Organizations and individuals step forward during consultation period.
Plans to develop Scotland’s first commercial gold and silver mine at Cononish near Tyndrum have received a major boost following significant support for the proposed development during the consultation period.
A number of national and local Scottish organisations, as well as individuals including local residents, politicians and jewellers have offered their support to the planning application for the Scotgold gold mine, following the lodging of an application with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority in July.
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.
After the application was hit by a narrow refusal by the Park Board in August 2010, Scotgold – the company initiating the mine’s development – met several times with senior representatives of the park authority to discuss specific reasons for refusal, and sought to address these concerns, which have been worked into the most recent application.
So far, the development has received support from Scottish Tourism Forum, Scottish Council for Development and Industry, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, British Jewellers’ Association, Assay Office Scotland and a number of Scottish MSPs including Annabelle Ewing, Dr Richard Simpson, Murdo Fraser and Mike Mackenzie.
Vivien Johnston, director of luxury ethical jewellery brand Fifi Bijoux, has been involved with the process since its early days and has worked closely with Scotgold’s chairman Chris Sangster on reaching out to the jewellery industry.
Johnston has said of the Scotgold mine project: “The proposed mine is of local and national significance to the jewellery industry. Jewellers as the main end users of gold must find increasingly creative ways of gaining market advantage and Scottish brand in particular would gain a competitive edge by producing jewellery using locally sourced gold and silver for both the domestic and international markets.
“Scotgold have an excellent model for extraction, using the cleanest modern methods which are of minimal environmental impact. The firm has also demonstrated commitment to mitigating the visual impact by reducing the tailings management facility and the restoration strategy which has been submitted is comprehensive and sensitive to the local area and community,” she explained.
Chris Sangster, director and chief executive of Scotgold said: “We clearly delighted with the degree of support we have received from organisations and individuals, not just locally, but from across the UK. Our project will assist in delivering significant direct and indirect employment opportunities, as well as considerable economic investment potential.
“In dialogue with the respective parties, Scotgold has sought to address the environmental concerns that had been raised by the Park Authority and others and we look forward to progressing the project successfully through planning,” Sangster added.