BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — State environmental regulators say they are reviewing a permit application for a gold mine near Butte.

If the Department of Environmental Quality approves the application by Timberline Resources Corp. and Highline Mining, the mine could begin operating by the end of the year.

The joint venture proposes a mine with a one-acre footprint 15 miles south of Butte within the headwaters Fish, Moose and Basin creeks.

Gold was discovered near Fish Creek in 1866.

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho-based Timberline acquired the property in 2007.

Its initial target production would be 400 tons of ore per day for the first four years.

The Associated Press reports the DEQ is accepting comments as it prepares an environmental impact statement.