@Caerdydd

Will Gold mining resume in Wales?

Dolaucothi Gold mine
Miners at Dolaucothi Gold mine with a newly discovered bar of gold, 1938. Source: National Library of Wales (via Wikimedia Commons)

By Fflur Trevor

 

Wales is known for its abundance of natural resources, most notably coal. Although, the coal industry came to an abrupt halt in the late 20th century, Welsh gold may be making a comeback.

History of Welsh Gold

Esteemed for its scarcity Welsh gold is one of rarest and most sought after in the world.

According to the popular jewellery company, Clogau Gold, Welsh gold has a history stretching back to at least 2000 years.

The writings of ancient Celtic Bards and archaeological discoveries confirms the precious metal’s existence and its mesmerising effect on people.

Moreover, gold mining dates back to Roman times and was the main focus of a gold rush in the mid 19th century.

In total, there are 23 gold mines in Wales stretching from the foothills of Snowdonia to Dolaucothi in West Wales, which was mined during the Roman occupation of Britain.

 

Dolgellau Gold belt

Gold mining has been on a hiatus since Bontddu Gold mine in Dolgellau closed over 30 years ago. Prior to its closure, during the Gold Belt, over 131,000 ounces of Gold was produced.

In 2019, an analysis of 1,200 different soil samples taken from the mines showed that there could be new sources of gold available.

 

The executive chairman George Frangeskides said: “No-one has drilled from underground in the historic mine, and what we are hoping is to find a gold vein that hasn’t been touched before.”

 

His firm plans to start mining at Clogau St David mine at Bontddu which was closed in the 1980s.

Previously, Alba Mineral Resources gained permission from the crown to mine in that area and to aquire a 90% stake in Gold Mines of Wales. The company hopes that mining in this area could revive the industry.

Due to COVID-19, Gold hit record levels in August as trade sought to protect their gold investments due to unprecedented and uncertainty induced by the pandemic.

 

 Welsh Gold and Royalty

 Welsh Gold has been used in the Royal Family, particulary for weddings bands for almost 100 years.

The custom began in 1923 when the Queen mother married King George VI (then The Duke of York) and has since become a tradition within the Royal Family.

Furthermore, Welsh Gold wedding rings have been used by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, Princess Diana and most recently Meghan Markle.

 

The Future of Gold in Wales

 To George Frangeskides, the revival of gold mining will bring a wider market and allow Welsh Gold to become a global commodity.

George Frangeskides, said: “It’s good for us in the wider market – it gets our name out there”

 

Moreover, the current gold mines in Wales are a popular tourist destination with people travelling from all over the globe to visit. Therefore, it suggests that it will increase with the re-opening of new mines.

Arguably, there could be economic advantages of goldmining for Wales. However, care must be taken of the environment. Moreover, the economic benefits should be felt in Wales in contrary to previous centuries where the exploitation of Wales and her natural resources has not fully benefited the country.

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