Mining in Idaho has remained a lucrative venture for a century and half. A number of the current gold explorations in the state follow the tradition of the territory's first settlers, with some projects launched from previous or re-emerging mining sites.
The history of Idaho and gold mining in the United States has long been intertwined, with the first permanent white settlers in the area taking part in the country's initial gold rushes.
The Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH) said it was the discovery of gold that established the Idaho territory in 1863.
A 1967 report from the Bureau of Mines said Idaho topped the list of five states that contained four-fifths of the country's gold reserves producible at more than $35 per ounce. Among the 12 districts that produced 99 percent of the country's gold were Columbia Plateau District, Northern Rocky Mountain District, and Middle Rocky Mountain District.
Of the 308.5 million ounces of gold produced in the United States from 1792 to 1964, almost all came from 18 states including Idaho.
Nowadays, however, silver and phosphate have become the two major minerals produced in the state. IMNH said that "easy" gold deposits in the area started to disappear and by late 1800s, silver, lead and zinc deposits were discovered in the Coeur d'Alene area, now one of the world's richest mineral areas.
This led to Idaho providing almost 45 percent of silver mined in the United States.
While Idaho produced little gold in recent years, the United States Bureau of Mines said Idaho had more mineable gold than any other state. Because of the higher gold prices, many investors and businessmen again took interest in gold mining in the state, resulting in the reopening of many old mines.
Premium Exploration's Idaho Gold Project, for example, is said to potentially have several bulk tonnage deposits within the 180 square meter area in Elk City, Idaho County in north-central Idaho.
It has seen historic mining and exploration activity since the 1980s and historical regional production was estimated to more than 8 million gold ounces. It was once known as the Elk City Mining District or Idaho Gold Belt.
The project is located along the 30-kilometer area of the Orogrande Shear Zone, which is found to exhibit structural control to gold mineralization. Earlier studies showed that it is a potential conduit for multiple zones of gold mineralization.
It is for this reason that the Premium Exploration is aiming to discover multiple deposits through its Idaho Gold Project. Since its first exploration in 2009, the company has drilled around 24,000 meters of rock, resulting in 8 gold discoveries and encounters of anomalous gold mineralization.
The Idaho Gold Project now consists of six contiguous zones: the Buffalo Gulch Zone, the Deadwood Zone, the Friday Zone, the Monday Zone, the X Zone and the Lucky Strike Zone.
The Friday Zone has a 629,000 indicated and 146,000 inferred gold ounces while Buffalo Gulch Zone has 111,000 indicated gold ounces.