Jan 22 2015
New Jersey Mining Company today announced the commencement of production from the Golden Chest Mine and gold concentrate production from its New Jersey Mill in Idaho.
After completing the initial underground development (main haulage drift, secondary escapeway, and ventilation raise), Juniper Mining ("Juniper"), operator of the Golden Chest Mine, produced the first ore in November and began delivering ore to the New Jersey Mill in mid-December. Since that time, the mill has processed approximately 3,500 tons of ore, steadily building towards design capacity of 400 tons per day. The first concentrate shipment will depart for the smelter in early February. As expected, gold recovery to concentrate has averaged about 94 percent.
Patrick Highsmith, NJMC's President and CEO, marked the occasion with the following comments, "We believe New Jersey Mining is unique among its peer group for the diversity of our talent and assets, as evidenced by today's news. We are thrilled to be producing gold concentrate from the Golden Chest Mine, delivering for our shareholders during a period of very challenging market conditions for our industry."
Small Mine Development Corporation, Juniper's underground mining contractor, is utilizing a modern rubber-tire fleet, cut-and-fill mining methods, and 14 by 14-foot development drifts at the Golden Chest. The stopes mined thus far were at the very top of the Skookum Shoot. The ore processed at the mill in December and early January averaged 0.12 ounces of gold per ton (opt) (4.10 grams per tonne (gpt)). While that is lower than the average grade of the Skookum Shoot Deposit, which is estimated at 0.32 opt gold (11 gpt)1, much of that mineralized mineral came as an addition to the original mine plan. Juniper expects to mine approximately 140,000 tons of material grading 0.32 opt over the next 16 months.1
NJMC commissioned the upgraded mill in November (See Company news release dated November 12, 2014) and used the time prior to start-up to complete operator training. The mill encompasses crushing, grinding, gravity, and floatation circuits, augmented by paste tailings disposal, concentrate leach, and filtration capabilities. The entire milling circuit is fully operational; and the gradual mill ramp-up has facilitated a number of hardware and system adjustments that will help ensure a smooth transition to full production.
The milling agreement between NJMC and Juniper provides for a 3-month ramp-up period, during which both groups will accelerate production towards design capacity. Mine production is currently constrained by back-filling operations on the upper levels, but Juniper reports that it will accelerate considerably in February.