The Scottish hills are set to become the focus for a new gold digging enterprise. This year, Scotgold will start Scotland’s first and only gold commercial mine in Loch Lomond National Park.

Chief executive officer of Scotgold, Chris Sangster, says: “There is about half a million tonnes of rock which contain just under five tonnes of gold and 25 tonnes of silver and that’s what the mine is built around.”

The estimated value of the gold could be as much as $300 million, depending on market prices.

Chris adds: “Mines are transient beasts. We’ll be here for 10 years and then we’ll disappear and at the end of 15 years, you won’t particularly see that we’ve been here.”

The approval for the mine came only after the first proposal was rejected. The second time around, the restoration plan was deemed to be adequate, as was a design meant to minimise the view of the mining operation from the nearby walker favourite hills.

Go panning for your own gold

For those not connected to this money-spinning enterprise, there is another opportunity for discovering gold, in Perthshire. Scotland's Only Gold and Gem Panning Centre is organised by Highland Safaris

Highland Perthshire is rich with gold deposits and nearby, on the banks and braes of beautiful Loch Tay, copper and silver can be found.

At Highland Safaris, adults and children can search and find these treasures. First a Safari Ranger arms you with your own "pan" and bucket of grit and gives you a few handy instructions.

Then you head to the covered, all weather panning flume, where you scoop and swirl in the water as you hunt for real and “fools” gold, as well as many beautiful semi precious gem stones.

There is a heap of lovely stones to be found in every grit bucket. Identification charts will also help you see what you’ve found and you can take home your gold and gems.

Also check out details of the Scottish and British Gold Panning Champs, which take place in May, at Gold Panning Championships.