New Jersey Mining (NJMC) has received the necessary permits to start small-scale open-pit mining operations at its 100%-owned Golden Chest mine near Murray, Idaho, US.

The proposed open-pit is in an area of Idaho Vein outcrop, located 200m above the recently built mine portal.

Mine Systems Design completed engineering studies for the mine, which included the creation of a three-dimensional block model featuring a starter pit containing about 13,000t of mineralised material at an average grade of 4.99 gram per tonne (gpt) of gold.

Ore will be shipped to New Jersey Mining’s fully permitted, New Jersey Mill in Kellogg, Idaho.

"The more we study the Golden Chest land package, the more potential we see."

NJMC president John Swallow said: "We’re looking to mine the starter pit this summer and fall, and to restart the mill, while the underground mine workings are dewatered.

"Meanwhile, we continue to explore strategic financing options to fund the resumption of underground mine operations as soon as possible.

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"The more we study the Golden Chest land package, the more potential we see: high-grade, easily accessible ore pockets within an area of substantial investment and infrastructure within a district-scale exploration property."

Earlier this year, the company completed an internal scoping study and developed an initial mine plan at Golden Chest.

As part of the mine plan that focuses on the main Skookum Shoot orebody, production target was set at 3,000t per month with all material to be processed at the New Jersey Mill.

In September 2013, the company leased the Skookum Shoot portion of the mine to Juniper Resources, which developed a gold mine that began producing ore in late-2014.

Juniper ceased operations in September last year and terminated its lease, forfeiting the remaining mineralised material and mine infrastructure.

Juniper mined 40,840 dry metric tonnes of ore at an average grade of 6.70gpt of gold.