News and Views from Scotland

Scottish Gold - Nearing the Jeweller's Window?

"There's Scotgold in them thar Hills!

Scottish gold looks as if it is finally heading towards high-end jewellers after a mining company announced that it plans to start extraction in the early summer.

Scotgold Resources has been working on the development of the Cononish mine at Tyndrum for nearly a decade. It is now planning a processing plant where it will trial ore-processing in the hope of persuading investors to back a larger project. The company expects the gold it extracts to fetch a premium because of its scarcity.

Until now, Scottish gold has been used only for royal jewellery and found by a minority of gold panners - such as the Crown of Scotland pictured on the left.

A spokesman for Scotgold said that the development was exciting and that several jewellers had already expressed an interest.

"For them, to market something as being made entirely from Scottish gold is fantastic as it is quite rare," he said. "This is the most tangible development undertaken by the company since incorporation."

Scotgold said that its portable processing plant would treat about 2,400 tonnes of material over a six-month period and estimated that it could yield as much as 500 ounces of gold. This method, the company said, would be a low-cost way to prove the quality of the seams in the hills. (Picture of gold bars © Andrzej Barabasz via Wikimedia Commons).

The separation process it intends to use does not involve chemicals, allowing the gold to be classified as ethical.

Scotgold Resources is an Australian owned mining company - its Cononish mine is located near Tyndrum in Perthshire. The mine was first excavated in the 1990s but never opened for business when the gold price dropped to £200 an ounce. The gold price is currently around £850 per ounce.

Not everyone is convinced. Campaigners allege that waste products could have a negative impact on the environment.

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23 April 2016

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