Loch Lomond chief wants gold mined
Proposals to open Scotland's first commercial gold mine at a popular beauty spot should be accepted, planners have said.
Gordon Watson, planning and rural development director for Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, said a second application by Scotgold Resources to extract gold and silver from an underground mine in Cononish Glen near Tyndrum in the Trossachs should be approved.
The area is part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and is overlooked by a number of Munros, among them Ben Lui which is scaled by up to 15,000 climbers a year.
The development was turned down by the National Park Authority board last year amid concerns the mine would spoil the look of the area.
It followed the recommendation of planning chiefs who raised concerns about its effect on the landscape and recreation activities.
The proposed development involved the annual extraction of up to 72,000 tonnes of ore over 10 years, creating 52 jobs. The ore would be crushed on site and the gold extracted. Slurry would then have been pumped to a facility around 30-metres high.
The company lodged an appeal with Scottish Government ministers in November 2010 and said they would reapply. It then withdrew the appeal in April and submitted a revised proposal in July.
The new proposal, to be considered at a board meeting in Crianlarich on Tuesday October 25, before a final decision is made, includes a plan to "restore wild landscape and habitats" around the site, with some mining waste being put back into the mine.
Developers also say they will plant native trees around the site and will make wider improvements in the Cononish Glen.
In his report, Mr Watson said "the temporary adverse impacts are outweighed by the anticipated outcome of a higher-quality landscape and recreational experience being delivered in the long term".