A gold exploration company is hoping that Donside could become the heart of a multi-billion pound mining industry.
Turkish mining giant Koza Altin Isletmeleri has begun prospecting in the village of Towie.
Koza partners GreenOre Gold (based in Muir of Ord, Invernessshire) said Towie has “enormous potential”.
A spokeperson said: “This area has all the right hallmarks of a major deposit to be hiding underneath the surface.
“Myself and my business partner looked at the geometry and found some really exciting rocks with potential for a large deposit.
“We have found over two years that the whole of Aberdeenshire is a ripe area for gold mineralisation.
“We’re just trying to locate where in Aberdeenshire the gold deposit is.”
But GreenOre cautioned that plans for further development are at a “very early stage”.
In January 2013, GreenOre Gold Plc was awarded a Mine’s Royal Option Agreement for an area approximately 56km squared near the hamlet of Towie.
As a result of the work carried out during the first year of exploration this area was then increased to nearly 250km squared in 2014.
GreenOre said: “Early indications prove this area to be highly prospective for economic gold.”
The surrounding landscape of rolling hills have a maximum height of 619m on the summit of Pressendye to 150m above sea level in the flood plains of the River Don.
Since acquiring the licence in early 2013, a significant amount of work has already happened.
The initial work has identified numerous areas for follow up work and drilling.
High values of Silver, Copper, Lead and Zinc have also been noted in rock and soil samples.
GreenOre added: “We’re testing the rock and soil to sample whether it has the potential for gold beneath it.
“We’re trying to locate where this deposit will be and we will jump those hurdles when we get there.
“The only way we will know for sure is when we start drilling which we hope to be doing next year.”