The Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority announcement of planning approval can be read here.
During the 1980s gold-bearing quartz was discovered near a waterfall, Eas Anie, about 4 km from Tyndrum village and close to Cononish farm. The extent of the deposit has been evaluated as important for both gold and silver, with drilling in the 1980s followed by underground development from 1990. The rocks are part of the Dalradian supergroup, deformed during the Caledonian orogeny and known to bear economic concentrations of gold elsewhere eg Northern Ireland.(1)(2)
The website Goldprice.org enables users to see a graph of gold price over time in £/gram.(3) Prices rose from 2009 (c £14/g) to a peak in 2011 of c £37/g, before declining to around £25/g from 2013 to 2016. From the start of 2016, however, the price rose again and has varied between c £30 and c £33/g throughout 2017 to the present. Planning permission for re-activation of workings at Cononish was granted some six years ago around the time of the peak price although progress towards the anticipated level of mining activity was delayed. Later, permission was granted for on-site processing of rock stockpiled from mining some years ago. Several gold ‘rounds’ were struck from this source, and sold at auction to collectors in 2016.(4)(5)
The successful application by Scotgold Resources Limited changes, inter alia, proposals for waste rock, with surface storage for more material in artificial landforms, and proposes slower extraction rates over a longer period of time to reduce costs.(5)(6)
Photo credits: view of waterfall and mine – cc-by-sa/2.0 – Gold mine near Tyndrum by Hugh Venables – geograph.org.uk/p/5487114; quartz vein cut at fault – cc-by-sa/2.0 – Cononish Gold Mine by Ashley Dace – geograph.org.uk/p/3439610.
2 New Gold Occurrences in the Scottish Dalradian, UK – Nature and Constraints on Genesis. Hill, N., Jenkin, G., Holwell, D., Catterall, D., Boyce, A., Mark, D., Gunn, G. and Rice, C. Fermor Meeting 2011: Ore Deposits in an Evolving Earth, The Geological Society.
3 Goldprice.org Available at: https://goldprice.org.
4 Carrell, S. (2016) Scottish mining company sells its first gold. The Guardian, 29 November. Available here.
5 BBC News, 2018. Cononish gold mine given planning permission. 27 February. Available here.
6 Scotgold website: here.
To find out more about the geology and history of Scottish gold:
Clark, N., 2014. Scottish Gold. Neil Wilson Publishing and The Hunterian, Glasgow University, Glasgow.