Pershing Gold, the emerging Nevada gold producer advancing the Relief Canyon Mine, announces the start of its 2016 drilling program.

The 2016 Drilling Program is currently planned to have two phases. Phase 1 is focused on increasing the resource at Relief Canyon and continuing to upgrade the project's pit economics. This phase is planned to include approximately 20 holes, consisting of a mix of HQ and PQ drill holes around the western and northern margin of the deposit.

Phase 1 will be completed with one core-drilling rig. The Company has contracted with Titan Drilling, Ltd of Butte, Montana to initiate the Program.

Phase 2 of the Program is planned to start during the third quarter of this year. This phase will test targets currently being developed to the south and east of the existing pits.

Pershing Gold is completing geophysical surveys at Relief Canyon to develop these targets, including an induced polarization and chargeability survey over an approximately two square mile area. Zonge International of Reno, Nevada is completing this survey.

"The 2016 Drilling Program implements the recommendations of the recently published PEA on Relief Canyon, which highlights that the gold resource at Relief Canyon continues to be open to the west, east and south, and therefore presents the opportunity for growth in the mineral resource through continued drilling," said Stephen D. Alfers, Pershing Gold's Chairman and CEO.

"Expanding the gold resource could significantly improve the economics outlined in the PEA. Additionally, we plan to continue developing high potential targets on our 25,000-acre land package. A satellite discovery could add to the production planned at our fully built and permitted processing facility," explained Alfers.

"While conducting this Program, the Company is simultaneously evaluating the self and contract mining options outlined in the PEA in order to make a production decision. We continue to anticipate initial production within approximately six to nine months from investment decision and obtaining full financing for the project," he continued.

High priority targets are defined through a combination of the IP/resistivity signature as well as coincident gold indicator trace elements anomalies in soil.

The areas planned for drilling in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Program are outlined below in Figure 1. The Company has budgeted approximately $2 million for the Program, with roughly $1 million allocated for each phase of drilling.