SHARES in Scotgold edged up nearly two per cent as it admitted the final stage of the permitting process required for its Argyll gold mining project is taking longer than expected.

But the company insisted it still expects to begin producing gold, and commercial sales, from its planned gold and silver mine at Cononish mine in 2019.

Scotgold said in a statement to the stock exchange last night that “all substantive matters” connected to the permit have been progressed with the National Park Authority. The proposed mine is located within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

However, the company said it is still striving to reach agreement with “various related third parties”, which it hopes to achieve by the end of September.

Despite the impasse, chief executive Richard Gray said its plans to begin mining next year remain unchanged.

Mr Gray said: “Although this final stage of the permitting process is taking longer than anticipated, we continue to make what preparations we can for the final development phase.

“Once the Decision Notice is received we will assess the impact of these early preparations on the project schedule and provide further guidance on the expected date for first gold production.

“It is important to note that although frustrating, this delay will not have a material effect on the company’s funding position and we continue to look forward to anticipated gold production and cashflow in 2019.”

The update comes after Scotgold hailed a £9 million fundraising it secured in May as a “momentous occasion for gold production in Scotland”. It announced then that it had raised £4m before expenses from a share placing and subscription at 27.5p per share, in addition to a secured loan facility of £5m with Nat le Roux, who is its non-executive chairman and a substantial shareholder.

The Cononish mine is expected to produce about 23,500 equivalent ounces of gold annually, on average. Shares in Scotgold closed up 0.5p at 26p.