Canberra: Miners in Western Australia have unearthed huge gold-encrusted rocks estimated to be worth millions of dollars in what geologists are calling a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.

Canadian miner RNC Minerals says that it has extracted more than US$11 million (Dh40 million) worth of gold in just four days at the Beta Hunt gold mine.

The largest specimen, weighing 95kg, was found to contain more than 2,400 ounces of gold, valued at about $3 million. The second-largest, a 63kg specimen with an estimated 1,600 ounces of gold, was worth $2 million.

The irony is that Beta Hunt has been mined for nickel, which is a key ingredient in stainless steel, since the 1970s, and gold has always played second fiddle.

RNC Minerals had targeted the gold vein, located 500m underground, after finding traces of gold closer to the surface in June.

Most gold in Western Australia is processed into gold bars before being sold to Perth Mint, but Beta Hunt owners plan to send the largest specimens to auction as collectors’ items.