Scottish Mine re-opens Amid Gold Boom
remaining gold mine is expected to reopen in the
next few weeks due to the precious metal's
The Cononish mine near Tyndrum, in
Stirlingshire, closed 10 years ago because the
low cost of gold made mining it too expensive.
Now, though, investors keen to avoid falling
global stock markets have been buying gold,
doubling its price and making the reopening of
Cononish economically viable.
It is estimated that with current precious metal
values, Cononish mine contains an estimated £76m
worth of gold and silver embedded in the quartz
The infrastructure needed to begin mining is
already in place, including rail lines and
ventilation tunnels, the legacy of excavations
20 years ago when the gold seams were first
A new rush to cash in on the boom is now under
Chris Sangster, chief executive of Scotgold
Resources, the Australian company behind the
plan, said: "It's now a very viable project.
There are about four and a half tons of high
quality gold, which is about 154,000oz, and
around 600,000oz of silver.
"Now that the gold price is hovering around $900
an ounce it radically changes the economics of
Test drilling in the area means the gold and
silver content has been well charted and further
excavations are about to start.
A specialist drilling rig is currently being
transported from Chile and when it arrives
further extensive excavation can begin.
But the area lies within the Loch Lomond and
Trossachs National Park, so there are
environmental sensitivities to consider.
As the mine already exists, the planning
application is simply to extend mining consent,
something Gordon Watson, from the National Park
Authority, believes is workable.
"Scotgold Resources are very serious about
addressing the environmental issues," he said.
"We have to safeguard the head waters of the
River Tay, which lie directly in the area, and
we will do that vigourously.
"But we are also very aware that gold isn't
something that's found every day, so we are
looking at this as positively as we can."
When the mine is fully operational it should
create about 60 jobs, with production expected
to start in 2010.