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Pioneering gold and silver mine approved for Scottish national park

Words: Roger Milne

Proposals to develop the country’s first-ever full-scale commercial gold and silver mine earmarked for a site in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park have been given the green light.

Scotgold Resources Ltd has been given consent by the park authority to extract more than half a million tonnes of ore from the underground Cononish mine, near Tyndrum, over a 17-year period. The company says it hopes to produce 12,000 ounces of gold a year initially.

James Stuart, convener of the authority’s board, said: “This was a complex and unique application given the need to consider the proposed mine operations as well as the multiple potential impacts and benefits for the wider area.

“Overall the authority and our board members concluded that the short to medium-term impacts will be outweighed by the longer-term environmental gains, particularly the landscape and habitat improvements to be made through the Greater Cononish Glen Management Plan, as well as the social and economic benefits for the local community and wider area and the overall long-term improvements for recreational activities within the area.

“The park is a special place but it is also a place where people live and work and it is the authority’s job to balance the need for development with the heritage and conservation of this unique landscape.”

There was a history of exploratory mining activity at Cononish before the national park was established, with exploratory mining carried out in the 1980s.

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