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Current activities

Exploration drilling at Scotgold’s Cononish project near Tyndrum in the Grampian Highlands of central Scotland,© Scotgold Resources Ltd

There are a number of exploration and development projects for metallic minerals currently active in the UK and one operating mine. The UK Exploration Guide  provides a wide range of information to assist all those interested in exploring for, and developing, metalliferous and related minerals in Britain. The Metals Mineral Planning Factsheet provides information on the land–use planning process with specific reference to metalliferous deposits.

Name

Company

Commodities

Location

Status

Omagh mine (formerly Cavanacaw)

Galantas Gold Corporation

Au, Ag, Pb

Omagh, N Ireland

Operating mine

Curraghinalt

C3 Resources Inc

Au, Ag

Omagh, N Ireland

Active
exploration

Cononish

Scotgold Resources Ltd

Au, Ag

Tyndrum, Highland

Active
development

Parys Mountain

Anglesey Mining plc

Zn, Cu ,Pb, Ag, Au

Anglesey, N Wales

Care and maintenance

Arthrath

Alba Mineral Resources plc

Cu, Ni, PGE

Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Active exploration

South Crofty

Western United Mines Ltd

Sn

Cornwall

Active development

Hemerdon

Wolf Minerals Ltd

W, Sn

Devon

Active
development

 

Map of active exploration and development projects, significant prospects and historical mining districts,BGS©NERC. Click to enlarge.

The Omagh, Curraghinalt and Cononish deposits are all gold–bearing quartz veins hosted in Dalradian metasedimentary rocks. The Omagh Mine has a proven and probable reserve of 367,310 tonnes grading 7.52 grams per tonne gold over a width of 4.43m within the designated open pit area (using a cut–off grade of 1.0 gram per tonne gold and a cut off width of 0.5m). The processing facility is now fully operational, producing 701 tonnes of wet concentrate in the second quarter of 2009 containing 1977 ounces of gold. Gold, silver and lead are recovered from these sulphide concentrates which are processed in Canada. Galantas has been granted exploration licences to the west and north of its existing licence and now holds licences for an area totalling 460 km2.

At Curraghinalt, north–west of Omagh, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, a swarm of eastwest trending veins has been traced over a strike length of about 8km. Intensive drilling, together with about 700m of underground development, has been concentrated in a central 400m section of this trend. The resource at Curraghinalt comprises an indicated resource of 250,000 ounces of gold, contained in 570,000 tonnes of material, with an average grade of 13.95 g/t of gold.

The Cononish deposit, near Tyndrum in central Scotland, has a total Measured, Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource of 154,000 ounces of gold and 589,000 ounces of silver (using 3.5 g/t gold cut–off) from a single vein as shown by drilling and underground development. Scotgold plans to drill around 2500m to target additional areas of mineralisation at Cononish and estimates that the mine could potentially produce 20,000 to 30,000 ounces of gold a year.

Examining core from recent drilling at the Parys Mountain,BGS©NERC

The Parys Mountain deposit is a volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit of Ordovician/ Silurian age. It produced about 300,000 tonnes of copper between the 1750s and the 1820s from a series of open pits and shallow underground workings. Modern exploration has been on–going since 1955. Anglesey Mining has been active at the property since 1985. Work has included sinking the 300m deep Morris shaft in 1990 and carrying out drilling and underground development. Current geological resources are around 4.8 Mt at 1.5% Cu, 6.0% Zn, 3.0% Pb, 57 g/t Ag and 0.4 g/t Au. Recent drilling to 600m depth has extended the main resource over 400 metres to the north–east of the Morris shaft.

Arthrath Drilling, BGS©NERC

The Arthrath nickel–copper–platinum group element deposit, near Aberdeen, was discovered in the late 1960s in an Ordovician mafic intrusion into Dalradian metasedimentary rocks. It consists of disseminated to massive sulphides in the contaminated contact zones of the intrusion and contains about 17 Mt at 0.21% Ni and 0.14% Cu. Alba Mineral Resources has carried out additional drilling aimed at improving definition of the resource and at finding higher grade areas within the 4.5 km strike length of the intrusion.

At South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall Western United Mines Limited (WUM) has continued to investigate the possible re–opening of the site, investing £3.5 million. The deposit is contained within a series of fissure veins in Variscan granite close to the contact with Devonian metasedimentary rocks. During 2008 WUM has been engaged in a drilling programme and negotiations with the local councils to enable the construction of new infrastructure.

Wolf Minerals Ltd, the owners of the Hemerdon mine, in Devon continues to work to resume tungsten production at the site. The deposit consists of a sheeted greisen vein and stockwork complex of quartz–tourmaline–wolframite–cassiterite in a Variscan granite and Devonian metasedimentary rocks. A drilling programme completed in November 2008 led to a large increase in estimates of both tonnage and grade of the deposit. The resource now comprises 97.4 million tonnes at 0.22% tungsten trioxide and 0.023% tin (inferred and indicated). Hemerdon is one of the largest tungsten resources in the western world.

Part of the Hemerdon open–pit containing  tin–tungsten veins,BGS©NERC