Marathon Gold Corporation (TSX: MOZ; OTCQX: MGDPF) has uncovered impressive resources at its 100% owned Valentine Lake gold camp in central Newfoundland, but still has significant room for expansion.
The Toronto-based gold company acquired the 240 sq. km property in 2010 and quickly got to work, discovering the Frank, Sprite, and Marathon deposits while releasing National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource estimates for the Leprechaun and Victory zones.
Together, the near surface Leprechaun, Sprite, Marathon and Victory deposits total 1.85 million measured and indicated oz. gold at 1.88 grams gold per tonne and 1 million inferred oz. gold at 1.65 grams gold per tonne. They cover less than 15% along strike of the 30 km Valentine Lake Thrust Fault.
“We still have all our deposits open in one direction or more, particularly Marathon,” says Phillip Walford, Marathon Gold President and CEO. “The Marathon deposit goes down a kilometre and we were still in mineralization and alteration when we stopped.”
Marathon is the most substantial of the four deposits, containing 20 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 1.72 grams gold per tonne for 1.1 million oz. gold. Leprechaun contains 8.8 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 2.29 grams gold per tonne for 650,900 oz. gold.
Sprite contains 414,000 indicated tonnes grading 2.44 grams gold per tonne for 32,500 oz. gold and Victory contains 1 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 1.45 grams gold per tonne for 50,000 oz. gold.
Walford says that at one point many geologists thought there were no large gold deposits in Newfoundland.
“But what we’re seeing here is a big gold system, there’s no doubt about it,” he adds. “It’s 30 km long, just on our property.
“We just keep hitting gold — there are very few holes where we haven’t intersected measurable gold. And we wonder, ‘How big is this thing?’”
Marathon Gold launched a 60,000 metre drill campaign in May 2017, funded by an $18.6 million placement of common and flow through shares. So far it’s drilled 91 holes covering 43,300 metres into Leprechaun and Marathon. Of those, 63 holes covering 29,100 metres have been assayed and reported.
Some of the latest drill highlights from the Marathon zone, released in late November, include: hole 17-226 which returned 1.95 grams gold per tonne over 83 metres including 5.05 grams gold per tonne over 7.6 metres and hole 17-235 which cut 3.42 grams gold per tonne over 29 metres including 10.97 grams gold per tonne over 4.8 metres.
“We’re finally in a position where we can raise money without it being super dilutive,” Walford says. “And now we’re able to do what we’ve wanted to do for the past three years and do some significant drilling.”
Future drilling at the Marathon deposit will focus on infilling the planned upper open pit as well as the underground potential of the deposit, and step-out to the southwest. The company believes it has room to expand the resource to both the southwest and northeast, but will also drill the hanging and footwall to reduce the strip ratio for the resource pit shell. All of this is part of a new preliminary economic assessment the company began in October and expects to release in the second quarter of 2018.
Further demonstrating management’s strong belief in the long term potential of the property, Marathon has just bought back a 3% precious metals net smelter return royalty and a 2% base metals net smelter return royalty on the property for a total US$8.7 million.
The Newfoundland and Labrador government is showing support for the project as well. It gave Marathon Gold $150,000 last year and $100,000 in previous years in exploration grants from the province’s Junior Exploration Assistance program, while the Research and Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador has funded 75% of the last two metallurgical tests.
“All of the technical people and the workers live in Newfoundland,” Walford says. “All of our main suppliers are in Newfoundland.
“You can drive to it, there’s people all around, the infrastructure’s good — where else do you get that?”
The property is 18 km from an established power line and 90 km from the nearest paved road, with year round access to the property. It sits on quartz-tourmaline-pyrite-gold veining with tourmaline bleeding along sheer fractures.
“Most of our resource is open pit and at a very good grade,” Walford says. “Combined with that grade we have very high metallurgical recoveries.”
Marathon expects 93-98% recovery via traditional milling, and 50-73% recovery at the Leprechaun and Marathon zones via heap leaching. Drilling will continue into 2018 — and Walford expects there’s more to find.
“We’re focusing our attention on the Valentine Lake Intrusion,” he says. “But there are gold occurrences in all the other rock types around us. We see the Valentine Lake intrusion as having the greatest potential. We’ll get to the rest of the property later.”
By the end of September, Marathon had $17.4 million in cash and equivalents — more than double what it had on Dec. 31, 2016. Shares are currently valued at $1.03 and the market capitalization is $145 million.
— The preceding Joint Venture Article is promoted content sponsored by Marathon Gold Corporation and written in conjunction with The Northern Miner. Visit www.marathon-gold.com to learn more.