Marathon Files Valentine Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement

Marathon Gold Corp. has filed its environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Valentine gold project located in the central region of Newfoundland and Labrador. The EIS has been submitted to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) and the Newfoundland Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Municipalities (NLDECCM).

The submissions are part of the environmental assessment (EA) process for the Valentine gold project that commenced in April, 2019, with the filing of a project description and a project registration to the federal and provincial regulators respectively. The EA is being conducted pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and the NL Environmental Protection Act. Over an initial 30-day review period, IAAC will assess the EIS for conformity with federal guidelines issued in July, 2019. During this IAAC review, a provincial environmental assessment committee established under the auspices of NLDECCM has agreed to commence an initial review of the EIS. Once determined to be conforming by IAAC, the EIS will be accepted into the formal federal and provincial technical review processes. These reviews are expected to occur over a period of approximately 12 months and include information requests and submittals, as well as public consultations. Permitting for site-specific activities related to the project’s construction and operation would be expected to commence following successful release from the EA process.

The EIS has been authored by Marathon and Stantec of St. John’s, Nfld., and utilizes extensive environmental baseline data collected at the project site by Marathon and its consultants starting in 2010. It incorporates the results of a current land use and traditional knowledge study completed by the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, and an independent economic assessment of the project completed by Strategic Concepts Inc. of St. Johns, Nfld. Starting in March, 2019, and continuing through to the summer of 2020, a series of public meetings, engagements and information sessions on the project were conducted with the Qalipu and the Miawpukek first nations, the communities of Millertown, Buchans, Buchans Junction, Badger, Grand Falls-Windsor and Bishop’s Falls, and regional civil society groups. Feedback received from these sessions was incorporated into the project’s planning and design process.

The EIS assesses the potential environmental and social effects of the project in 15 separate areas of study, including water and air quality, wildlife, vegetation and wetlands, fish and fish habitat, communities, indigenous groups, and the regional and provincial economies. A particular focus of study has been delineating potential effects on water quality and fish habitat through the placement of the project’s infrastructure and facilities, and potential effects on the nearby Victoria Lake hydroelectric reservoir and dam. The EIS also describes the potential effects on migration of the Buchans caribou herd, one of several herds located in the central region of Newfoundland, which is known to transit seasonally through the area of the project. In each of the 15 areas of study, the EIS assesses and characterizes the potential effects from the project’s development, and the mitigation measures to be adopted with the aim of reducing the project’s environmental footprint.

Based on the Valentine gold project prefeasibility study released in April, 2020, and the independent assessment completed by Strategic Concepts Inc., the project is expected to have substantial economic benefits for both Newfoundland and Canada during 15 years of construction, operation and rehabilitation. Utilizing a gold price assumption of $1,350 (U.S.) per ounce, these benefits include:

  • Creation of over 19,000 person years of total employment in Canada (direct, indirect and induced), including approximately 11,000 person years in Newfoundland;
  • Average annual employment of nearly 1,300 person years of employment in Canada, including an annual average of 725 person years within Newfoundland;
  • Generation of approximately $1.3-billion (Canadian) in income to workers and businesses within Canada, including $750-million (Canadian) to workers and businesses located within Newfoundland;
  • Contribution of $3.6-billion (Canadian) to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP), which includes $2.9-billion (Canadian) to Newfoundland’s gross domestic product;
  • Generation of approximately $292-million (Canadian) in federal government revenues;
  • Generation of approximately $400-million (Canadian) ($27-million (Canadian) on an average annual basis) in incremental revenues to the treasury of Newfoundland.

Qualified person

Disclosure of a scientific or technical nature in this news release was prepared under the supervision of James Powell, PEng (Newfoundland), Marathon’s vice-president of government and regulatory affairs, and a qualified person under National Instrument (NI) 43-101.

About Marathon Gold Corp.

Marathon is a Toronto-based gold company advancing its 100-per-cent-owned Valentine gold project located in the central region of Newfoundland and Labrador, one of the top mining jurisdictions in the world. The project comprises a series of four mineralized deposits along a 20-kilometre system. An April, 2020, prefeasibility study outlined an open-pit mining and conventional milling operation over a 12-year mine life with a 36-per-cent after-tax rate of return utilizing a $1,350-(U.S.)-per-ounce gold price assumption. The project has estimated proven mineral reserves of 1.3 million oz (26.3 million t at 1.52 grams per tonne) and probable mineral reserves of 600,000 oz (14.8 million t at 1.23 g/t). Total measured mineral resources (inclusive of the mineral reserves) comprise 1.9 million oz (31.7 million t at 1.86 g/t) with indicated mineral resources (inclusive of the mineral reserves) of 1.19 million oz (23.2 million t at 1.60 g/t). Additional inferred mineral resources are 960,000 oz (16.77 million t at 1.78 g/t Au). Please see the technical report dated April 21, 2020, for further details and assumptions relating to the Valentine gold project.

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