Canada’s Marathon Gold (TSX: MOZ) is one step closer to having its proposed Valentine open-pit gold mine in central Newfoundland fully permitted as it has received the mining leases for the project.
The province’s leases cover the development of the Marathon and Leprechaun deposits and have a term of 20 years.
They follow the completion of the provincial environmental assessment process in March, and the approval from the Newfoundland and Labrador Cabinet to proceed with development.
The federal environmental assessment for the project is also in its last stretch, Marathon said, as the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada filed draft environmental assessment report last month. The report, which concludes that the mine is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, is now available for public comment.
Valentine, the largest undeveloped gold project in Atlantic Canada, is located about 80 km southwest of the communities of Millertown and Buchans, in Newfoundland.
It is made of five deposits containing 56.7 million measured and indicated tonnes at 1.72 g/t gold for 3.1 million ounces. There is also an inferred portion of 18.2 million tonnes at 1.70 g/t gold, containing 1 million ounces.
Marathon is planning a conventional truck and shovel open pit with average annual production of 173,000 ounces of gold for the first nine years of operation and a total mine life of 13 years. Gold will be recovered in a conventional mill that includes gravity concentration, flotation and carbon-in-leach. A heap leach is also proposed.
First 2022 drill results
In a separate statement, Marathon released on Thursday results from the latest drilling at the project’s Berry and Victory deposits, the first ones this year.
President and CEO Matt Manson highlighted results of one drill hole from the Victory deposit, which returned 17 metres of high-grade mineralisation starting at just 48 metres down-hole.
“The location of this drill hole adjacent to the Valentine Lake Shear Zone and well away from the location of the historical Victory Mineral Resources validates our exploration thesis for the area, and points to the potential for new discoveries within the underexplored portions of the Valentine Lake property,” Manson said.
If the federal environment minister approves the Valentine project, the company expects to begin early construction work in the third quarter of this year.