17-Pound Gold Nugget - A farmer in the western Chinese Xinjiang Uygur region is making the headlines this week after he discovered a 17-pound gold nugget (7.85 kg) near a mining site.
Berek Sawuk, who resides in Qinggil County in Altay Prefecture, told the press that at dusk on Jan. 30, he was out walking when he came across the shinning yellow metal, which lay partly exposed on the ground.
Sawuk's 17-pound gold nugget is about 23 centimeters long, its widest side is about 18 centimeters and its thickest side is 8 centimeters. Experts say this may be the largest nugget ever found in the Altay Prefecture, which is renowned for being rich in the precious yellow metal.
Since Sawuk found the 17-pound gold nugget, he says many people have been to his home to take pictures of it and uploaded it online. Some commentators have noted that the nugget looks strikingly similar to the Chinese national flag, as well as a rooster, a man sitting on top of a mountain or a giant footprint - depending on which angle one looks at it from.
Sawuk's 17-pound gold nugget has not been appraised by an expert yet. Nonetheless, according to Xinhua, if the nugget is 80% pure (as it is widely believed to be), it would be worth up to $255,313 (1.6 million yuan).
While Sawuk says he has not been contacted by any government representative over the ownership of the nugget, experts say the 17-poud gold nugget may legally be the property of the state. According to Chinese law, all natural minerals and cultural relics are properties of the government. It is unclear if Sawuk would be entitled to any form of compensation if the nugget is reclaimed by the state.
Click here to see pictures of the 17-pound gold nugget.