Canadian Mining Journal


GOLD: Marathon restarts exploration at Valentine

The camp at Marathon Gold’s Valentine Lake property Credit: Marathon Gold

The camp at Marathon Gold’s Valentine Lake property Credit: Marathon Gold

NEWFOUNDLAND – Marathon Gold has restarted exploration work at its Valentine gold project; work at the site was stopped in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As exploration starts with one drill rig and ramps up over the coming weeks, the first priority for Marathon is the Berry zone, which lies within the 6-km-long Sprite corridor between the Marathon and Leprechaun deposits and hosts prospective vein mineralization.

The company also intends to complete step-out holes to the northeast of Berry, towards the Frozen Ear Pond Road (FEPR) area and towards the southwest border of the Marathon deposit. The latter is a 1.5-km-long section which has not been drilled previously.

This year, Marathon plans to drill 44,000 metres at Valentine; approximately 9,500 metres were completed by mid-March. Within this total, 12,000 metres is allocated for the footwall to the south of the Valentine Lake shear zone. With an estimated 4,500 metres completed in this area to date, this work is expected to help the company determine the waste rock and tailings storage facility and mill locations.

Marathon also plans to complete additional baseline studies, prospecting and trenching at Valentine.

In April, Marathon released the results of a pre-feasibility study on Valentine, which outlined a 12-year open pit mine, producing an average of 175,000 oz. of gold annually in the first nine years of operation. With an initial capital cost of $272 million and average life-of-mine, all-in sustaining costs of US$739 per oz., the net present value estimate for the project, at a 5% discount rate, came in at $472 million with a 36% internal rate of return.

A feasibility study for the project is expected next year.

The Valentine includes four gold deposits with total measured and indicated resources of 54.9 million tonnes grading 1.75 g/t gold for a total of 3.1 million oz. and inferred resources of 16.8 million tonnes at 1.78 g/t for a further 1 million oz. of gold. These resources include both an open-pit and underground component with the former estimated using a 0.3 g/t gold cut-off and the latter estimated using a cut-off grade of 1.66 g/t gold.

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