Grasping for gold in the GrampiansPublished by MAC on 2020-01-20
Scotgold readies to open Scotland’s first commercial gold mine
16 January 2020
Scotgold Resources (LON: SGZ), the company aiming to open Scotland’s first
commercial gold and silver mine in Cononish, is seeking its next big
discovery by stepping up sediment and soil sampling programs across the
Grampian project, in the Scottish Highlands.
“Although our prime focus continues to be the development of the Cononish
mine, our exploration activities continue to build an exciting portfolio
of anomalies which will form the basis for potential future drilling
programs in the years to come,” chief executive Richard Gray said in a
The company, which is close to declaring commercial production at
Cononish, has been working to reopen the abandoned gold mine near Tyndrum
for almost 13 years. The hope, Gray told FT.com, is that the project
proves the viability of precious metal extraction in Scotland.
“It sounds a bit presumptuous and grandiose, but we do see this as being
the start of a gold mining industry in Scotland,” Gray told FT.com. “I
think there will be a sort of mini gold rush, potentially, in the years to
While gold panning has a long history in Scotland, investor worries and
opposition from environmentalists have botched attempt to take the
activity to an industrial level.
Scotland has survived green activists’ disapproval, mainly focused on the
scale of the tailing that will be left behind, scoring a major win in
early 2018. At the time, it received initial approval for Cononish, about
80 km (50 miles) north of Glasgow.
The asset produced its first gold in August 2016, following the launch of
an ore processing trial. After the local authorities gave the project
their blessing, the company began building a large-scale operation.
Now Scotgold is about to start producing at its underground mine with an
initial output capacity of 23,500 ounces of gold annually, for up to 17
The company expects to process around 3,000 tonnes of ore per month in the
first phase, which it says will double in phase two.
As many as 52 jobs could be created during production, and the firm has
offered nearly £500,000 (about $612K) in payments to support the local
community of Tyndrum.
The small village is currently a local tourist destination, known mostly
for being at a junction of major transport routes.