Just a stone’s throw from picturesque hiking trails in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park lies Scotland’s only commercial gold mine. The Cononish project was embraced by the local community and championed by politicians – as well as investors who bought shares in its London-listed owner Scotgold Resources.
But hopes that for decades to come it could produce gold to be exported or crafted into fine jewellery have been thrown into question after Scotgold last week warned it could crash into administration. The warning was not the only news to rock the mining industry last week.
Councillors turned down a proposal to extend operations at Wales’ last opencast coal mine, Glan Lash in Carmarthenshire. And, separately, a slew of major insurance firms ruled out providing cover to the controversial planned coal mine in West Cumbria.
From these headlines, it may look as though the sector is in crisis. So what has gone wrong – and is it still worth having a UK mining industry at all? Mining in the British Isles has a rich heritage and dates back to the Bronze Age more than 4,000 years ago. Later, Romans flocked here for lead and copper.
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