Golden Chest Ore Tonnage Increased Significantly
COEUR D'ALENE, ID - New Jersey Mining Company (NJMC), President and CEO, John Swallow, stated, "We accomplished a great deal in the first quarter - from underground development, increased underground production, and a considerable amount of core drilling (kudos to Eric and Richard for making the drill their own). Additionally, our purchase of the last remaining large block of land in the Murray Gold Belt (MGB) was largely advanced during the quarter, and each employee in the company was awarded stock options for the first time in a while. Looking ahead we plan to further utilize the Company drill at the Golden Chest ahead of underground production and development and to conduct exploration drilling on the surface, therefore increased exploration costs (and corresponding results) are to be expected in the months ahead. The bullets below tell the story… we faced challenges and overcame them with a record production month in March, which was followed by a very strong April. And some of the highest-grade gold numbers we've seen were also released during the quarter."
At the Golden Chest, ore tonnage from the underground stopes increased significantly in the first quarter of 2021 as 5,700 tonnes of ore were mined from the 842 and 891 stopes. Significant progress was also made in the Main Access Ramp (MAR) and associated development (sumps, muck bays and ventilation drifts). The advance rate in the MAR was substantially increased with the addition of a new 5-cubic meter Caterpillar R1600 LHD in the first quarter of 2021 which reduced muckout times by 60%. Underground mining during the quarter was hampered by a strong windstorm in January that knocked out the power to the mine for a week. In January and February, the Company completed 3,500 meters of core drilling at the Golden Chest with a contract core driller. Three areas along the Idaho fault were tested: the Joe Dandy, the Paymaster, and the Skookum. The highlight of the drilling program so far was drillhole GC 21-193 which intercepted 6.3 meters (all reported lengths are true thickness) of quartz vein that assayed 11.5 grams per tonne (gpt) gold (including 2.3 meters of 19.5 gpt gold on the southern end of the property in an area known as the Joe Dandy where very little drilling has been done to date. Additional vein intercepts in the Joe Dandy area were drilled and those holes are in the queue to be logged and sampled. Also, during the quarter, the Company drill completed two holes in the Paymaster area and started a third. The first two holes each hit two veins, one on the hanging wall on a monzonite intrusive and the second in the footwall of the monzonite. The intercepts assayed as follows: GC 20-183 intercepted 0.9 meters of 14.7 gpt gold in the upper vein and 0.2 meters of 6.3 gpt gold in the lower vein while GC 21-184 intercepted 1.5 meters of 20.1 gpt gold (including 0.9 meters of 26.7 gpt gold) in the upper vein and 1.4 meters of 3.8 gpt gold in the lower vein.
For the quarter ending March 31, 2021 a total of 10,118 dry metric tonnes (dmt) were processed at the New Jersey mill with a flotation feed head grade of 3.38 gpt with gold recovery of 89.8%. Throughput suffered in January because of the strong windstorm on January 13 that knocked out power to the mill for a week. In February, cone crusher breakdowns and the loss of the ball mill motor limited tonnage in that month as well. Fortunately, the mill crews worked overtime in March to process a total 4,600 tonnes or 45% of the quarterly mill total.
Open pit mining progressed from the 1032 bench to the 1036 bench as production averaged 1,080 tonnes per day. Mining continued through the Klondike area as historic stopes were encountered that reduced the ore tonnage modeled. However, a narrow, high-grade footwall vein with abundant visible gold (672 gpt gold over 20 centimeters) was encountered in the Klondike pit. Subsequent to that discovery, the next bench was then drilled and a blasthole intercept of 105 gpt Au in a three-meter vertical blasthole was found in the same area. It appears that some of this vein was mined by the old-timers, however, the Company is planning to study this occurrence as it may have positive implications for future exploration targeting of high-grade footwall veins.
Subsequent to the end of the first quarter 2021 the Company completed the acquisition of more than 500 acres of private patented mining claims. This claim group consists of 28 patented mining claims and is contiguous with other lands owned by the Company, bringing NJMC's private land holdings in the Murray Gold Belt to over 1,500 acres. New Jersey Mining Company is now the largest private landowner in this historic mining district.