Marathon Gold Corp. has released fire assay data from the final 15 drill holes completed as part of the 2020 exploration program at the Valentine gold project, central Newfoundland. These latest results are all derived from within the 1.5-kilometre-long Berry zone. Highlights include:
- VL-20-942 intersected 19.85 grams per tonne gold over six metres, including 111.62 g/t Au over one metre and 2.56 g/t Au over 20 metres, including 17.54 g/t Au over one metre and 20.00 g/t Au over two metres.
- VL-20-946 intersected 9.37 g/t Au over six metres including 52.02 g/t Au over one metre and 10.76 g/t Au over two metres, including 16.64 g/t Au over 1 metre and 6.75 g/t Au over two metres, including 11.65 g/t Au over one metre.
- VL-20-947 intersected 1.47 g/t Au over 18 metres, including 11.20 g/t Au over one metre and 0.88 g/t Au over 22 metres and 1.06 g/t Au over nine metres and 0.74 g/t Au over 10 metres.
- VL-20-945 intersected 1.61 g/t Au over 26 metres.
- VL-20-944 intersected 3.21 g/t Au over 10 metres, including 22.82 g/t Au over one metre and 2.71 g/t Au over six metres including 11.85 g/t over one metre.
- VL-20-950 intersected 2.87 g/t Au over 12 metres, including 12.88 g/t Au over one metre.
All quoted intersections comprise uncut gold assays in core lengths. All significant assay intervals are reported in the associated table.
With these final 2020 results, a total of 42,000 metres of drilling in 212 holes are now available for use in the maiden mineral resource estimation for Berry. Consistent with previous practice, the Berry mineral resource estimate will be based on the results of metallic screening samples that have been submitted for all one m core intervals grading above the mineral resource cut-off of 0.3 g/t Au after fire assay. The Berry mineral resource estimate is expected to be completed prior to the end of the first quarter of this year.
In addition to today’s drill results, Marathon reports that the company’s board of directors has approved a 2021 exploration program comprising 52,000 metres of drilling at a budget of $10.5-million. These expenditures will be fully financed from existing cash resources. The 2021 exploration program will include:
- Up to 30,000 metres at the Berry zone designed to increase drill density over the full 1.5 kilometres of mineralization delineated in 2020;
- Up to 8,000 metres at both the Sprite and Victory deposits, with a view to potential resource expansion at each of these areas of historical exploration;
- Up to 6,000 metres dedicated to grassroots projects focused on new discovery.
The 2021 exploration program will be managed and operated by Marathon’s team of exploration staff and contractors, all of whom are resident within Newfoundland and Labrador.
Matt Manson, president and chief executive officer, commented: “Today’s results represent the final batch of drill holes completed prior to our seasonal shutdown at the end of November. Our 2020 exploration program, including the Berry infill drill program added midyear, has been successful in delineating an important new area of gold mineralization at the Valentine gold project. The first mineral resource estimate for Berry based on this initial round of drilling is expected by the end of this quarter. Whereas our 2020 exploration work was discovery oriented, our 2021 exploration program is designed to add ounces, with up to 30,000 metres of additional infill drilling planned for the Berry zone over its full 1.5-kilometre length. We also plan to return to the Victory and Sprite deposits, with up to 8,000 metres of drilling in each area. Modest quantities of mineral resources have been previously estimated at each of Victory and Sprite based on limited drilling completed prior to 2015. The new drill program will be designed to test for the tightly concentrated Main zone-type mineralization located immediately proximal to the Valentine Lake shear zone in the style seen at the Leprechaun deposit, and now also at Berry, and which may have been missed by previous drilling patterns. Neither Victory nor Sprite are included in the current Valentine gold project mine planning. Finally, up to 6,000 metres of drilling will be reserved for greenfield initiatives within the 20 kilometres of shear zone geology contained within the Valentine Lake property. All of this exploration activity will proceed in parallel with our ongoing environmental assessment and engineering activities. Drilling with three rigs at site has already commenced.”
Gold mineralization at the Valentine gold project is contained predominantly within shallowly southwest-dipping, en echelon stacked quartz-tourmaline-pyrite-gold (QTP-Au) veins. At the Leprechaun and Marathon deposits, as well as at the new Berry zone, these QTP-Au veins form densely stacked and northwest-plunging Main zone envelopes within intrusive host rocks on the hangingwall (northwest) side of the Valentine Lake shear zone. The extent of mineralization appears related to the size and frequency of sheared mafic dikes, which extend northeast-southwest within the hangingwall, parallel to the shear zone. Exploration drilling is generally undertaken in two orientations: down steeply toward the northwest at a high angle to the individual veins and down plunge of the Main zone stacking, or obliquely toward the southeast subparallel to the individual veins and across the strike of Main zone mineralization.
The results released today are derived from nine drill holes located within or adjacent to the Berry infill drilling area between sections 13540E and 13860E, and an additional six drill holes in the Frozen Ear Pond Road area between sections 14650E and 14800E.
Seven of the 15 holes were oriented steeply down to the northwest testing for Main zone-type stacked QTP-Au mineralization close to the Valentine Lake shear zone (VL-20-942, 945, 947, 948, 949, 950 and 951). Six holes were oriented steeply down to the northwest within hangingwall rocks but at a greater distance from the shear zone contact (VL-20-938, 939, 940, 944, 946 and 952). Two holes were oriented to the southeast from the hangingwall toward the footwall contact (VL-20-941 and 943).
Thirteen of the 15 drill holes returned significant drill intercepts of greater than 0.7 g/t Au, and each drill hole returned additional intercepts with gold grades above the 0.3 g/t Au cut-off used in the January, 2020, mineral resource estimate for the project.
Disclosure of a scientific or technical nature in this news release was prepared under the supervision of Nicholas Capps, PGeo (Newfoundland), project manager for exploration at the Valentine gold project. Exploration data quality assurance and control for Marathon are under the supervision of Jessica Borysenko, PGeo (Newfoundland), GIS manager for Marathon Gold. Both Mr. Capps and Ms. Borysenko are qualified persons under National Instrument 43-101.
Quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC)
QA/QC protocols followed at the Valentine gold project include the insertion of blanks and standards at regular intervals in each sample batch. Drill core is cut in half with one-half retained at site, the other half tagged and sent to Eastern Analytical Ltd. in Springdale, Nfld. All reported core samples are analyzed for Au by fire assay (30 grams) with AA finish. All samples above 0.30 g/t Au in economically interesting intervals are further assayed using metallic screen to mitigate the presence of coarse gold. Significant mineralized intervals are reported in the attached table as core lengths and estimated true thickness (70 to 95 per cent of core length), and reported with and without a top-cut of 30 g/t Au applied.