The MAN at the helm of the proposed Tomingley Gold Mine near Dubbo, thinks an amateur who struck it lucky in Victoria earned his reward.
Alkane Resources managing director Ian Chalmers was, like the rest of the country, a little bit fascinated by the find, a gold nugget with an estimated value of more than $300,000.
An amateur prospector unearthed the nugget weighing 177 ounces or 5.5 kilograms with a metal detector near Ballarat in a popular area for prospecting.
Mr Chalmers predicted it would lure more hopefuls back to former goldfields in central west NSW.
He said places including the historic Hill End, Orange and even Parkes should benefit as a result.
"I wouldn't be surprised at all if there was a bit of a flurry," he said.
"It's worth a go, but perhaps not in 45-degree heat."
The Perth-based managing director whose $65 million Tomingley Gold Project may start production within a year said some of the serious prospectors went out in the bush for months at a time.
"To me that's hard work, just to find tin cans and horse shoes," Mr Chalmers said.
But he understood gold's enduring appeal.
"Gold is the only metal you can do that with - gain instant wealth.
"You can find silver, but it's worth much less."
Mr Chalmers said he was not sure about how much prospecting had been done in the district of Alkane Resources' focus, 50 kilometres south-west of Dubbo.
But he recounted that ants had provided the tip-off about the fortune buried underground more than 100 years ago when they built their glinting nests.
Prospectors had seen the signs and sunk a shaft that had turned into the big gold mine at Tomingley in the 1890s and early 1900s, Mr Chalmers said.
The area could revisit its heyday soon.
The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure approved Alkane's gold project seven months ago.
The company is now awaiting a mining lease to allow it to move into the construction phase.
The project, involving both open pit and underground mining, is expected to have a life of about 10 years and produce up to 1.5 million tonnes of gold ore each year.
It is expected to generate up to 100 jobs during construction and 90 when in production.