The Welsh mine that produced the gold for three generations of royal wedding rings is to reopen after nearly 20 years.
The wedding bands of the Queen Mother, the Queen, Princess Margaret, the Princess Royal and Diana, Princess of Wales were made from the same nugget drawn from the Clogau St David’s mine at Bontddu in North Wales.
Mining ceased in 1998, as diminishing quantities of gold were being found. But Clogau has now been identified as a mine with “expansion potential”, and the possibility that there are unworked veins to be discovered.
Alba Mineral Resources, which has taken a 49 per cent stake in Clogau’s owners, Gold Mines of Wales Limited, will reopen the mine later this year.
“The opportunity presented by this project is pretty unique – high grade gold in the heart of the United Kingdom, and the fact that Welsh gold attracts a significant premium,” said George Frangeskides, Alba executive chairman.
“The historic connections of Welsh gold with the heritage of the United Kingdom and the potential for finding more gold in the vastly under-explored exploration ground make a strong case for investment.”
Edward Edwards, of Bontddu, Merrioneth, Wales, at the overgrown pit head of Clogau St David’s gold mine in 1966 CREDIT: PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES A review of geological, geochemical and geophysical data from the area suggests there is plenty more gold to be found. The focus “will be on bringing the Clogau Gold Mine back into production and also making a push into the regional exploration of the wider area”.
Welsh gold fetches up to five times the gold spot price. North Wales has produced around 131,000oz of gold since the early 1800s, with 81,000oz of that from Clogau.
The royal connection was forged in 1911, at the investiture of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII). The coronet, rod, ring and sword incorporated pure Welsh gold from Clogau.
A gold wedding ring became fashionable when the Queen Mother chose it for her nuptials in 1923. It has since become a royal tradition, followed by the Duchess of Cambridge when she wed in 2011 using gold given to Prince William by the Queen shortly after the couple became engaged.