There’s platinum in them thar hills says Scotgold chief Chris Sangster

SCOTGOLD could add copper, platinum and other precious metals to its interests following “exciting” initial findings five kilometres from its Cononish gold and silver mine near Tyndrum.

Drilling results from the Sron Garbh complex to the north of Loch Lomond have also revealed evidence of cobalt, gold, nickel and palladium.

Chris Sangster, chief executive of Aim-quoted Scotgold, said the unusual style of the deposits could indicate an extensive mineral formation.

“The style, the type of rocks and the signature of the elements are similar to other significant deposits elsewhere in the world,” Sangster said.

These include developments such as the Aguablanca nickel and copper mine in Spain, the Voisey’s Bay nickel project in Labrador, Canada, and the Lac des Iles complex in Quebec, Canada’s largest body of palladium.

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Further drilling will begin at Sron Garbh within the next six months to better determine the size of the discovery and whether there are larger amounts of minerals at deeper depths.

Sangster said it is impossible right now to say whether the find is huge or small.

“There is potential for a deposit of economic significance – that is the best way to put it,” he said, adding that the presence of platinum was particularly noteworthy.

“You don’t come across platinum very often in Scotland, just one or two places,” Sangster said.

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“It underlines the fact of what we have said before – Scotland is under-explored for minerals, so there is a lot of potential out there.”

Scotgold has three licenses covering 3,200sq km across central Scotland, including the Cononish site that will be the country’s only operational gold mine when it begins production later this year.

The licenses give it the right to prospect for and seek a lease to mine gold and silver, with other minerals generally belonging to the owner of the land.

However, Sangster said Scotgold would be interested in adding other metals to its portfolio, adding “an exciting new dimension” to the exploration programme.

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Last month, Scotgold received formal planning permission to mine at Cononish after striking an agreement with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to ensure the restoration of the site if Scotgold withdraws from the project.

Initial approval for a ten-year underground mine had been granted in October.

Scotgold expects to mine Cononish at an annual rate of 72,000 tonnes, producing up to 25,000 ounces of gold and 85,000 ounces of silver over the lifetime of the project. Cashflow generated from the Cononish mine would be used to fund other exploration in the region.

Scotgold in its current form was launched in 2007 and took over two Scottish gold mining companies. It floated on the Australian stock market the following year and added a listing on Aim in 2010.

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Shares in Scotgold closed 7.3 per cent higher yesterday at 5.5p, valuing the business at about £10 million.