Unusual discovery: Resident finds platinum on mining claim

By Kevin Cloe, Publisher/Editor

Gary Stout with platinum rock he found near Wickenburg.   

Gary Stout is paying closer attention to the ground around him lately, especially after he discovered a relatively rarely platinum stone in early May on one of his mining claims near Wickenburg.

Stout, who has been a Wickenburg resident for the past five years, was with a friend working their mining claim when he spotted an unusual rock.

“I showed it to my friend Dan Thompson and thought because of its color, it was a nugget of silver,” the 54-year-old Stout reported.

While taking a lunch break at Denny’s, Stout said he and his friend met Christopher Lambert, a rare-metals expert from Alaska - visiting Wickenburg for a month on business -- who was reading a Rare Metals catalog. They started a conversation with him, and then showed Lambert what they had just found.

“ I said I thought it was silver, and he corrected me and told me it was platinum,” Stout said. “When I got it home, I washed it real good and weighed it on my jeweler’s scale to a weight of 23.72 grams. Next I got out my chemical test kit and checked it for platinum.”

He noted that anyone in the mining field knows platinum has a slight magnetic pull, so he pulled out a Rare Earth Magnet and tested it.

“It did have a slight draw to it, confirming again it was platinum,” he said.

He called a friend in California and discovered platinum has been found in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, the largest nugget found in solid form was in California and weighed half an ounce.

So his three-quarters of an ounce rock makes it possibly the largest found in the Western states, he said.

And the value?

He estimates it could be worth about $2,000 but maybe as much as $20,000.

“The other good news is this nugget seems to have been broken off another piece, meaning there could very well be a larger piece I just haven’t found yet,” Stout said.

So Stout, who moved to Wickenburg from Orange, Calif., where he managed a prospector store, is keeping an eye out for that possible larger piece in the vicinity where he found his rock … but his mining claim encompasses 180 acres off Constellation Road. In fact, he owns 10 mining claims in the area, which he recorded about six years ago.

Stout said CBS News (Channel 5) in Phoenix showed some interested in his discovery and is awaiting to hear back from them.

In the meantime, he’ll concentrate his daily work on his mining claims in one particular area off Constellation Road.

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