A US-based company wants to establish a supermine to take six million tonnes of ore from a mountainside in one of the most picturesque areas of Scotland.

MI Drilling Fluid UK has begun preliminary talks with Perth and Kinross Council and Scottish Natural Heritage for a site at Duntanlich on the side of the 2260ft Beinn Eagagach mountain in Perthshire.

The company wants to extract 200,000 tonnes of barytes, which is crushed into drilling lubricant for the oil industry, every year for the next 30 years.

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The site overlooks Queen's View, named after Queen Victoria, who stopped at the head of Loch Tummel last century and proclaimed it one of the most breathtaking panoramas in Scotland.

The company attempted to open the mine in the early 1990s but met furious opposition from locals and Scottish Natural Heritage. Villagers who lived on the A827 united in opposition against ore lorries travelling on the narrow, twisting minor road to the A9.

The company, which operates a much smaller mine at Foss, intends to use the main Perth to Dundee road for transporting the ore to Aberdeen and has shelved plans to go cross-country via Coupar Angus.