A £300million gold rush is set to begin – in Scotland.
Prospectors believe vast quantities of the precious metal lie beneath the soil north of the border.
And it has been announced the country’s first commercial gold mine will start production within two months.
Shares in Scotgold Resources jumped more than 4% after bosses said construction of its Cononish project near Tyndrum in Argyll, west Scotland, was progressing well.
The company hopes to mine 550,000 tonnes of good quality gold-bearing ore – enough to keep it operating for at least nine years.
Chief executive Richard Gray said they hoped to “unlock the fantastic potential of this whole area” to “build a highly profitable low-risk gold mining company”.
A company spokesman said: " With the completion of the critical platform earthworks, concrete works and placement of major equipment items, plant construction is now focused on the building structure to be followed by the installation and connections of pumps, drives, piping and electrics and ultimately commissioning.’’
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The mine at Cononish is expected to kick start a cottage industry in Scottish gold jewellery-making.
The gold processed on site will carry a Scottish hallmark – a stag’s head in a triangle.
It is not the first time gold-diggers have headed north to find their fortunes.
More than 600 prospectors flocked to Sutherland after resident Robert Gilchrist discovered the precious metal in a stream in 1868.
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Within weeks locals were pulling enough from the river for local jewellers to craft gems from the finds – but a year later the supply diminished.
Excitement was reignited with the discovery on a single 22-carat nugget in the river last May (2019).
Tests suggest the precious metal could be buried in a 10-mile belt near a site previously drilled for gold in Wester Ross in the north-west Highlands.
London-based GreenOre revealed rock samples showed there could be a `far bigger’ seam deeper underground.
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