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The Clogau Mine
When you think of mining for gold you think of a long list of countries, but the UK is not on most people’s list. Few people realise that there are gold mines in the UK. In reality mining for gold in the UK has a long history. There are no mines in England, but there are a few in Scotland and Wales.
This piece is all about the biggest of the UK’s precious metal mines – The Clogau Gold Mine. Which is located in Bontddu, near Barmouth in the Kingdom of Gwynedd ,North West Wales.
The Clogau Mine began life as a copper and lead mine. By the 1850s geologists had identified the Clogau Mountain as a potential gold mining area, so the mine owners knew they could potentially find gold. Naturally, the mines owner, Mr Goodman, was on the lookout for the precious metal and in 1862, he discovered gold in his mine.
Between 1862 and 1911, the mine produced 165,031 tonnes of gold ore from which 2,442 kgs of pure gold were extracted. The majority of the gold extracted from the mine was Rose gold.
Unfortunately, the mountain was not easy to mine. One miner who worked the mine said usually finding gold is like finding the cream in a sponge cake. In the Clogau St David’s Mine it was like looking for a sixpence in the biggest Christmas cake you have ever seen. The gold in the mine does not follow a pattern or normal logic.
The rarity of the gold from this mine has made it sought after, so the price for it is high.
The royal connection has also helped to keep the price of the gold high. Since 1923, the wedding rings of the UK’s royal family have been made from Clogau gold. It is a tradition that has been continued until today. The wedding bands of HRH Prince William and Catherine Middleton were also made from this distinctive rose red gold.
Currently the mine is not producing any gold. In 1911, the mine closed, but it has re-opened several times since then. The last time it produced gold any substantial quantity of gold was in 1999.
However, there are plans to re-open the mine for full-scale mining. Despite the fact that mining has taken place in the area since the 1860s, the area has never been systematically explored.
The exploration that has been done has been spasmodic and over 30% of the potential mining area has not been examined in any way. This fact lead to a full exploration licence being granted in 2009.
In 2012, a full survey showed that there could be up to 500,000 ounces of gold to be mined in the area. The owners of the mine, Gold Mining Wales Ltd are now putting together a cost model the results of which will determine whether the mine is re-opened for mining or continues to be a tourist attraction.There is strong demand for the gold and good infastructure already in place, so it is very likely that the mine will re-open in the near future.