American mining company i-80 Gold has agreed to form a potential joint venture (JV) with an arm’s length third party to advance development of the company’s Ruby Hill property in Nevada, US.

Under the terms of the non-binding term sheet, the potential partner will acquire a minority interest in the Ruby Hill property.

I-80 Gold has also given the prospective partner exclusivity for a period of 120 days to carry out metallurgical due diligence and negotiate definitive documents. The exclusivity is subject to extension for an additional 60-day period.

The mining company will complete a drill campaign to expedite the knowledge of the metallurgical properties of the multiple polymetallic base metal deposits at the Ruby Hill property within the exclusivity period.

The campaign will be funded by the potential partner.

Located in Eureka County, the Ruby Hill property hosts deposits of both gold and polymetallic base metals, the majority of which remain completely open for expansion.

It is said to be i-80 Gold’s largest mining operation on an all‑metal basis.

I-80 Gold initiated four main tasks at the Ruby Hill property this year.

These include a large-scale exploration drilling programme, preliminary economic work for the planned Ruby Deeps underground gold mine, permitting to allow for the start of underground development, and metallurgical work and processing planning.

The company aims to focus on continued metallurgical and exploration drilling and the compiling of drill data. This is planned to be included in the inaugural polymetallic mineral resource, which is anticipated to be completed during the first half of 2024.

Currently, i-80 Gold is completing additional work for a possible retrofit of the existing Ruby Hill processing plant to a floatation plant that would recover base and precious metals.

I-80 Gold executive vice-president Matthew Gollat said: “Upon Closing, and the signing of definitive documentation, we expect to be in a position to immediately pursue underground development at Ruby Hill and advance to full feasibility on an expedited basis with a plan that will include the conversion of the Ruby Hill processing facility to floatation for base metal production and accelerate our ultimate goal of building a mid-tier Nevada-focused producer.”