Cononish gold mine given planning permission


The first commercial gold mine in Scotland has been given full planning permission.

Cononish mine, near Tyndrum, was given approval after a special site visit by the planning committee of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

A pilot project has been running and the first refined gold has already been put on the market, at a premium price.

Developer Scotgold Resources aims to extract more than half a million tonnes of ore, operating for up to 17 years.

Its chief executive Richard Gray said he was "convinced the project will meet both the highest environmental standards and provide a significant boost to the local economy around Tyndrum."

The Cononish mine produced gold for the first time in August 2016 following the launch of an ore processing trial.

It has previously had permission for trial operations on rock that was already extracted.

Scotgold Resources plans to reopen an old mine shaft and move 170,000 tonnes of rock, along with the mineral ore.

A previous plan limited the operations to 10 years, but the firm is leaving open the option of slower production, depending on its finances.

The previous plan was also amended to change the way in which the rock stacks will be distributed, removing the need for diversion of a burn on the site.

A temporary bridge is being planned to keep site traffic away from the West Highland Way.

As many as 52 jobs could be created during production, and the firm has offered nearly £500,000 in payments to support the local community.

Mountaineering Scotland objected to the plan, but other groups and regulators did not, on condition that the mine meets clear conditions on its environmental impact.

The local Strathfillan community group was in support of the application.

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