gold 1 is suitable for searching for small gold nuggets in ‘mild’ ground. Most goldfield locations have a variable level of iron mineralisation that will require an ongoing Ground Balance adjustment, therefore Tracking Ground Balance is the default setting. The audio Threshold Level and Threshold Pitch is optimised for hunting gold nuggets. Gold 1 Multi-IQ processes a high frequency weighted multi-frequency signal, while ground balancing for mineralised soil.

Gold Profile 2* — Difficult Ground Gold 2 is best for searching for deeper gold nuggets in ‘difficult’ ground conditions. Gold 2 has a lower Recovery Speed, which will increase detection depth. However, more ground noise in more heavily mineralised grounds may result. Tracking Ground Balance is the default setting. The audio Threshold Level and Threshold Pitch is optimised for hunting gold nuggets. Gold 2 Multi-IQ processes a high frequency weighted multi-frequency signal, while ground balancing for mineralised soil.”

Minelab also state that when using the Equinox 900 in either of the two gold search modes, the user could typically expect the detection of gold nuggets to have a positive Target ID number, with a low number.

“Difficult Gold Areas — Hot Rocks ‘Hot’ rocks are commonly found in gold prospecting locations. These are rocks that are mineralised differently to the surrounding ground. A highly mineralised rock buried in mildly mineralised ground would be considered to be a hot rock. Hot rocks can easily be mistaken for gold nuggets. The Target ID can assist here, with hot rocks typically having a negative Target ID number and gold having a positive ID in the very low conductive range.”



“Goldfield – General: suitable for small nuggets in benign to moderate soil mineralisation conditions.

Goldfield General Mode is for gold prospecting. Generally, gold nuggets are found in remote goldfields where the ground is often mineralised and targets are more sparsely distributed. For Goldfield General Mode, the default Audio Theme is set to Prospecting, providing a 'true' threshold tone which maximises sensitivity to weak target signals. When a target is detected, the signal volume and pitch vary proportionally to the strength of the target signal. Most goldfield locations have a variable level of iron mineralisation that requires constant Ground Balance adjustment, therefore Tracking Ground Balance is the default setting. Goldfield Mode is suited to finding smaller surface gold nuggets (and some larger deeper ones) in mineralised ground.”


Typical Target ID Numbers/Air-Depths for Gold Nuggets Recent air-depth testing (non-buried target) using both detectors (set on only medium Sensitivity), and with both coils used on the Equinox 900 - upon a very flat (5mm diameter) 0.27gram (sub-gram) nugget indicated air-depths of about 2 to 3 inches, with Target ID numbers in the range of about 15 to 20.

A sub-gram nugget detected using the Equinox 900 + Minelab Equinox 6-inch Double-D coil.

Equinox/Manticore Target ID numbers for gold nuggets can vary depending on several factors, including the size & shape of the nugget, and also gold purity, including the amount of any other metals present like silver & copper. Larger nuggets (more than a few grams) can indicate Target ID numbers of up to within the range of about 30 to 50.


It makes me wonder …..

(i) Will there be a future upgrade for the Manticore? to provide an additional gold search mode? i.e. similar to the ‘Gold Profile 2’ search mode on the Equinox 900 – that “is best for searching for deeper gold nuggets in difficult ground conditions”.

(ii) Will the proposed  Minelab M8 elliptical Double-D coil (8’ x 5.5” size) on the Manticore  detector provide increased depth capability in terms of detecting sub-gram gold? - compared to the Equinox 6 inch (‘EQX06’) DD coil on the Equinox 900 detector.

Minelab GPZ 7000 - a Deep Gold Getter

Minelab GPZ 7000 - a Deep Gold Getter

 Minelab GPZ 7000 - a Deep Gold Getter

The Minelab GPZ 7000 detector was released about 8 years ago in 2015. Costing nearly ten grand, this Minelab detector is suited for serious/deep gold hunting. Experienced users often refer to the GPZ 7000 detector as the "7"or "7,000" or "Zed".

Unique ZVT Technology
The GPZ 7000 is a unique detector as it features Minelab-Patented ‘Zero Voltage Transmission’ (ZVT) technology – which, technically, is different to both Pulse Induction (PI) technology and Very Low Frequency (VLF) technologies. The inventor of the patented Minelab ZVT technology, Dr Bruce Halcro Candy, explained the differences between VLF, and PI, and ZVT technologies as follows:

“Very Low Frequency (VLF) – VLF sinewave detectors have a major disadvantage in having to ground balance out, all of the soil signals simultaneously (all three soil components above).
Pulse Induction (PI) – PI metal detectors have a major advantage of not even detecting the major soil signal; the X component, but only the saline components, but this is mostly insignificant, and the VRM component, which is just a very small percentage of the X component.
This makes the capability of PI technology to ground balance far more accurate than VLF detectors.
A disadvantage of PI is its lesser ability to detect very small nuggets compared to VLF detectors.

Another disadvantage of PI is its capability at detecting very large nuggets compared to CW metal detectors, such as ZVT. CW means Continuous Wave and includes all technologies that do not have zero transmit periods (almost all technologies other than PI).

Zero Voltage Transmission (ZVT) – ZVT has the same major advantage as PI for ground balancing in not detecting the major soil component X, but has the same advantage of CW metal detector technologies compared to PI for detecting very large nuggets because ZVT is CW (unlike PI that is not CW), and also the same advantage as PI for being relatively insensitive to saline soils compared to VLF.”

So, in simple terms - you get the best of both worlds - ZVT technology has the same excellent ground balancing properties of Pulse Induction (PI) technology while retaining Continuous Wave (i.e VLF) technology's ability to detect very small nuggets - so you can find more gold of all sizes, including deeper, even in highly mineralised soils.

Advantages of the GPZ 7000 Super-D coils - compared to Monoloop coils for PI detectors
Conventional configuration Monoloop (“Mono”) coils, and Double D coils, would both not operate effectively with ZVT technology. Hence, Minelab invented the ‘Super-D’ configuration coils (sometimes referred to as a “DOD” configuration coil).

The Minelab Super-D coils consists of two symmetric D shaped receive windings (one on the left and one on the right), with a central, oval-shaped transmit winding. This Super D coils winding geometry provides a double audio response for shallow targets, and a single audio response for deeper targets.

The Minelab Super-D coils have also been designed to have minimal response to the impacts of scraping and knocks to the coil housing - which can cause annoying false signals during detecting e.g. some PI detector coils suffer from this.
The Minelab GPZ14 Super-D coil (which is actually 14’x13’ in size), and the bigger GPZ19 Super-D coil (actually 19’x18’ in size, and weighs 1.83kg), are also both waterproof to a rated depth of 1 metre. The GPZ 7000 detector control box & control panel are NOT rated as waterproof.

Other Features of the GPZ 7000
Unlike the GPX 5000 and GPX 6000 (and most other Minelab detectors), the GPZ 7000 features a concealed coil cable whereby the coil cable (and plug) is housed (internally routed) within the removable lower shaft.

Unlike the GPX 6000, the GPZ 7000 does not have a built-in speaker. However, the GPZ 7000 is supplied with a wireless ‘Audio Module’ speaker (WM12).

With 256 Noise Cancel channels, the GPZ 7000 has enhanced immunity against Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), and hence picks up less atmospheric noise, including from power lines, electrical equipment, and also other metal detectors operating nearby. There are two options to Noise Cancel - either via Auto Noise Cancel function (Default), or manually. Auto is the recommended setting, and may take up to about one minute.

Most people immediately notice the weight difference between the 7000 (3.22kg) and the younger Minelab sibling GPX 6000 (2.1kg) - with the 7000 being about 50% heavier than the 6000.
The use of a quality Bunji/Bungee/Bungy cord can effectively reduce the "swing arm-carried" weight of a detector by at least one-half (50%) e.g. so that the GPZ 7000's "felt weight" is comparable to the full weight of the GPX 6000.

Recommended Techniques for Achieving Optimal Performance
Like other Minelab detectors, good ground balancing techniques are crucial to getting the optimal performance capabilities out of the detector. The initial ground balancing technique for the GPZ 7000 IS DIFFERENT to the technique you should use for a Minelab Pulse Induction (P.I.) detector like the GPX series of detectors. Minelab recommend the following ground balancing technique for the GPZ 7000:

“Ground Balancing   VERY IMPORTANT
The best way to ground balance initially after switch on with the Quick Trak trigger depressed, is to sweep the coil in a typical side to side search mode at the expected operating height above the soil surface, e.g. 2–3 cm or whatever the soil saturation or terrain will allow, but at the same time move forward at slightly faster than normal walking speed, so as to cover as much different ground as possible in the first 10 to 12 seconds. The idea during this initial period after turn on, is to expose the detector to as much different soil data as reasonably possible to improve the
initial calibration.
IMPORTANT!   DO NOT ground balance using a coil up and down motion (like one would do using a PI detector) initially after turn-on with the Quick Trak trigger depressed. This does not give the initial calibration enough different soil information to calibrate optimally. If ground balance is required again sometime later (but without turning the detector off), ONLY THEN is the usual (PI type of) ground balancing up and down coil motion OK.”

Minelab Software Updates
There have been two software updates released by Minelab for the GPZ 7000.
The first update (released in 2015) related to a new auto ground tracking algorithm, and improved auto ground balance function.
The second update (released in 2017) featured an all-new ‘Ground Smoothing’ function as a primary enhancement. This function provided selectable noise filters that help deal with difficult ground, especially salty soils. A ‘Semi-Auto’ setting was also added to the ‘Ground Balance Mode’ to provide improved ground balance stability.

Yellow Ferrite Ring Ground Balancing
Minelab also recommended the use of their Yellow Ferrite Ring for optimal ground balancing.
Minelab stated:
“It’s very important to Ground Balance the GPZ 7000 using the yellow ferrite at the start of your detecting session. By doing this, any ferrite-like components encountered in the soil will not cause any false signal audio responses. The updated software shows the use of the yellow ferrite as part of the animated guide sequence when you follow the Quick Start/Quick-Trak process. (This is also a way to determine if a GPZ 7000 detector has the new software installed.)”

Accessories included with the Minelab GPZ 7000 detector
Accessories included in the Minelab GPZ 7000 box (in addition to the detector + Minelab GPZ14 coil) are:
Quick-Detachable Control (Guide) Arm + WM12 Wireless Audio Module + KOSS headphones + Pro-Swing 45 Harness + battery charger & charging cables.

Optional Coils
The Australian company ‘Nugget Finder’ (NF) recently released the Minelab-approved ‘Z-Search’ range of non-spoked coils, namely a 17x13" elliptical coil, and also a 12" round coil. These coils have a DOD configuration, a 3year Warranty, and are rated as water resistant to 1metre. These NF coils also include a Minelab lower shaft.

Several incredible gold nuggets have been discovered in Australia over the past 8 years using the GPZ 7000, including down to depths of about 1 metre, and no doubt yet more big nuggets will continue to be unearthed.