Page last updated at 10:00 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Scots gold firm in 2m flotation

The gold mine was previously abandoned in 1997
The gold mine was previously abandoned in 1997

The company which owns Scotland's only commercial gold mine has floated on a London stock market.

Scotgold Resources said it hoped to raise up to £2m on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Initial fundraising will help the Australian company pay for further exploration and development of a mine at Glen Cononish, near Tyndrum.

But it will only be a fraction of the cost of putting it into production, which could be more than £12m.

Scotgold Resources hopes that a high gold price of about $1,100 (£715) an ounce will help make the economics work for such a risky venture.

It has previously claimed there could be up to £70m of gold in the mine.

The mine was previously abandoned in 1997, when the price of gold fell to under $400 (£260) an ounce.

Chris Sangster said there was probably 4.5 tonnes of gold in the mine
Chris Sangster said there was probably 4.5 tonnes of gold in the mine

Chris Sangster, chief executive of Scotgold, said: "We are in a very fortunate position that in 1997 when the project was due to have gone ahead before, most of the technical work had already been completed, so we have picked up on that technical work, updated with a bit of new technology, and we are almost ready to roll.

"Our current resource estimate has about 4.5 to five tonnes of gold and about 20 tonnes of silver. That's 150,000 to 160,000 ounces of gold, which at the moment is worth probably $170m, with a bit of silver on top. That's what we know about at the moment."

Mr Sangster said the firm also had a wider exploration programme in the southern Highlands area and there were "good indications" there was more gold available.

Tim Williams, director of mining and metals at analysts Ernst & Young, said: "The Australians are very good at mining this kind of gold - narrow veins and so on.

"In Australia and in Canada, you have this army of investors who will put their own personal money into these little companies and they understand the way the industry works.

"There are about 150 of these junior mining companies on the AIM market in London but it is nothing compared to the thousands in Toronto and in Sydney."

Mr Williams said an AIM listing allowed companies to raise money when they did not have the same trading history as they would need for a main board listing.

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