Scotgold Resources has poured first gold at its Cononish underground gold and silver mine, in the Scottish Grampian Mountains area.
Following this first pour – a major milestone in the commissioning of the processing plant – the company is aiming to ramp up production at Cononish to design level early in 2021, taking its place as Scotland’s first commercial gold mine.
In line with its phased development program, Scotgold is now focused on completing an accelerated expansion plan to increase production at the mine to 23,500 oz/y. The current Phase 1 is targeting an annual rate of ore production of 36,000 t and total gold production of 9,910 oz in 2021. Phase 2 will focus on doubling the annual rate of ore production to 72,000 t and a more than doubling in average annual gold production to 23,500 oz.
The company is fully funded to achieve Phase 2 expansion by May 2022, 17 months from the commencement of Phase 1 production.
The current reserve of gold at Cononish is confined to a single narrow, near vertical quartz vein extending above and below the main access on 400 m level, which was originally developed for exploration purposes between 1989 and 1991. The mining method selected for the orebody is retreat, sublevel open stoping.
Scotgold CEO, Richard Gray, said: “Our first gold pour is not only a significant milestone in the development of our Cononish gold and silver project but a milestone on the road to a Scottish gold mining industry. Today’s news is therefore a landmark event both for the company and for Scotland.”