Exploration company Heritage Gold is talking to potential joint-venture partners in China to develop the historic Talisman mine.

Heritage has been granted a 25-year permit to mine in the Talisman area which could produce gold and silver revenue of about $75 million a year.

The company has been prospecting in the Talisman for the past five years. It is in Department of Conservation land and Heritage says the permit allows enough flexibility to negotiate the necessary resource consents and an access arrangements.

The mine is a series of narrow tunnels and working areas deep in the hills of the Karangahake Gorge between Waihi and Paeroa.

Throughout its 134-year-old life it has produced more than a million ounces of gold and three million of silver, mainly during its first 40 years.

Heritage executive director Peter Atkinson said the granting of the permit was a "landmark day" for the company and its shareholders.

He said it was also an important day for the minerals industry, which has been boosted by Energy and Resources minister Gerry Brownlee's enthusiasm for scoping the potential of mining and opening up more land.

Under the Heritage permit's terms, mining must start within five years.

Atkinson said Heritage was in talks with several Chinese gold mining companies and he hoped to strike a deal within the first half of next year.

Mining initially would be done on a small scale with hand-held machines and a processing plant - which would cost more than $50 million - would not be built on DoC land.

The Heritage Gold share price closed up 0.7c to 4.6c yesterday.