Bulgaria occupies a portion of the eastern Balkan Peninsula. Ancient gold artifacts from the Roman-era have been found throughout the country, though early sources of this gold are not known for certain, although there are placer gold deposits that have been found throughout the country that are likely sources for this early gold use.
Thracia was a mineral rich region that was occupied by the Romans and a variety of different minerals were produced in this region.
The Pautalia region was worked extensively by Romans and later by Saxon miners. Sasa was a gold mining village in Bulgaria (now located in Macedonia) that Saxon miners produced gold by placer mining many creeks and rivers.
Ancient mining methods were generally done by two distinct methods; either by placer mining in the loose gravels within a riverbed, or by processing cemented gravel deposits underground. The later method certainly had limitations due the technological abilities at the time.
Placer deposits have been heavily worked in the Kjustendil region. Although this gold has been mined for centuries, there is still gold being found here today, and the high gold price has renewed interest. Many small scale miners still find gold in Struma and Dragovishtitsa. The Struma River has had significant mining activity.
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There are many mines located near the headwaters of the Uinestitsa River in western Bulgaria that produce gold and feed placers within the river gravels.
In the mid-19th Century, Chelopech area was found to have mineral potential. It is said that in 1953, the Chelopech deposit was re-discovered due to the drilling by Sofia Geological Exploration. Gold deposits were evaluated later that year.
Modern Gold Mining
Gold mining continued from 1953 onward. Many projects were conducted to protect and improve the mine through the decades.
On of December 11, 2011, the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism announced that 2 (two) gold deposits were found near Tran, western Bulgaria and Rakitovo, southern Bulgaria. At that time, it was believed that the Rakitovo deposit had 7 tons of gold and the deposit in Tran had 100 tons of gold.
At that time, only one gold mine operated in the country: the above-mentioned Chelopech, which is still recognized as the largest copper/gold ore deposit within the country.
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In February 2011, the Bulgarian cabinet initial approved a 30 year gold mining project to Dundee Precious Metals (DPM), the “Khan Krum” near Krumovgrad. It has been estimated to have reserves of 25 (twenty-five) tons of gold. It was set to be an open-pit gold mine located on the lands of the following villages: Kaklitsa, Malko, Kamnyane, Ovchari, Sarnak, Zvanarka, Dazhovnik, and Guliya.
As of July 2015, this mine has not come to fruition, due to court battles and protests. At this point DPM does not have the proper authorization from the Bulgarian government to proceed.
Experts believe gold resources in Bulgaria could see increased investment in the coming years. Bulgaria has a very low necessity for gold domestically, so production would enable its mineral exports to significantly improve their economy.
Currently it is projected that the mining sector will only account for around 2% of the economy, but additional discoveries and expansion of mining operations in the country may increase that number substantially.
Europe Gold Map