Bunhill: A gold lining for lead mine

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A MINING museum in Derbyshire was fielding inquiries from mineral companies yesterday following its discovery of 'astonishing' levels of gold in a volcanic rock sample taken from a former lead mine.

Experts at the Peak District Mining Museum have long believed that gold could exist in commercially mineable quantities in Derbyshire. There was, after all, a small gold rush in the county in 1855, when the precious metal was found in Lathkill Dale, eight miles from the museum's home at Matlock. Lynn Willies, project leader at the museum, took the sample from the historic Temple lead mine at Matlock Bath, which the museum has opened to the public. 'All we took was a 250-gram piece of rock, but the results were astonishing,' he said.

'We expected to find about one or two grams of gold per ton of rock. But the Assay Office found the sample contained the equivalent of 37 grams of gold per ton, which is a quite phenomenal level, and well above the level needed for mining to be a viable proposition.'

(Photograph omitted)