Hill that glitters is not gold

The mineral resembling gold found on a hill in Pitas has been confirmed to be pyrite, or fool’s gold. (Facebook pic)

Hill that glitters is not gold

KOTA KINABALU: It was always too good to be true – the hype over gold supposedly found in the northern Pitas district has been shortlived as the rocks are nothing but pyrite, or fool’s gold.

Sabah minerals and geoscience department acting director Webster Wong has confirmed that the mineral resembling gold found on a hill in Pitas is actually pyrite, an iron sulfide mineral with a metallic lustre.

Wong said a team from the department went to the site yesterday to collect samples for checking.

“Our officers did not find any gold but only pyrite,” he told FMT.

The department will issue an official statement over the matter soon, he added.

Wong said some people had come to their office previously, bearing rocks that appeared to be laced with gold.

Some of the shiny lodes found on the hill. They have all been found to be just pyrite. (Facebook pic)

“It was the same thing then as the rocks were only pyrite, but those days, WhatsApp and Facebook weren’t used as much and those cases did not go viral unlike now when you have social media.”

Netizens had been sharing photos in WhatsApp and Facebook since Monday of a hill in Kampung Boluoh Bongkol in the district and of rocks found there that contained what looked like gold.

A road construction worker who requested anonymity, claimed to be among the first people to make the discovery on Monday. He told FMT that he and his co-workers noticed some rocks laced with gold while carrying out construction work on a road that passes by the hill.

He said they had been working for over a month to build Jalan Bongkol and that this was the first time they had seen such rocks.

Geologist Felix Tongkul, who examined the photos, said the rocks could be pyrite or chalcopyrite, a copper iron sulfide mineral which, to the untrained eye, looks like gold.

The two minerals are known as “fool’s gold” and Tongkul said they were worth virtually nothing, adding that Pitas was geographically “not the right place” to find gold.

Hill that glitters is not gold

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