SCOTLAND’S only goldmine is in talks to create a special “hallmark” as the rich and famous queue up to own a piece of precious Scottish stone.
Royalty and celebrities are among the expected buyers of the first gold due from the mine in the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park in 2017.
The mine can produce up to 20,000 ounces of gold a year – which can be sold for up to £862 per ounce.
Scotgold Resources, the Australian company that owns the Cononish mine, revealed that it is in talks with the Edinburgh Assay Office to create a Scottish mark..
Chief executive Richard Gray said: “We believe the gold can be marketed with a Scottish provenance and that people will pay a huge premium for it.
“We have been in discussions with the Assay Office about a hallmark and they are receptive to the idea.”
The company is also talking to economic development agency Scottish Enterprise about the potential for selling precious stones mined in Scotland around the world.
“There is huge global interest in something like this,” said Mr Gray, a veteran of Africa’s gold mining industry. He added that it would have strong ethical appeal because there is no association with impoverished workers and poor working conditions.
“The jewellery trade are biting our hands off to get hold of this,” he said.
The company hopes to raise £20m from the banks and equity investors later this year when it will begin building the mine and installing equipment.
Marketing opportunities are already being looked at and Mr Gray hopes that the Royal family, which currently buys its gold from mines in Wales, may be persuaded to buy Scottish gold. “I think they would have to, wouldn’t they?” he said.
Production is scheduled to begin in 2017 which will be the 65th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.
Scotgold also hopes to be able to extract 80,000 ounces of silver per year from the mine, in the move which would also provide employment for 50 people.
Scott Walter, Chief Executive and Assay Master at the Edinburgh Assay office confirmed that what he termed a “control stamp” will be applied to the gold, to ensure buyers that their gold has gone through thorough control processes.
He said: “There is great potential in locally-sourced gold. It gives an opportunity for Scotland to supply a niche product with international appeal.
“The chain of custody will be made very clear with this gold, so that buyers know the gold they receive is the gold from this particular mine.”