Friday, November 13, 1998 Published at 04:35 GMT
Treasure hunt on Robinson Crusoe island
It is thought gold bars may already have been discovered
By South America Correspondent James Reynolds
A group of American explorers has been given permission to dig for buried treasure on the Robinson Crusoe island, 600km off the coast of Chile.
As might be expected, there is a great deal of secrecy surrounding the reported find.
The exact location of the discovery has not been disclosed and the explorers, said to be on a scientific mission, have not been named.
Officially they have been given permission to dig anywhere on the Robinson Crusoe island for archaelogical and historical remains, which most take to mean buried treasure.
It has long been suspected that some sort of treasure is buried on the island, which lies 600km off the coast of Chile.
The island was used by British pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries.
But previous excavation efforts have come to nothing.
These explorers are reported to have spent over two years conducting their search, using maps and historical surveys. Digging is expected to begin soon.
The explorers will be allowed to keep a quarter of whatever they find - the rest will go to the Chilean state.
The news of the discovery has been greeted with concern by the 700 residents of the Robinson Crusoe island, who say they have not been consulted over the find.
They are now worried that the island's wildlife will be harmed by an influx of people wishing to dig for buried treasure.