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SOARING gold prices have spurred a new goldrush as prospectors search Australia's abandoned turn-of-the-century goldfields hoping to strike it lucky.
Gold prices have risen more than 25 per cent since the beginning of the year as concern over global growth has turned investors to the safe haven of the metal, which they believe will hold its value amid market volatility.
Adelaide's Dennis Cooper has been a gold prospector for 25 years and has just returned from an 8000km round-trip to Western Australia's Port Hedland, where he found three troy ounces of gold worth $5373.
"I go to the original 1870s goldfields and I go bush on tracks where people don't usually go," Mr Cooper said.
"The goldfields were packed when I went last time and there's been a definite increase in the number of people looking for gold."
While Australia's first prospectors panned streams for gold, the tool of choice for the new breed of prospectors like Mr Cooper is a hand-held metal detector.
Metal detector company Minelab's general manager Peter Charlesworth said there had been a rise in sales of detectors since 2009 that corresponded with a rise in the price of gold.
"Across the world we've had a record sales year and it's been driven largely by a significant rise in the gold price," Mr Charlesworth said. "Sales have been especially strong in Africa, but we are also seeing solid growth across all continents."
Minelab's ASX-listed parent company Codan has reported a significant increase in the number of detectors sold over the past two years, with revenue gained from metal detectors more than doubling since 2009 to about $92 million.
Mr Cooper warned that detecting was hard work and owning a gold detector did not guarantee success.
"You can be lucky and find a patch of gold, but sometimes you do go with high expectations and come back with nothing for the day," he said.
"You can't just go out there with a machine; it takes years to learn how to use them properly."
While gold prices are still high and fetching $1791 an ounce last night, they are likely to remain volatile in the near term as investors look towards US economic data due later this week.
Courtesy The Australian
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“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
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