Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Gold Rush

Scotland's quite a country for natural resources isn't it? First we have oil and now we have gold.

Tucked away, in a tiny rather isolated community on the western boundary of Perthshire, 20,000 ounces of gold, with a value of £13 million, will be mined annually from 2011.

Chris Sangster, the chief executive of Scotgold and a mining engineer, bought the old mine in 2007 just as gol prices began to rise. The company had estimated that it needed a price of around $650 per ounce to have a viable business, but with the recession pushing the price to $1,113 it now has the prospect of reaping untold riches.

More than 50 jobs will be created in the construction of the process plant and in the mine itself and the locals have given the project their full backing.

As for any clondikers, put away your pans and heed the words of Mr Sangster. "It's a fairly remote place. Then there's the simple fact that anything that you could carry away is worthless, more or less."


Jim Baxter said...

Hmm, let's do some sums here. Now, 20,000 troy ounces is about, oooh, 620kg. Now there are 1M cc in a cubic metre and 19.3 gs of gold in a cc - soo - we're talking about a cube with sides of about 0.3m all in all.

Now, all the gold ever mined if put together would make a cube of about 20.2m.

The questions are: what is Scotland's land mass as a percentage of the world's land mass, and what is 0.3m as a proportion of 20.2m?

Upon the answers depends the conclusion of how gold-rich we are in the league of gold-producing nations.

R, I'm happy for those who will be employed on this but I fear expansion of this kind of thing - would strip-mining across the Cairngorms, etc., be the price of independence?

subrosa said...

Jim I didn't do accurate maths myself but was very tempted to say maybe Scottish Enterprise are giving the grant in yellow stuff. Cynic I am, sorry.

It's no big secret gold is around in Perthshire to a very limited degree but I think we'd be better off with a pan and a pair of wellies. Just as much chance of a true profit.

Jim Baxter said...


Pan and wellies, yes. That's what I would have said.

As for gold mines, there are many of those in Speyside alone.

Witterings From Witney said...


"Scottish Gold"???

You just wait until the 'English' Parliament decides it is "UK Gold"!

Is that not what 'devolution' meant?

Oh, once again - Silly me!

subrosa said...

Indeed Jim. A pal's husband has been tripping up there for many a year with his pan, wellies, bucket and sandwiches. Still doing it at nearly 70. She's had a couple of pairs of rather swish earrings out of it and some very peaceful weekends she says. ;)

subrosa said...

WfW, that's why I didn't title it Scottish Gold lol. I could see all the Unionists immediately flocking to bookmark it lol.

scunnert said...

I used to live at mile zero on the Cariboo gold rush trail.

"Dreams of glorious riches brought thousands into Lillooet during the Cariboo Gold Rush of the 1850s and 1860s, transforming the area into a boomtown with 13 saloons and 25 licenced premises. The first trail to the Cariboo gold fields, known as the Cariboo Wagon Road, came through here; the jobs created by the construction of this trail likely saved the lives of many gold rushers who had lost their money trying to strike it rich. To this day, Lillooet residents still consider their town "Mile 0" on the Cariboo Wagon Road, and many towns along the Cariboo Highway are referred to by their distance north from this trail."

The town was the largest city west of Chicago in the 1860's but crashed after the rush to just a couple of thousand people. Other towns like Bralorne became ghost towns after the gold ran out in 1971. Along with boom and bust comes toxic pollution in the form of cyanide. Gold isn't all it's cracked up to be.

JRB said...

Scotgold still have a bit of an uphill struggle in front of them before they can start mining at Cononish Farm.

They need all the necessary planning permissions from the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority

They are also obliged to carry out pre-application consultation twelve weeks before they can submit their planning submission.
So far they have held the first of these two public consultations in Tyndrum Village Hall. The second will be on the 2nd Dec.

So it will be well into 2010 before they can start mining, assuming they get planning permission for large scale industrial development in the heart of a National Park.

subrosa said...

Evening John. I heard there was a meeting very recently with the village folks and that they have yet to put forward detailed planning applications but their intention was to ensure the locals were firmly on side.

So far they seem quite confident from what I hear. What's the word your way?

JRB said...

Morning Subrosa

The concerns I am hearing from one of the locals (who insists he is not alone) are twofold :-
1. Scotgold have not just a mining licence for Cononish Farm but for a huge area of 2000square km which covers from Tyndrum to Pitlochry. That covers some of Scotland’s most beautiful and dramatic scenery.
2. Every 100g of gold requires a tonne of ‘good’ rock (ie ore bearing); but for every tonne of ‘good’ rock you get three tonnes of ballast (ie rubbish). So for every 100g of gold you end up with a net four tonnes of waste. It is what happens to this waste, in a National Park, that is the big concern.

Yes it will bring some employment; yes it will bring improvement to the roads; yes it will bring much needed finances to the local economy – but at what price to the countryside.

subrosa said...

Jing scunnert. When I was wee I thought the stories of the gold rush were the best I'd ever heard. Far and away above Grimms fairytales and the like.

No it was a pretty awful experience for around 95% of them I understand.

subrosa said...

Morning again John. I didn't realise the licence spread so far so now I can understand concerns.

I'll be dumped just outside the NP don't you think? Certainly not in Fife, that wouldn't do but Angus, Aberdeenshire?

Related Posts with Thumbnails