photo by Beth M527 (Flickr Creative Commons)

All that glitters isn’t… well, you know. Some of it is babbling brooks and lush rolling hills adorned with blossoming heather; or sparkling lakes populated by picturesque islands of greenery. Can’t you just hear the bagpipes’ mournful drone?

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is located on the boundary between the Scottish Highlands and the lowlands of Central Scotland. It contains the UK’s largest lake – Loch Lomond – which in turn contains the largest freshwater island in the British Isles.

Increasing international demand for gold is placing some of this national treasure at risk from an Australian-owned mining firm.

From a report in the Guardian:

With gold prices soaring, the mining company Scotgold wants to dig out 700kg of gold and 17 tonnes of silver a year over the next decade from an unworked mine called Cononish, which sits near Tyndrum, just inside the north-eastern boundary of the national park.

Though local government is behind Scotgold’s proposals to mine in Loch Lomond Park, conservationists, countryside groups – and now the park’s director of planning, Gordon Watson – are opposed.

Watson believes the environmental damage would be ‘acute’ and ‘significant’ while the economic gains of the mine would be temporary and marginal in the long term.

From an article in the Scotsman:

Mr Watson also said the proposal went against the aims of the National Park designation within the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000, which says where there is conflict the aims of conservation must be paramount.

Scotgold’s director argues that the mine would be temporary, be of significant economic benefit to the area and that its structures would fit well into the natural landscape.

Additional resources:

BBC News – Cononish gold mine plans ‘should be refused’