The price of gold – the new planning application at Cononish

Slide from the secret Board Members Briefing Session in January 2015 obtained under FOI.  This meeting took place just  prior to the special Board Meeting which approved the revised Cononish goldmine planning application – why?

Scotgold Resources Ltd are holding two “consultation” events at Tyndrum Village Hall on 10th and 24th May between 10.30 – 20.30 on new proposals for the Cononish goldmine.  Their proposals are set out in a scoping report which is now on the Loch Lomond and Trossachs Park Authority Planning Portal (see here).     The Report does not contain a clear description of how the new proposals differ from those already granted planning permission or the rationale for the changes.

 

The core of the proposal however appears to be that instead of a large proportion of the waste being returned to the mine (underground waste facility in map above) and the eventual restoration of the tailings facility (within orange line  above), Scotgold is now proposing that all the waste from the mine be left outside.

 

Proposal from scoping report

 

The consequence of this, which you can see by comparing the two maps, is that the waste from the mining operation will now cover a far larger area of ground.  Instead of the orange area in the first map, about half the ground within the boundary to the mining operation contained within the red line would be covered in mine waste.     In order to make this acceptable Scotland are proposing that the waste be shaped to look like hummocky moraine (outlined in blue).

Slide from Secret Board Briefing Session January 2015

To give an idea of the potential landscape impact, its worth considering the photomontage of the temporary tailings facility in the original proposal (above).   Under the new proposal it appears waste will cover over three times the area of ground.

 

The proposal to create artifical moraine out of mine waste

 

Extract from scoping report

While the proposal to create artificial moraine appears clever, it would be a major alteration of the landscape formed by glaciers.   There is an extremely fine hummocky moraine field at the head of the Cononish Glen around Dalrigh but none below the Eas Anie, the fine waterfall just above the mine entrance – that’s not an accident.  Hummocky moraine would never have developed here, its too close to the steep sides of Beinn Chuirn.  What Scotgold is proposing therefore is totally artificial and out of place in this landscape.   Its inappropriate for a National Park created to protect the landscape.

View up River Cononish to Ben Lui. While the gold mine entrance is just out of the picture, middle right, you can see how the ground on the slopes above the farm sheds is smooth (also shown top photo).

There is nothing in Scotgold’s scoping report to say how they intend to construct moraine out of mine waste.  Moraine normally comprise blocky till set within a matrix of grit and sand which holds the landform together and has done so successfully for thousands of years.   Scotgold have said nothing about whether the mine waste would contain the right mix of material to construct artificial moraine let alone how they would do this.   Nor have they said what will happen when the Allt Eas Anie, which flows through the middle of the proposed artificial moraine field, changes course as it will at some point and starts to erode into the side of the moraine mounds.   Will the whole thing collapse or will both burn and mound be held together with concrete?

 

In the original planning consent for the mine the LLTPNA made a number of requirements in respect to waste from the mine, including:

 

“removal of all materials within the TMF [tailings management facility] and recirculation pond  (which were not won from within the TMF) which shall be returned to the underground mine in the first instance until it reaches capacity, and the remainder used to re-grade the mine platform/processing building area; and the landscaping and re-vegetation of the track from the farm to mine platform)”

REASON: To minimise the adverse landscape and visual impact and ensure that the site is restored to a satisfactory standard in this sensitive area of the National Park.”

 

In my view they should stick with those conditions and uphold the original reasons for that decision.

 

What cost our landscape?

 

Whether the LLTNPA will do so however is another matter.

 

The new proposals appear to be all about money or, more accurately, saving Scotgold money in order to make a profit for their investors (who would appear no longer to include Owen McKee, the former LLTNPA Convener of the Planning Committee (see here) at the time the original planning application was approved).  Scotgold have been running a trial, following the alteration granted to the original planning permission in January 2015 which allowed them to store waste in bags, and my guess is that from that trial they have quickly discovered that there is not enough gold in the ore to pay for their original waste storage proposals or full restoration of the land (or for the jobs that that restoration would create).   It would be much cheaper simply to leave the waste on site, hence the present proposal.

 

Its dressed up of course with a few sops to the public:

The risk is the LLTNPA will use these sops as an excuse to approve the new proposal when a planning application is submitted.     What drove LLTNPA approval of the goldmine was the promise of jobs – the lure of gold – and this is reflected in the planning permission granted for the current trial:

 

 

The question for the LLTNPA – to which I will return – is whether the creation of a few temporary jobs justifies this destruction of the landscape and whether the proposals meets the LLTNPA’s legal obligation to promote sustainable economic development.

 

The need for transparent decision making

 

The list of secret LLTNPA Board Meetings since 2010 FOI 2016-002 Appendix A list topics at Board Briefing sessions shows that the number of such meetings puts those of the Scottish Police Authority which has recently been forced to go public into the shade.  Three considered the Cononish application:   13/12/10; 20/06/11 and 19/01/15.   Just why, in the case of the January 2015 meeting, Board Members had to be briefed prior to considering the application in public, should I believe be a matter of major public concern.  While the slides, some of which are included in this post, appear quite neutral – unlike some of the Your Park slides – the real issue is what was discussed.  We will never know as no minutes are kept of these sessions.

 

If Board Members are not capable of understanding the papers put to the public meeting, there are questions about their fitness to serve on the Board.  If the briefing was not for that purpose,  the only other explanation appears to be that the Board was in effect deciding what should happen in advance, in secret.  That is wrong.  The new LLTNPA Convener, James Stuart, really does need to stop this practice and make a public declaration that it will no longer consider planning applications in secret.  If he fails to do that, the Scottish Government should step in and require the LLTNPA to do so.

 

The other problem with the LLTNPA’s failures in terms of transparency is illustrated by the Owen McKee case.   Owen McKee had traded in Scotgold shares after consent had been given into the goldmine going ahead.   The LLTNPA conducted a sham investigation into what happened (see here for example) which concluded that the basis of that planning decision had not been undermined by Owen McKee’s actions.   The unanswered question is the degree to which Owen McKee, as Planning Convener, influenced other members to reverse their previous decision to refuse the goldmine application as inappropriate for a National Park because he hoped personally to profit from this at some time in the future.   Its quite possible of course that Owen McKee never thought of buying Scotgold shares until after the planning consent had been granted although its probably impossible to answer this question now.   The LLTNPA however never even asked the question which suggests that there were other agendas present.  If so, those may still be relevant to how the new proposal is determined.

 

The public should be very sceptical about the whole planning process.  As a start the LLTNPA should make public on its website all the information from the secret meetings which considered the Cononish application – the slides published above are not on the Park’s website – and the monthly monitoring reports which Scotgold has been required to provide since the current “trial” started.

44 Comments on “The price of gold – the new planning application at Cononish

  1. I think this should be taken into consideration , the local people have shown overwhelming support for the Gold mine and the comment below from your site :
    “People who want to live in the Parks face multiple challenges, including access to housing and well-paid jobs.”

    Your guesses and assumptions and statements are factually incorrect, for example:
    “To give an idea of the potential landscape impact, its worth considering the photomontage of the temporary tailings facility in the original proposal (above). Under the new proposal it appears waste will cover over three times the area of ground.”

    There is nothing temporary about the original tailings dam proposal and to say as much shows you have no idea of the project .

    “The question for the LLTNPA – to which I will return – is whether the creation of a few temporary jobs justifies this destruction of the landscape and whether the proposals meets the LLTNPA’s legal obligation to promote sustainable economic development.”

    There has been no destruction of the landscape and again you are showing no knowledge of the project.

    The main reason for the original proposal being refused was the size of the original tailings dam, Scotgold addressed this and in my opinion the most recent proposal is even better, you speak of what could not be possibly created naturally in the glen, suppose you missed all that forestry that man planted and would not have occurred naturally.

    Sometimes some people can’t see the woods for the trees.
    I will be at the public meeting on the 24th, why don’t you come along and update yourself you could even attend a mine and plant tour on the 25th and see for yourself just how factually poor your article is.

    1. George, thanks for your comment. My reference to the tailings management facility being temporary was because I understood there was a plan to restore it and the original decision referred to a restoration plan – if it was then decided no restoration plan was needed I would be grateful if you could point me to that information. Otherwise I don’t think it was unreasonable to refer to the TMF as temporary. There has been very little destruction of the landscape because very little mining has taken place so far – the issue is what happens if less waste is to be buried in the mine and the implications that has both for the landscape and local jobs. It seems to me if more waste is permanently left outside the mine there will be fewer jobs but if I have got that wrong I would be grateful if you could explain. I hope I might get to one of the public meetings and hope that other people who are interested will do so.

  2. This article is comical, the author is clearly out of touch with this project.
    So many faults on so many fronts.
    Scotgold don’t own the Mine, they lease it from the land owner.
    Temporary tailings dam , lol , you have no idea at all etc etc

  3. Nick,
    Your reply only confirms what I have said in my first post,” you have no idea of the project” , it would also seem apparent that you have no idea of mining in general.
    I would suggest you do some research before writing articles that are factually wrong and inaccurate with guesses that are wide of the mark. You will find the following links useful in correcting what is a misleading article at best, other may view it differently and not in a good light, i.e. Scotgold
    https://www.scotgoldresources.com.au
    http://www.investegate.co.uk/Index.aspx?searchtype=3&words=sgz
    I presume you will correct the articles faults or at least remove it until you have had time to properly research the project in full.
    You have my e-mail

    1. George, where there are factual errors in any article on parkswatch, I am committed to correcting them and am grateful when people bring them to may attention. I hope you agree though we are entitled to hold different viewpoints?

      1. Nick,
        It is lazy reporting, use the links and do your own research instead of asking others to do it for you, it is after all your article.

    2. I followed the links you provided and read through a host of material about the finance of the project. There is very little detail of what will actually happen on the ground.
      Examining the material however did reveal that a cyanidation is likely to be carried out at Coronish. This chemical process is an extremely hazardous (but cheap) way to extract gold from very poor ore. It uses poisonous cyanide which will kill most plant and animal life it comes into contact with. The tailings will leach cyanide compounds long after the gold is gone. There are of course regulations about methods of working with cyanide which mitigate against the possibility of major harm but realistically I would question whether this process should be carried out in what the company Scotgold themselves describe as a sensitive location within a National Park.
      Various American states have banned the process completely, as have the Czech Republic and Hungary. Again it make you wonder why such a controversial method of gold extraction would be contemplated in one of the most important environments in Scotland.

      1. Hi Fiona,
        I put the question of cyanidation to the CEO in the village hall this afternoon.
        There will be no cyanide in the tailings.
        Rgds.

        1. Well Fiona,
          Can you please quote from the links where it says that any leaching of the gold with cyanide will be treated on site at Cononish that you have wrongly stated . I will save you the time there is none. All treatment of the gold concentrate will be off site , this is a simple fact.
          Up to 25% of the gold can be realised by a simple crushing and flotation process that uses no chemicals the remainder of the gold will be in a gold rich concentrate and will all be treated off site.

          I would suggest that you examine your findings again because like the article itself you are wrong on so many fronts. Providing false information and trying to mislead others with information that is wronged that you can’t back up would suggest you have an agenda of your own.

          1. The original proposal granted planning permission was for the cyanide treatment to take place off-site and there is nothing in the scoping report to suggest Scotgold proposes to change this so you are right about this. However, your claim that “Up to 25% of the gold can be realised by a simple crushing and flotation process that uses no chemicals the remainder of the gold will be in a gold rich concentrate and will all be treated off site.” is only partially correct. It is true that its estimated 25% of the gold can be realised through a crushing process but not that this is simple and does not use chemicals. The scoping report dated April 2017 says : “All reagents used in the process will be securely stored within the plant building. In the flotation process the reagents used are potassium amyl xanthate (collector), in powder or liquid form contained in 120kg drums (or possibly in solution form). The flotation frother is methyl isobutyl carbinol which will be stored as liquid in 50 gallon drums.” So, you appear to be wrong in what you have said about no chemicals being involved in the process. I am sure you have just made a mistake but I think it illustrates that to conclude from someone making a mistake that something is unacceptable or the person knows nothing about a proposal or is a liar is not helpful.

  4. Nick,
    Your welcome but there are numerous errors in your article.
    Scotgolds mine at Cononish is up there with the top ten mines in the world for Grade;
    Average gold grade of the Measured and Indicated Resource at Cononish is 14.3 g/t

    Below is comical and shows a lack of research on your part;

    “and my guess is that from that trial they have quickly discovered that there is not enough gold in the ore to pay for their original waste storage proposals or full restoration of the land”

    Scotgold’s Cononish project has an EBITDA in excess of £100Million for the phased approach and the full scale approach, your guess above is bad journalism.

    I could go through the entire article but I have work in the morning

    1. Chris, I am delighted – if there is so much gold and so much money (I would be grateful for your sources for this information) what is the reason for changing the current application? From what you say there is more than enough money to pay for a proportion of the waste to be returned to the mine as originally agreed, with all the extra jobs that will create – or have I misunderstood something?

  5. Nick, You seem to have misunderstood just about everything judging by your article.
    I note George King has provided you with links to appropriate sources of information and I would suggest you use them . ( COMMENTS AT 11:01 MAY 9Th )

  6. Well well ,
    This has got to be one of the poorest articles I have read in my time. Some reporters make some mistakes, some rush the article through for deadlines etc and some are just lazy and some have their own agenda and occasionally some are accurate !
    This article tick’s all of the above and more with the acceptation of being accurate.
    The quote below from this article is so ironic given the poor reporting in this article, change board members to author and you get the picture.
    “If Board Members are not capable of understanding the papers put to the public meeting, there are questions about their fitness to serve on the Board”
    Pot Kettle Black, should the author of this article be writing ?
    The article shows a very poor understanding if any of what is being proposed.

  7. Hello Nick,
    An interesting article but as George & Chris say, there are a whole load of inaccuracies in it.
    Scotgold are holding public events in Tyndrum Village Hall both today and in a fortnight’s time (24th) from 1030hrs – 2030hrs.
    I would highly recommend you (and any others reading this) go along for a visit, if you are able. It will change youe mind as to exactly what is happening at Cononish and demonstrate how good a thing the whole project is.
    Rgds

  8. Thanks Nick for this report, I noted on following the link provided to the Scotogold site the the company has posted an update on the Colonish Goldmine Application at the request of the LLTNPA but failed to take the opportunity to illuminate the public as to the relative merits of the proposed changes ending with a schematic of the Goldmine but leaving me to make more assumptions as to what it all means. This is really quite unhelpful and presupposes that everyone with something to say about the proposal has to loose a days work and travel to one of the open days in Tyndrum. I made a start on the second link, the one for investors only, which gives me a hint to the possibly biased nature of the content. It does indeed hold a lot of interesting information, and 1 and a half hours in I’m still only at February 2016, It’s too bad this can’t be presented in a more concise form so the general public, who I suspect are neither miners or investors, just don’t give up. I tried to respond to Dalgleish Associated Limited via the provided link but the response form refused to transmit my questions at this time, another half hour wasted. So many of my questions remain unanswered I’ll just have to make the assumption that when an applicant can’t provide the information in an easily digestible form to a concerned public then my only option is to oppose the planning application to force a public consultation. I note that there is a lot of other mining investigations going on in and around the Park by Scotgold called the Grampian Project, – https://www.scotgoldresources.com.au/projects/grampian-project/ This now doubt will be handled in the same way agree to anything to get started then change the application mid project so you can do what you want.

    1. Hi Ross.
      Instead of making incorrect assumptions, why not give Scotgold’s office a call and get the facts? Their number is 01838 400 306.
      Rgds.

      1. Victor, instead of the public trying to contact Scotgold to find out what exactly they are proposing and why, do you not think it might have been better they put this in the scoping report submitted to the National Park so everyone could read this? Or, alternatively, one clear statement on their website instead of readers having to try and work through dozens of links, as Ross tried to do. Nick

      2. Thank’s Victor, I took a best guess that we were already in discussions with Scotgolds representative George King and others through this blog I will take the time to contact Scotgold directly as you have suggested before the 2nd public consultation which I have made arrangements to attend on the 24th May.
        From what you say of Scotgolds plans it would also be very interesting and informative if I (we) could attend the mine visit on the 25th May as proposed originally by George.
        As to the continued assertions of false or wrong assumptions, I must agree with Nick on this. The multiple planning applications, amendments and related documents are for consumption by the general public and as such should be both comprehensive, in plain English and consolidated into one set of concise documents highlighting all material changes to the original applications. Even then best guesses and assumptions remain part of the process and ultimately determine the quality of the understanding of the project.
        Let’s be clear on this, Scotgolds and DALs own documents are full of assumptions and many of these are false, not by intent, but it’s the nature of working with the “best information available” from the various investigations. your predictions are all determined by the quality and how current your information is. So it is neither constructive or helpful to the process when trolling and personal attacks take over from meaningful discussion.

        1. Thank you for replying Ross (& Nick). Great that you are attending the 2nd consultation & that you will be contacting the company direct beforehand. I have been one of these tours before and hope to make this one but numbers are always limited for H&S reasons. Make sure you mention it when you call the office and get yourself booked in early. I hope to see you there!
          Rgds.

  9. Ross Macbeath,
    For your information the vast majority of the Grampian project lies outside the National Park.
    Your statement couldn’t be further from reality ;”This now doubt will be handled in the same way agree to anything to get started then change the application mid project so you can do what you want.” Scotgold’s new proposals are IMHO are far better for the glen than having a 400,000 ton tailings dam that has already been granted planning permission. Nick Kempe has made many a mistake and false assumption in his article but I see you care not to research that, lol. I would suggest you take the advise of Victor Cromwell and if you were to spend as much time researching the original article complete with inaccuracies guesses and liable accusations you might have saved yourself a few hours and for your info there is a public consultation ongoing.

  10. George
    The Scotgold map on the link provides clear details the coverage of the Grampian Project, The National Park Boundary is inconsequential as Scotland’s ECO systems has no boundaries, Glen Orchy is more important than Glen Cononish.
    My statement was not actually targeted at Scotgold but the LLTNPPA but you are right Scotgold have effectively done the same thing by changing the whole construction of the tailings system and in doing so increasing the scale of destruction of the environment somewhere in the region of 3 times. So I stand by my statement.
    On looking at the links to the financial information you provided I have a good understanding of the great benefits of the new proposed tailings system to the financial performance of the Cononish Mine and the cash flow objectives of Scotgold and how this would be favorable to investors. I can see how the lower up front capital costs are advantageous to the funding of start up costs by removing the larger capital cost of the agreed tailings dam.. I can see how the incremental deposition of spoil on a much larger area of the surrounding ecosystem as the spoil is generated. Although requiring a larger operating cost that is covered by the sale of gold recovered from the tailings. I can also make other educated guesses that if production at the mine were to finish early or be discontinued temporarily then overall profits would be higher because the single large tailing dam was never accrued as an asset. All in all your link tells me of many benefits for Scotgold but little in the way of benefits for the ecology of the area or when the area will be fully restored and the mine dismantled. It raises a number of concerns not least is the continuity of production, the potential extended time period of production. The suggestion of an open ended finish date. The new Water collection streams around the spoil and settling tanks at the confluence. Their is no mention of the chemical composition of the various spoil heaps nor the ph value of the water runoff. There surely must be water getting pumped from the mine to somewhere, The Scoping document alludes to hard tracks for vehicles these are not shown on the maps. The scoping document refers to your new spoil heaps as not the standard solution, we would want to see how this solution has performed in the long term else where as it would not be acceptable to install an experimental system in this ecologically sensitive area. Also the idea of compacted powder at 125 micron is safe to spread out on the surface in Scotland’s weather sounds an absolute non starter and over time with changing river flows it will all be washed into the Tay SAC.
    There are so many issues unanswered and while your opinion my be held in high regard in the industry, with respect, it means nothing to the public without hard evidence to back it up.
    It is not necessary for me to research the posts of others, if someone finds an error In my post they would merely inform me to allow a timely correction. That is the nature of a collaborative blog.
    The quality of material posted can only ever be as good as the source of the material, it is understood when the source of the material is poor or inaccessible then the result will be less accurate. It is quite clearly stated in the first paragraph that the quality of information provided is a topic for discussion in this post. Where there is any degree of uncertainty in a statement then the post writer would usually state “it seems”, “it is likely” or “it may be” to indicate it is so.
    That said I should probably point out the errors in your own posts so you can correct them. In your response to Fiona where you state no chemicals are used in the flotation process, the scoping document refers to two chemicals used in that very process. page 15, 2.4.1 Mine Portal and Platform.

    1. Ross Macbeth,
      For the record George King is not a company representative, lol.
      When you say “we” who are you referring to, which organisation do you represent ?
      As for the errors in my post, I was referring to the current ongoing processing , sorry if I mislead you or if you picked it up wrong ,it was late and the nonsense post of Defamation slightly agitated my sense of humour . I stand by my statement on Defamation , complete nonsense at best and I note no timely correction from her.
      If you or whoever you represent think that the new plan is not better than the existing huge tailings dam then you really do need to get up to Tyndrum, there is nothing temporary about that tailings dam as Nick would have you all believe and that Scottish weather will also land on that huge tailings dam and there is nothing flat about where the new proposed tailings area is either as Nick has also eluded to. As for errors and timely corrections Nick has made many and has been notified directly of them but has chosen not to correct them which paints its own picture of his agenda.
      As far as I know the Mine Tours are organised by Graham Donaldson who happens to be a major shareholder in Scotgold, he has organised tours for some time for shareholders you will find his details and those of the Mine tour on his Twitter page https://twitter.com/GrahamScotgold . I have always found him to be very helpful and knowledgeable, I note he has made his feelings quite clear on here already.

      1. George
        -I did not pick you up wrong, I recognised your error immediately.
        -I find nothing humorous in “defamation”. After your attack on Defamation character, which I personally found threatening, I believe Nick made a correction on Defamation part possibly to save Defamation from further abuse.
        -You presume too much, nowhere have I made any commitment of agreement or objection to any of the plans that Scotgold have presented,
        -Scotgold said the tailings dam would be restored after the end on mining operations, so it’s use is temporary. If you are saying that Scotgold have misled the public and that this tailings dam will remain as such for all time then you should take that up with their CEO.
        -I take it as you have posted no further details of material objections to this post that you are now in agreement with it’s contents.
        – Not sure why your posting details of private communications with someone else to me.? It would be the honorable when entering into private discussion for it to remain private.
        -Thanks for the information on the tour, seemingly it is already full.

        1. Ross,
          I am with George on this one , I have searched and I can find nothing.
          George has called a spade a spade and it also appears that you are all colluding to paint a picture that doesn’t exist, when a spade is a spade it’s not threatening it’s a fact.
          Friend author and founder, Fiona, Ross, Nick , the internet is a wonderful source of information. The irony of the comments from the founder and author and friends are unbelievable given what you seek from others maybe you should all practice what you preach.

          PS: restore does not mean remove and permanent is not temporary

          1. Chris:
            You presume too much, I have never met or ever contacted one of the individuals you refer to and met the other at meetings on two separate occasions on LLTNPA business We happen to be, like you subscribers to this blog.
            The fact is, abusive behavior should not be tolerated and if you have some axe to grind personally with any one that’s your business we’re subscribed to this blog for the purpose of monitoring the goings on in our National Parks not listening to your petty character assassinations.
            My personal observation would be, that this type of behaviour especially when two men gang up and persistently abuse a woman is nothing short of cowardly bullying. When that is done to silence someone and not allow an opinion to be expressed what ever that opinion might be, then that’s oppression, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    2. Ross,
      I have been in touch with the chap arranging the mine tour and I have to inform you that there is no room for you. No worries, you (and your associates) will find all the (correct) information you seek in the Village Hall on the 24th.
      You speak of errors in your last paragraph above. In my copy of the Scoping Study, 2.4.1 Mine Portal and Platform is page 14. Could it be that we have different copies?

      Nick, I see you have not yet corrected any of the errors in your article. In your post of May 10, 2017 at 1:02 am, you wrote, “George, where there are factual errors in any article on parkswatch, I am committed to correcting them and am grateful when people bring them to may attention.” Well, several of these have been pointed out to you. May I suggest you get cracking correcting them?
      Rgds.

      1. Victor, I have corrected the two factual errors that I have been able to identify from the comments, about ownership of the mine and one that appeared in the comments, about the use of cyanide. I have been told I am completely wrong about the earnings potential of the mine but I have to say I am sceptical about this because if the mine was as profitable as George claims, one might have expected this to be reflected in Scotgold’s share price which is still rock bottom. When I have asked for clarifications about other alleged errors the response has been that I should do further research combined with personal invective. I am quite happy to publish facts and considered comments and would welcome this but not personal invective or insults. For the avoidance of doubt, I cannot identify any information from the comments that the central issue highlighted in this post, that the planning application proposes the mine waste will now be stored over a much wider area because a proportion of the waste will no longer be returned to the mine, and that this has landscape (and job) implications is not based on facts. What has come out of the discussion to date, and about which further clarifications are needed, is the potential impact of the chemicals in the new processes Scotgold proposes to use at Cononish to extract the gold and which apparently lie behind its proposal to change the tailings management facility to “dry storage”. Nick

  11. Why , lets see if we can see why.
    First off, nice picture of the Glen though I doubt it was taken in January 2015 as there has been snow on Ben lui in the summer never mind January but hey what harm can a picture do ?
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/2015/january
    “This satellite image on Sunday 19 January 2015 shows extensive snow cover across the Scottish mountains, and snow across upland areas of Wales and parts of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Copyright Met Office / NASA”

    On to the January 2015 planning decision, this was to approve a condition of the existing planning permission which was for working hour changes ,the main planning decision was some years before.
    http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/rr-content/uploads/2016/07/Board_20141208_Agenda6_Special-Board-Meeting_Cononish-Goldmine.pdf
    The photomontage you have provided of the tailings dam shows the shear size of this with app 400,000 tonnes of waste but there is absolutely nothing temporary about it as you suggest and the restoration on the tailings dam won’t mainly begin until the Life of Mine (LOM ) is over and in my opinion this does not fit in with the glen but Tailings Dams are pretty much par for the course for mining. Scotgold have been conducting trials from the existing ore which was produced decades ago from the exploration adit , these trials have shown an alternative to this massive Tailings Dam which are now being proposed in the new application . Yes there is no plan to return the mine waste to the mine as there is in the existing approval but this was only a proportion of the waste and that huge Tailings Dam will be there for ever under the already approved permission.
    The picture supplied in this article that suggests the ground is smooth is from miles away and does not show the area that is to be used for storage, this area is anything but smooth and I believe is ideal for the new storage proposal. Under the original granted permission there will be diversions , Allt Eas Anie has carved its way through rock over millions of years and moving it would alter natures intend course, the new proposal does not alter its route and in my opinion this is better than any man made diversion plans that have already been passed.
    Now when it comes to money yes the capital costs are reduced up front for Scotgold but they are mainly just transferred to operating costs. The restoration will be an ongoing process under the new application instead of being mainly on completion of life of mine scenario some 10 years later so to say ” It would be much cheaper simply to leave the waste on site, hence the present proposal. ” is not really accurate at all.

    Now on to this comment “The question for the LLTNPA – to which I will return – is whether the creation of a few temporary jobs justifies this destruction of the landscape and whether the proposals meets the LLTNPA’s legal obligation to promote sustainable economic development.”
    Your first photo clearly shows the existing mine and spoils in the background . these are currently being processed as part of the ongoing Bulk Processing Trial ( BPT ) Scotgold have placed a bond with the National Park for the removal of that waste so should Scotgold not be able to treat the waste properly for whatever reason then the National Park will have sufficient funds to remove it . There was no bond in place prior to the trial even thought the waste clearly existed before, there will be no destruction of the landscape as you claim so your above comments are inaccurate and unjust .

    You should also give up on the guess work as your comments on there not being enough gold in the ore to pay for it are so far from the truth they’re funny , the Cononish Resource is 14.3g/t Au M&I ( gold ) and although Cononish is very small in size by comparison to world mines the grade is in the top ten of the worlds producing mines !

    AS for Owen McKee , yes I believe he was wrong not to declare the interest. The suggestion that he may have influenced others in there decision is also wrong on your part unless you can back this up with any evidence which I am presuming you don’t have as you have not included it in your article.
    I attended the 2011 and 2015 planning votes as a member of the public and both votes had the boards unanimous backing and I didn’t spot any of you guys there ( Nick , Ross , Fiona ? )
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/93177156@N07/8470680293/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/93177156@N07/16234659580/

    Scotgolds proposals and project have unparalleled community support something that city dwellers should consider along with these words from the parkwatchscotland site “People who want to live in the Parks face multiple challenges, including access to housing and well-paid jobs.” Scotgold will be creating a lot of jobs with the vast majority being for local people.

    1. Christine,

      I am afraid you have misread the caption under the slides I obtained through FOI. These were PRESENTED at the Secret Board Briefing Session in January 2015 and clearly not taken at that time which as you say was snowy.

      In terms of the Tailings Management Facility, it was temporary in the sense it was not going to be left once the mine ceased functioning, but rather restored to fit into the landscape and it was designed so the contours of the bank reflected those on the existing hillside. I used the term that this area was smooth to contrast with how a moraine field looks – they are very different. Of course the slope has some bumps etc and what was originally proposed was an attempt to reflect this. The new proposal is to create a very different type of landscape, an artificial moraine field. There is a debate to be had about which might look better but there is also an issue about the amount of material which now will be left outside. If the gold seam is so rich, as you and others suggest, its hard to see why a proportion of the waste could not be returned to the mine as originally planned, whatever the merits of the new landscaping proposal compared to the original one.

    2. I heard of despicable behaviour in shouting down those with valid opinions has been a feature of public meetings in connection with Cononish, this post reminds me of that. Your opinion is obviously more valid than any other and you fail to provide the full information. — Where are you in the photograph?– Unparalled community support, “Unparalleled” really? So what’s the going rate for the destruction of the environment? — Owen McKee how can the “suggestion” be wrong? he resigned because as an undeclared shareholder in Scotgold he broke the rules on conflict of interest, the rules recocognise there is a probability that his personal interests may be put first. and so there was a probability he would influence decisions and he resigned on the back of it. — So 400,000 tons of dangerous tailings in a dam beside three protected areas in a national park, in my opinions some has been exerting undue influence — is the bond with Scotgold or the parent company? Scotgold I’ll wager which means it’s not worth the paper it’s written on, the financial arrangements you refer mean in the the event of any disaster the company can just fold without any detriment to the parent company, you know, limited liability. The whole idea that 460,000 tons of tailings will be removed from site and the Glen magically restored to it’s former glory is laughable. — not sure I understand you dig on city dwellers is there a point? — It’s just a line drawn on a map when you cross the Park boundary life does not suddenly become more difficult. Unless you’re in a motor home.

  12. Nick , I didn’t misread the caption it was a tongue in cheek remark about misleading Photo’s from this article. Whatever the design shape of the tailings dam it is huge by comparison to the new proposal,
    It’s 400,000 tonnes and contoured or not it will look out of place in the glen. Your photo showing the smoothness of Ben Lui from miles away is irrelevant and misleading, why don’t you show where the tailings will actually go under the new proposals, I have been made aware that you have been advised accordingly. Your claims of destruction are ill informed unjust and without cause as the bond placed by Scotgold clearly demonstrates.
    That aside i take it you agree with the rest of my comments even though you don’t acknowledge them.
    I fear that you are only reading these comments to respond and not to understand but with Author , Founder and Friend on the defence and as moderators ( ? ) this is hardly an impartial or level playing field for anyone other than Ross, Nick & Fiona
    The transparency that you seek from others should be set in practice by your example.

    1. Think you shot yourself in the foot there Christine, a lot of research at the met office for a tongue in cheek remark.
      Busted!

      1. Really Robert,
        Google weather in Tyndrum with the date , quite easy and I’m not the one busted

    2. So I take it with your objection to the 400K ton dam and the terrible impact in the glen you voted against the goldmine the first time round yet it had it not already been reduced in scale to get the application agreed which Scotgold assured everybody was fine and would not be obtrusive.
      You just don’t know who to believe do you.

    3. Christine, I am not sure how you reach the conclusion that the previous proposal is “huge by comparison to the new proposal”. The scoping report states that as well as the 400,000 tonnes of waste which was going to be left in the Tailings Management Facility, 160000 tonnes of waste will not be returned to the mine. It appears therefore – and I can see no proposals that this waste is to be removed from site – that Scotgold is now proposing to leave 560,000 tonnes of waste outside, that is a huge increase. My post included Scotgold’s map of where it proposed to place the material and clearly showed this now covers a much larger area than previously. Nick

      1. Nick , you are getting confused,the BPT and the scoping report are two different things .
        The bond for the BPT has already been placed with the NP .

        No matter what is put in front of some people they can’t see the woods for the trees I suppose there to busy hugging them

        Robert , you are not worthy of my time as are the majority of tree huggers

        Keep talking to yourselves

        1. Christine,
          A little civility goes a long way, now I had hoped you would appreciate what it’s like when someone is rude and condescending. But no here you are again with your selfish perspective that any one who does not agree with your idea of reality is frustrated, confused or a tree hugger. Most of the people who use this blog, and there are many, do so for one good reason they are interested in the truth, Not Scotgolds version of it, nor the LLTNPA version of it but the real truth.

  13. Robert,
    Please check your source of information, no members of the public had a vote.
    Where did I say I objected to the tailings dam, I said they are par for the course for mining and implied that the new proposals are better compared to those already granted . Please read my comments again as you seem to be getting confused and seem a little frustrated .

    1. You seem to know all about it, do you work for Scotgold as well as being clairvoyant and a phsyco analyst?
      I’ve only seen one tailings dam in Scotland, – https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=c6320de1-6aeb-436c-98bd-588b636a13e2&cp=56.666413~-3.934483&lvl=18&style=h&v=2&sV=2&form=S00027 – you know like the 3 ponds in your new proposal. Does not look anything like the photo montages in the Scotgold application. Currently you’re my source but as i’ve read the same comments so many tines from others above I know them by heart. p.s. thanks for the google tip loads on here about the awful destruction of mining and tailings

  14. Robert,
    You are funny.
    The anser to your questions is no and no , wait maybe lol
    Do you know the difference from a real photo and a photo montage, see opening line !
    None of you; friends and colleagues author and founder have any knowledge of mining or this project.

    I was told this article was rubbish and advised not to waste my time on a bunch of tree huggers and well what do you know.

    I get it Robert I really do , lol here you go
    Robert , Nick , Ross and lets not forget Fiona , Is that better Robert
    Just for you Robert
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI1nPd7hezM

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