Marathon Gold Corp. (TSX: MOZ) has released its first inferred resource estimate for the Berry deposit at the Valentine gold project in Central Newfoundland. Based on 42,000 metres of drilling, it totals 638,700 oz. of gold in 11.3 million tonnes averaging 1.75 grams gold per tonne.
About 89% of the total – 566,400 oz. in 10.7 million tonnes at 1.65 grams gold per tonne – lie within a potential open pit. There is also a high grade open-pit resource using a 0.7 gram gold per tonne cut-off of 493,700 oz. in 5.8 million tonnes grading 2.64 grams gold per tonne.
The company says the total resources for the Valentine project now stand at 3.1 million oz. in 56.7 million measured and indicated tonnes at 1.72 grams gold (unchanged from the earlier estimate). The inferred portion, including the new Berry estimate, is now 1.64 million oz. in 29.6 million tonnes grading 1.97 grams gold. The new number represents a 64% increase from the previous estimate.
“Berry demonstrates the same style of concentrated quartz-tourmaline-pyrite gold veining in Main zone type configurations with which we are familiar elsewhere at the Valentine gold project, said Marathon president and CEO Matt Manson in a news release.
“Overall, the geological relationships at Berry, the distribution of mineralization, and the high resource grades are reminiscent of the nearby Leprechaun deposit, which contributes a substantial portion of the mineral reserves used in the current 13-year Valentine gold project mine plan,” he said.
None of the resources thus far identified at the Berry deposit have been included in core plans for development which is based on open pits at Marathon and Leprechaun deposits and a central mill. Capacity at the mill will likely be between 2.5 million and 4.0 million tonnes per year.
In a research note to clients, Barry Allan of Laurentian Bank Securities said Marathon is his top pick for 2021.
It is “now clear that once the Berry Zone is incorporated into the mine plan as per the feasibility study recently released, the impact of the Berry Zone is likely significantly more material than we initially judged.”
Allan has a buy rating and a price target of $5.75 per share.
At press time in Toronto, Marathon’s shares were trading at $2.67 within a 52-week range of $1.40 and $3.35 per share. The company has about 213.4 million common shares outstanding for a market cap of $570.9 million.