Approval won after three years of applications and developments.
After more than three years of planning applications, winning approval from local residents, the government and the industry, Scotland’s first commercial gold mine has been given the go-ahead.
The plans received unanimous approval at a meeting with the board of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority on October 25.
Planning had perviously missed approval by a narrow margin due to the National Park rejecting plans in August last year. Scotgold Resources – the company behind the plans for the mine – and members of the board of the park authority have since met several times to resolve issues that had been raised.
The recommendation to grant approval for the mine is subject to concluding a number of legal agreements and outstanding issues with the executive director of the National Park which Scotgold expects to settle shortly.
If planning and development continues with success, the first commercial gold and silver mine for Scotland will be open near Cononish in the first few months of 2013.
Scotgold’s chief executive Chris Sangster said: “We are delighted with the decision from the parks’ board. This represents the culmination of three years’ detailed work towards planning a mining development which meets the exacting environmental standards required by the National Park Authority.
“The Cononish project provides a significant commercial opportunity in the interests of all stakeholders, in particular the local community which has been a keen supporter for a development that promises increased local employment and economic activity.”
Sangster also acknowledged the “significant assistance” of the National Parks Authority and its advisors and consultees, whom he says have helped produce specific parts the mine application.
The mine is expected to produce 20,000 ounces of gold and 80,000 ounces of silver per year, of which 5,000 ounces of gold will be extracted as unrefined gold bars and identifiable as Scottish Gold. More than 50 jobs will be created with the opening of the mine, along with further peripheral jobs due to the logistics involved with the mining.