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Gold miners strike it rich as they unearth new deposits near historic Welsh pit

Gold miners in Wales have unearthed new deposits near a historic pit that supplied precious metal used in Royal wedding rings until it closed in the 1990s.

Drilling company Alba Mineral Resources believe there is still a rich vein of gold around the former Clogau mine in north Wales, which was once so productive it sparked a mini gold-rush in 1862.

The mine shut in 1998 but last year Alba started drilling again in the area around the pit in the hope of finding fresh reserves.

Now bosses say their explorations were ‘more successful than we could reasonably have anticipated’ – and they have expanded their search from three to 10 drilling holes. 

Bosses say the dig for gold was 'more successful than we could reasonably have anticipated' as they searched around the former Clogau mine in the Welsh hills

Bosses say the dig for gold was 'more successful than we could reasonably have anticipated' as they searched around the former Clogau mine in the Welsh hills

The North Wales mine was the site of a mini-gold-rush in 1862, producing the largest quantity of gold from any region Britain and leading to a tradition of royal brides wearing Welsh gold

The North Wales mine was the site of a mini-gold-rush in 1862, producing the largest quantity of gold from any region Britain and leading to a tradition of royal brides wearing Welsh gold

Bosses say the dig for gold was ‘more successful than we could reasonably have anticipated’ as they searched around the former Clogau mine in the Welsh hills. Pictured, nuggets found by the firm during explorations last year

It is believed there could be as many as 500,000 ounces of gold in the area, and with gold currently selling at just under £1,400-an-ounce, that would be worth a staggering £700million. Pictured, gold discovered by Alba during drilling in 2020

It is believed there could be as many as 500,000 ounces of gold in the area, and with gold currently selling at just under £1,400-an-ounce, that would be worth a staggering £700million. Pictured, gold discovered by Alba during drilling in 2020

It is believed there could be as many as 500,000 ounces of gold in the area, and with gold currently selling at just under £1,400-an-ounce, that would be worth a staggering £700million. Pictured, gold discovered by Alba during drilling in 2020

Mark Austin, Alba’s chief operating officer, said: ‘All of our drilling to date has been aimed at providing us with critical geological and structural information on the lode systems previously mined at Clogau, so that we can assess if those same structures continue beyond the limits of the previously mined areas.

‘To this end, the drilling at Llechfraith has been more successful than we could reasonably have anticipated: the physical attributes of the veins that we have intersected in our drill holes reflect the characteristics of the veins that were successfully mined in the past.’

‘While we should await the results of the drill core assays before reaching any preliminary conclusions, the significant dimensions of the Llechfraith Lode, as defined by the drilling so far completed, indicate that this could well be a significant contributor to future production at Clogau-St David’s.’

Clogau was once the largest and richest mine of all the gold mines in the region, with its raw materials a favourite of royalty

Clogau was once the largest and richest mine of all the gold mines in the region, with its raw materials a favourite of royalty

Clogau was once the largest and richest mine of all the gold mines in the region, with its raw materials a favourite of royalty

The North Wales mine was the site of a mini-gold-rush in 1862, producing the largest quantity of gold from any region Britain and leading to a tradition of royal brides wearing Welsh gold

The North Wales mine was the site of a mini-gold-rush in 1862, producing the largest quantity of gold from any region Britain and leading to a tradition of royal brides wearing Welsh gold

The North Wales mine was the site of a mini-gold-rush in 1862, producing the largest quantity of gold from any region Britain and leading to a tradition of royal brides wearing Welsh gold

Over 2.4 tonnes of gold was found the mine between 1862-1911 after the mother lode was found - but new drilling discovered a '550-metre extension' to the mother lode

Over 2.4 tonnes of gold was found the mine between 1862-1911 after the mother lode was found - but new drilling discovered a '550-metre extension' to the mother lode

Over 2.4 tonnes of gold was found the mine between 1862-1911 after the mother lode was found – but new drilling discovered a ‘550-metre extension’ to the mother lode

Gold prices hit record levels last year as traders sought stable market investments during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pure raw Welsh gold was first used in a Royal wedding by the Queen Mother in her marriage to the Duke of York in 1923.

Other Royal weddings include Princess Anne in 1973, Diana Princess of Wales in 1981, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 and Meghan Duchess of Sussex in 2018. 

Over 2.4 tonnes of gold was found the mine between 1862-1911 after the mother lode was found – but new drilling discovered a ‘550-metre extension’ to the mother lode.

It is believed there could be as many as 500,000 ounces of gold in the area, and with gold currently selling at just under £1,400-an-ounce, that would be worth a staggering £700m. 

Clogau was once the largest and richest mine of all the gold mines in the region, with its raw materials a favourite of royalty. 

After producing copper and a little lead for quite a number of years, the mine developed into gold production in the 1862 ‘rush’ and continued as a major operator until 1911.

Since then the mine has been re-opened several times for smaller-scale operations, and most recently closed down operations in 1998.  

Several exploration companies have made bids to restore the mine to production, but have struggled to locate the precious lode.

A miner who worked at Clogau once said: ‘Finding gold in most mines around the work is like finding the cream in a sponge cake.

‘Finding Welsh gold on the other hand is like finding the sixpence in the biggest Christmas cake you could imagine.

Drilling company Alba Mineral Resources believe there is still a rich vein of gold underground - and they have already expanded their search from three to 10 drilling holes

Drilling company Alba Mineral Resources believe there is still a rich vein of gold underground - and they have already expanded their search from three to 10 drilling holes

Drilling company Alba Mineral Resources believe there is still a rich vein of gold underground – and they have already expanded their search from three to 10 drilling holes

‘There’s no pattern, no logic, and you never know when you’re just inches away.’

Gold from the Clogau mine and surrounding area has been used in wedding bands for the Royal Family since 1923.

The tradition was started by The Queen Mother on her marriage to the Duke of York, Prince Albert. Since then the Queen, Princess Diana, and the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex have all had Welsh gold wedding rings.

Earlier this year, bosses at Alba applied for permission to dig eight massive trenches – after getting a ‘sniff’ of £750m in hidden gold nuggets at the Clogau-St David mine. 

The firm states that it reckons there is ‘real potential to discover unexploited high-grade pods’, adding that Welsh gold attracts a ‘significant premium’ – and that it has already discovered ’10 new gold anomalies’ in the area, called the Dolgellau Gold Belt. 

How Welsh gold has played a part in Royal weddings from the Queen Mother to Meghan Markle

The Queen's wedding band and engagement ring

The Queen's wedding band and engagement ring

The Queen’s wedding band and engagement ring

Princess Diana's wedding band and engagement ring

Princess Diana's wedding band and engagement ring

Princess Diana’s wedding band and engagement ring

The Duchess of Sussex's wedding ring

The Duchess of Sussex's wedding ring

The Duchess of Sussex’s wedding ring

The Duchess of Cornwall's wedding band and engagement ring

The Duchess of Cornwall's wedding band and engagement ring

The Duchess of Cornwall’s wedding band and engagement ring

The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding band and engagement ring, which previously belonged to Princess Diana

The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding band and engagement ring, which previously belonged to Princess Diana

The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding band and engagement ring, which previously belonged to Princess Diana

July 13, 1911 

Prince Edward’s coronation regalia (the Honours of the Principality of Wales) were made from Welsh gold. 

April 23, 1923 

The wedding ring of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, was made from Welsh gold from the Clogau St David’s mine.

 November 20, 1947

Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding ring was also made of pure Welsh gold from the Clogau St David’s mine.  

May 6, 1960

Princess Margaret’s wedding ring was also made from the same source.  

July 1, 1969

When Prince Charles was invested as the Prince of Wales he used the same regalia as Prince Edward I.  

November 14, 1973

Princess Anne’s wedding ring was made from gold from the Clogau St David’s gold mine.  

July 29, 1981

Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s wedding rings were both made from the same pure gold from the Clogau mine.  

July 23, 1986

The Royal British Legion gifted 36g of Welsh gold to the Duchess of York to be made into a ring.  

June 1999 

The Queen was given 1kg of Welsh gold from the Gwynfyndd mine on her 60th birthday in 1986 which may be the gold used in rings for the Earl and Countess of Wessex.  

April 9, 2005

The Price of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s wedding rings were made from pure Welsh gold.  

April 29, 2011

Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding ring was made from pure Welsh gold.    

May 19, 2018

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex’s wedding ring was also made from pure Welsh gold.   

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Source: Daily Mail |World News

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