Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel research seeks to locate Scotland's next gold mine; Geologists apply new scientific methods to gold prospecting

Date:
October 27, 2011
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
There really is gold in those hills – enough for a king’s ransom. Scotgold Resources Ltd has just been given planning permission to open Scotland’s first gold mine since gold was mined 500 years ago at Leadhills to make the Scottish crown jewels. Now the University of Leicester is involved in the search for the next natural treasure trove.

Nyree Hill, PhD Researcher in the University of Leicester Department of Geology, on site in Scotland.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Leicester

There really is gold in those hills -- enough for a king's ransom. Scotgold Resources Ltd has just been given planning permission to open Scotland's first gold mine since gold was mined 500 years ago at Leadhills to make the Scottish crown jewels. Now the University of Leicester is involved in the search for the next natural treasure trove.

Related Articles


Over the next decade or so, the Cononish deposit near Tyndrum in the Scottish Highlands, will produce 20,000 oz gold and 80,000 oz silver each year. That's worth an estimated 180 million at today's prices. After that, though, this buried treasure will largely be worked out.

Therefore research being undertaken at the University of Leicester, in conjunction with Scotgold Resources and in collaboration with researchers at Aberdeen & Glasgow Universities and the British Geological Survey, will be key to finding the next gold mine. If successful, employment and the local economy -- and income for the UK -- can be sustained beyond the lifetime of Cononish.

University of Leicester PhD student, Nyree Hill, explained: "The problem is that gold is found scattered throughout the Scottish Highlands, but so far none has been found as concentrated as at Cononish. This is despite the Highlands being one of the first areas in the world to be studied by geologists. One explanation for this is the challenging climate and mountainous terrain, and also much of the rock is buried by glacial deposits."

The gold at Cononish has ancient roots. Before the Atlantic Ocean opened, the Highlands formed part of a mountain belt that extended from Canada through Ireland and Scotland into Scandinavia. This mountain-belt formed as the Iapetus Ocean, a fore-runner of the Atlantic Ocean, was destroyed by the collision of tectonic plates half a billion years ago. This joined Scotland and England together as we know it today.

The gold was concentrated, deep underground, as rising granite magma heated water, which circulated through large faults. That hot water, at hundred's degrees Celsius, carried gold, silver and other metals, and deposited them, with quartz, into veins. The process, repeated time and again, brought the gold to economic levels.

Nyree is examining rocks from a series of new targets close to Cononish in order to identify key 'fingerprints' for gold mineralisation. She said: "Traditional exploration strategies look at how gold is related to other metals and minerals. However, my study is using detailed chemistry of the gold and associated minerals to map the pathways through the rock along which the gold-bearing fluid flowed."

"Applying this approach will help identify future targets and maximise our chances of finding the next Cononish."

Dr Gawen Jenkin, Senior Lecturer in Applied Geology at the University of Leicester, said: "The go-ahead for mining at Cononish will galvanise exploration activity across the Scottish Highlands -- a mini gold-rush perhaps -- meaning that Nyree's work will be of wide application. I was involved in the early work to understand how Cononish formed and was therefore very keen when asked by Scotgold to be involved with their current exploration programme."

With luck -- and some science, the future of the Scottish hills will stay golden.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Novel research seeks to locate Scotland's next gold mine; Geologists apply new scientific methods to gold prospecting." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027082749.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2011, October 27). Novel research seeks to locate Scotland's next gold mine; Geologists apply new scientific methods to gold prospecting. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027082749.htm
University of Leicester. "Novel research seeks to locate Scotland's next gold mine; Geologists apply new scientific methods to gold prospecting." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027082749.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins