Welsh Gold Mines
Dolaucothi, Gwynfynydd & Clogau
There have been a great number of gold mines in Wales, though many were on a very small scale. The exceptions were principally the Dolaucothi Mine in South Wales which began in Roman times and was still just about in profit when closed due to the war in 1939, and the Gwynfynydd Mine and Clogau Mine at Dolgellau in North Wales which in their heyday from the the late 1800's to the early 1900's produced thousands of ounces of gold.
However the boom years were not to last and by 1911 the Clogau had ceased production, to be followed by the Gwynfyndd in 1917.
Sporadic attempts were made through the years to work the mines but it was not until 1985 when Mark Weinberg and two partners re-opened the Gwynfynydd that any serious quantity of gold was produced again in Wales.
Allegedly over £1 million worth of gold was found, and certainly enough to present the Queen with a kilo bar, of which a replica now resides in the National Museum of Wales. Many "maiden brand" Welsh Gold wedding rings were also made, but unfortunately mining costs were higher than the value of the gold and the mine closed again in 1989 with Cymru Gold later buying all the remaining stocks.
Other mines also supplied gold to the Royal family and some changed their names on the fame of these transactions. Bedd-y-coedwr became the Princess Marina mine after supplying the gold for the wedding ring of the Duchess of Kent in 1934, and when the Bwlch-y-llu mine supplied the gold for the investiture regalia of the Prince of Wales they were given royal permission the change their name to the Prince Edward Mine.
Cymru Gold has spent many years prospectively trenching on the Welsh hillside around Dolgellau in collaboration with George Hall, the last mine manager at Gwnfynydd, in the hope of finding a new gold vein on the surface. In 2010, Cymru Gold paid for a lease on the Clogau Mine, also known for supplying gold for Royal wedding rings, to examine if it could be viable to re-open it. Unfortunately, so far we have met with more disappointment than success. Welsh Gold is a very rare and elusive beast!