The good of gold

It WAS with dismay that I read that the Cononish Goldmine plan may be rejected on specious "landscape" grounds (your report, 11 August).

The operation is to be a small one, could be screened by a few trees, and the waste landscaped, covered in peat slurry and seeded afterwards.

Vast acreages of unnatural sitka spruce monocultures, in regular oblong blocks, lasting 70 years or more and polluting the streams with acidic run-off raise no eyebrows.

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Nor do the unsightly patchworks created by burning strips of heather to benefit the grouse, maintaining in the process an unnatural landscape which, if left untouched, would revert to the original Caledonian forest.

I have no problem with these practices. I only mention them to point out that the landscape the objectors imagine they are "protecting" is already an artificial one, created by thousands of years of human activity. In comparison, the temporary impact of a small mine tucked away out of sight is trivial.

As mining heritage is becoming a popular tourism theme, the addition of a gold mine to the existing old lead workings would enrich the area's industrial heritage, creating scope for an interpretative centre and guided tours.

Scotgold could leave Tyndrum with an economic legacy that far outlasts the lifetime of the mine.


Marina Avenue

Warrington, Cheshire

We must ask the question whether the national park exists for the tourists who maybe visit one or two days a year, or for the people who actually live there 365 days a year?

This enterprise is to be applauded if only for the economic benefits it will bring to the area.

If Scotgold has got its figures wrong (as Mr Watson suggests) at least the local community will have benefited from the temporary employment created.

Any long-term adverse impact can be protected by a bond to cover the cost of making good any "damage".

Wake up, Scottish National Heritage and RSPB (and the planning chief too) or you'll have no-one left to pay your salaries and subscriptions.


Caldwell Road

West Kilbride

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