MINING could be returning as a major industry in Scotland – though not for coal, but gold.
And with oil – which for decades was Scotland’s ‘black gold’ earning billions of pounds – seeing prices plummet as each month passes, real gold could provide a massive boost to the country’s economy.
Exploration at sites in Aberdeenshire and Ayrshire are now expanding, with a global mining company acquiring additional land in a bid to exploit gold resources.
GreenOre Gold’s managing director, Gavin Berkenheger, hopes the developments could mirror a massive project which is taking place in Northern Ireland, whereby more than 3.5 million ounces of gold is planned to be exploited over four years.
The price of gold has risen in recent years and, on the global market has become a billion pound industry.
The village of Towie in Aberdeenshire is set to become the golden centre of Scotland.
Mr Berkenheger said: “We have made an acquisition of a further 248km squared prospecting area to the north and east of the ‘Towie’ licence.
“This has increased the total prospecting area to 500km squared encompassing the townships of Towie, Rhynie and Alford.
“The increased size of the prospecting area was due to the positive results obtained in the second half of 2015.
“The results include many high grade rock samples up 53.8grams per ton over a 10km trend.”
An ounce of gold, worth over £700, is made up of around 31g.
Mr Berkenheger added: “Visible gold was also noted in a rock sample and numerous streams.
“Future work will aim to identify the extent of the gold trend and locate new targets.
“Work will include stream sediment sampling, rock and soil analysis with the possibility of trenching and drilling to obtain gold in bedrock.”
Meanwhile GreenOre Gold has acquired further exploration ground near Straiton, South Ayrshire.
The total prospecting area covers 250km squared. Historic references include 57g/t gold in outcrop.
There has been significant developments in Northern Ireland and Ireland by exploration companies in recent years over the ‘Dalradian Terrane’.
However, Scotland has been overlooked until now and GreenOre Gold has recently acquired ‘high potential’ exploration ground along this trend.
Mr Berkenheger, a 32-year-old Aberdeen University geology graduate, believes real gold could replace the fortunes made from “black gold” – the oil and gas industry during its heyday when it pumped billions of pounds into the British economy.
He said te farmland site he is exploring is part of the same geological “supergroup” as a massive gold deposit across the Irish Sea.
The Dalradian supergroup – thought to have formed more than 500 million years ago – runs from Northern Ireland in a north-easterly direction across Scotland, ending up in Aberdeenshire.
Mr Berkenheger, who worked on the Dalradian project in 2007, said: “The Dalradian supergroup runs from Ireland through Scotland in a north-easterly direction, into Aberdeenshire.
“I started looking along this geological track and sure enough there have been historical references throughout Scotland. I just took a look at a few of these areas and eventually found this location in Aberdeenshire. It had all the right characteristics and deposits.
“I wondered why no one was mining gold in a big way as Scotland has huge potential, but the country has focused too much on oil and gas.
“This area has all the right hallmarks of a major deposit under the surface to mirror Daradian gold in Northern Ireland, which has a 3.5 million ounce deposit. We hope to repeat this success.”
Mr Berkenheger hopes continued investment, such as with Kozo, will lead to further projects, adding: “I plan to develop along this track.”