Plans to open Scotland's only full-scale commercial gold and silver mine have been given the go-ahead.

Scotgold Resources Limited announced late last night that it had received planning approval for the first commercial gold mine in the country's history.

The AIM-listed group said in a statement that the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority had unanimously approved the company's application for the development of the Cononish Goldmine, subject to the conclusion of legal agreements.

The Cononish mine, near Tyndrum, has previously had permission for trial operations on rock that was already extracted. A small amount of gold has been refined and sold, at premium prices.

Plans involve the re-opening of an old mine shaft and the removal of more than half a million tonnes of mineral ore, along with up to 170,000 tonnes of rock. Operations could last up to 17 years.

Richard Gray, CEO of Scotgold, said: "We are delighted with this decision which paves the way for the development of the mine which will result in full production of the Cononish Deposit."

"The process has been aided by professionalism of the Park's executives. I am convinced that our project will meet both the highest environmental standards and provide a significant boost to the local economy around Tyndrum."

Once approval is granted, Scotgold will proceed with the financing for the development, though the approval of the Park Authority is seen as the key hurdle to cross.