Scotland closer to having its first commercial gold mine

Scotland is one step closer to having its first commercial gold and silver mine as Scotgold Resources (LON: SGZ) said Thursday it had submitted the last application to secure planning permits for its Cononish project, near Tyndrum.

The company, which has decided to liquidate its French subsidiary, said that it had worked with the Trossachs National Park Planning Authority (NPA) to secure all the necessary licences required for planning approval, adding it expects a formal decision soon.

Scotgold is anticipating a number of conditions, but said that it had made the necessary preparations to deal with them “as promptly as possible”.

The company envisions an underground mine with an initial production capacity of 23,500 ounces of gold annually for up to 17 years.

Cononish produced first gold in August 2016 following the launch of an ore processing trial and the plan is now to build a large-scale operation.

Scotgold Resources will do so by reopening an old mine shaft and moving 170,000 tonnes of rock, along with the mineral ore.

The company envisions an underground mine with an initial production capacity of 23,500 ounces of gold annually for up to 17 years.

As many as 52 jobs could be created during production, and the firm has offered nearly £500,000 (about $695K) in payments to support the local community of Tyndrum.

In addition, the company said Scottish Enterprise offered a Regional Selective Assistance grant of £430,000 for the development of the project. Scotgold estimates costs from the first phase of development to total £360,000. However, it noted that extra funds will not have a material impact on the returns.

Once final approval is granted, Scotgold will proceed with the financing for the development, though obtaining the approval of the Park Authority is seen as the key hurdle to cross.

Currently, the small village of Tyndrum is a local tourist destination, known mostly for being at a junction of major transport routes. It’s located in the northern part of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

photo: View of Cononish Mine showing (right to left) stockpiled ore, plant buildings and adit. (Image courtesy of Scotgold Resources.)

source: www.mining.com,  by Cecilia Jamasmie , 18/10/2018

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A gold-hungry bug opens door for more efficient biofuels

Researchers at the University of California – Berkeley have discovered that a bacterium named Moorella thermoacetica produces solar fuels through artificial photosynthesis in a very efficient way when fed with gold.

In a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology, the scientists explain that by placing light-absorbing gold nanoclusters inside the CO2-hungry bacterium, they have created a biohybrid system that produces a higher yield of chemical products.

Previous experiments had already turned M. thermoacetica into a tiny photosynthesis machine. Such tests consisted on attaching light-absorbing nanoparticles made of cadmium sulfide to the bacterial membrane exterior, which then resulted in the conversion of sunlight and carbon dioxide into useful chemicals.

However, even though cadmium sulfide has the ability to absorb visible light, it is toxic to bacteria and the nanoparticles had to be attached to the cell membrane “extracellularly,” or outside the M. thermoacetica-CdS system. This meant that some energy was lost in the process of turning CO2 into acetate, a valuable chemical for making solar fuels.

This got the scientists thinking about a better way to improve the bacterium’s ability to produce acetate. Eventually, they turned to nanoclusters made of 22 gold atoms (Au22) and the results were nothing but surprising because M. thermoacetica just loved it.

“We selected Au22 because it’s ideal for absorbing visible light and has the potential for driving the CO2 reduction process, but we weren’t sure whether it would be compatible with the bacteria,” said one of the authors of the study, Peidong Yang, in a media statement. “When we inspected them under the microscope, we discovered that the bacteria were loaded with these Au22 clusters – and were still happily alive.”

The researchers named Au22 “magic gold nanoclusters,” which they also selected because of their ultrasmall size: A single Au22 nanocluster is only 1 nanometer in diameter, which allows each nanocluster to easily slip through the bacterial cell wall.

Yang explained that by feeding bacteria with Au22 nanoclusters, he and his team were able to pushM. thermoacetica to produce 33 per cent more acetate.

This discovery supports UC-Berkeley’s ongoing efforts to find affordable, abundant resources for renewable fuels, and potential solutions to thwart the effects of climate change.”Next, we’d like to find a way to reduce costs, improve the lifetimes for these biohybrid systems, and improve quantum efficiency,” Yang said.

Source: http://www.mining.com, Valentina Ruiz Leotaud, 18/10/2018

Reference image by Randi Hausken, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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