One of the “most significant” discoveries in decades has been unearthed at a famous Welsh gold mine.
A potential 550-metre extension has been found at the source of the most historic gold production at the Clogau St David’s gold mine near Dolgellau.
The drilling team has already found a “really solid gold intercept”
Alba Mineral Resources shared the news after the first phase of an underground drilling programme at the mine was completed in October.
Now, experts believe they have intersected a westerly extension to the Clogau Main Lode, the area that has been the source of the most historic gold production for the iconic Welsh business.
Finding a continuation of the Main Lode, which has never previously been exploited, would constitute the “most significant discovery at the mine in many decades”, Alba said on Wednesday.
As part of the drilling programme, seven drill holes were completed for a total of 559.5 metres.
Within that, one particular drill returned “significant gold assays” or analysis – a finding which has been described as a “great success”.
This map shows all the gold mines previously found in Wales:
George Frangeskides, Alba’s executive chairman, said: “The intersection of quartz veins along strike from the Main Lode is a potentially significant discovery.
“The Main Lode has provided most of the gold production at the Clogau-St David’s Gold Mine historically, so finding a continuation of the Main Lode which has never previously been exploited would constitute the most significant discovery at the Mine in many decades.”
“What is more, intersecting representative gold grades at Clogau solely from drilling is always going to be a challenge given the nature of the deposit, which is why our methodology has always involved drilling and bulk sampling working hand-in-hand.
“So, for our drill team to hit a really solid gold intercept in our very first underground drilling campaign of just seven holes is a very positive outcome indeed.”
Following the discovery, Alba now plan to carry out infill drilling from the surface of the mine early next year followed by the second phase of the underground drilling programme in 2021. It is hoped both will confirm the continuity of the Main Lode, which would then become a primary zone for underground development and extraction.
The finding comes a year after miles of land were discovered to contain gold.
The samples of Clogau gold were found across a 9km stretch of the Dolgellau gold belt in north Wales, including one belt four times longer than the Clogau-St David’s mine.
What is Welsh gold?
It is incredibly rare and incredibly expensive with huge historical significance.
There is a custom of using Welsh gold for royal wedding rings, which was started by the Queen Mother in 1923 and has been used by royal brides ever since.
The Queen Mother’s wedding ring, the Queen’s in 1947, Princess Margaret’s in 1960, the Princess Royal’s in 1973 and that of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1981 were all made from the same nugget.
In 2017, nuggets and flakes of Welsh gold were sold at auction for £44,000.
There are two distinct areas of Wales which have historically been mined for Welsh gold.
In the north of the country is a geographical band known as the “the Dolgellau gold belt” stretching from Barmouth, past Dolgellau and up towards Snowdonia.
The second is in further south, in a small area in the valley of the River Cothi at Dolaucothi.
In total there were 23 gold mines in Wales in a long history spanning thousands of years.