North West Wales

Goldmine in Dolgellau, Gwynedd, could be worth £125m

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Media captionThere are calls to reopen mines in the Dolgellau gold belt

Wales could be sitting on a goldmine worth around £125m, a new report suggests.

Mining consultants Snowden says the fortune could be lying untouched in Dolgellau, Gwynedd.

Research was done for Gold Mines of Wales (GMW), which is doing exploratory work.

But the report stresses the figures are assumptions based on testing the rock and what has been mined previously from the area.

GMW managing director Ed McDermott says 500,000 ounces could be worth up to $200m (£125m).

"There could be another Clogau. If that was the case, we could be looking at significant gold production," he added.

"This is an independent statement from a company trusted by the Stock Exchange to give a true and fair account."

Mr McDermott says gold in the ground sells for around $25 per ounce (£15), but in politically stable environments where mining is relatively straightforward it can be worth up to $400 per ounce (£250).

It is hoped drilling will start within six months.

The report, which was released to the Stock Exchange on Tuesday, said it was hoped the area holds 130,000 to 500,000 ounces of gold.

Dr Simon Dominy, from Snowden, said there was "no guarantee" over the quantity of gold. It had been fairly estimated after examining historical data and testing rock.

He said further studies, including core sampling and diamond drilling were needed.

Rare

Welsh gold is rare and one of the world's most desired precious metals.

It has been traditionally used to make the wedding rings for royal weddings, including last year's marriage of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

The tradition dates back 88 years to the marriage of Prince William's great-grandparents, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon and the future George Vi.

In 1923, the royal ring was fashioned from a gift of Clogau gold with enough left over for the weddings of The Queen in 1947 as well as those of the late Princess Margaret, the Princess Royal and the 1981 marriage of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Crown Estate has given GMW an exclusive option agreement which allows it to search the 120 sq km of the Dolgellau gold belt, much of which is in the Snowdonia National Park.

There will be a "detailed, low-impact exploration" of the area.

David Lenigas, executive chairman of CSS Stellar, which has a significant stake in GMW, said there was "significant potential" in the project.

The area's last mine, Gwynfynydd, closed in 1999.

Gold has significantly increased in value since then, from trading at $300 an ounce (£187), to around $1,600 (£1,001).

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