Scotgold Resources shares collapse on grades and funding woes

The Cononish gold and silver mine is located near Tyndrum on the West Highland Way. (Image courtesy of Scotgold Resources.)

Shares in troubled miner Scotgold Resources (LON: SQZ) fell more than 70% on Monday after it warned there was “significant” uncertainty over its ability to keep operations going at Scotland’s first commercial gold and silver mine.  

The company behind the Cononish project, which received initial approval for the mine in 2018 and poured first gold in December 2020, achieved commercial production in July last year.

Despite efforts to optimize production, the Scottish miner has had to revise output targets downward

It now said that in February and into early March this year, the 430 West ore drive turned to waste, negatively affecting production and gold grades, which had not been as high as anticipated.

The firm noted it was moving to a method of mining called long hole stoping, which is more cost-effective than the current technique used.

Any delays in switching to the new process, the miner warned, will inevitably put a strain on its finances.

Scotgold is currently in discussions with its offtake partner to secure an advance of $500,000 to ensure it doesn’t experience a shortfall in working capital.

The company’s directors may also be called upon to provide a short-term convertible loan should the need arise, it said.

The firm, which is due to release its half-year results later this week, also revealed that the email accounts of its executive directors had been accessed by “unauthorized persons” and emails sent in their names to numerous people. It believes that the issue has been resolved but the police have also been informed.

Shares in Scotgold closed more than 63% lower on Monday to 13.90 pence each, leaving it with a market capitalization of £9.3 million.