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TORONTO, ON – October 30, 2023 – Marathon Gold Corporation (“Marathon” or the “Company”; TSX: MOZ) is pleased to announce that the Honourable Bernard Davis, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has released the proposed addition of the Berry Deposit to the Valentine Gold Project (the “Berry Pit Expansion” and the “Project”) from the provincial environmental assessment (EA) process. The Minister’s decision follows regulatory and public review of the Berry Pit Expansion Environmental Registration document, which was submitted to the NL Department of Environment and Climate Change (“NLDECC”) on August 11, 2023.
Matt Manson, President and CEO, commented: “Today’s news is very positive. The Berry Deposit was discovered in 2020 and first included as a third pit within the Valentine mine plan in our December 2022 Updated Feasibility Study. We are grateful for the efficient assessment it has received by the Newfoundland and Labrador regulators and the NLDECC in particular. While review at the federal level continues, our earlier guidance that the federal regulator will not require a new impact assessment (see Marathon news release dated August 30, 2023) means that Berry is on track to be fully permitted well in advance of its scheduled mining in the second quarter of 2025. We would like to acknowledge the diligent work by the Marathon team, our partners at Stantec, and Minister Davis’ team at the NLDECC, which has culminated in today’s welcome news.”
As is customary for projects released from the provincial EA process, the decision letter includes certain terms and conditions with which Marathon must comply, including completion of water-related plans and studies, ongoing caribou monitoring and mitigation, avifauna surveys, and an update to the NL Benefits Agreement to include the Berry Pit Expansion. The conditions are similar to those required in the March 17, 2022 provincial EA Release, which included Leprechaun and Marathon pits, the process plant, and Tailings Management Facility.
The Berry EA documentation was also submitted to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (“IAAC”) and on August 30, 2023, Marathon received confirmation from IAAC that the proposed Berry Pit Expansion does not constitute a new Designated Project federally and, as such, a new impact assessment under the Impact Assessment Act (“IAA”) is not required. As per the federal conditions of release for the Valentine Gold Project, potential environmental effects of proposed changes to the designated project must nevertheless undergo review, and additional mitigation measures identified, if applicable. This process, which is ongoing, is anticipated to result in an amended Decision Statement.
In the Project’s December 2022 Updated Feasibility Study, Marathon anticipated that the federal and provincial assessments for Berry would be completed by the middle of 2024. Today’s news means that provincial permitting can now proceed immediately, in some cases via amendments to existing Project permits, and in other cases with new Berry-specific permits.
Background to Today’s News
In September 2020, Marathon submitted an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for the Project to IAAC and the NLDECC pursuant to the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012) and the NL Environmental Protection Act, respectively. The scope of assessment for the EIS included two mining pits and related infrastructure (the Marathon and
Leprechaun Complexes), a Processing Plant, a Tailings Management Facility, and associated site facilities (the “two-pit project”). The Valentine Gold Project was released from the provincial EA process on March 17, 2022, and the federal EA process on August 24, 2022. Mine construction commenced in October 2022, and permitting for specific site activities has continued throughout the mine development process in accordance with the construction schedule.
In December 2022 Marathon released results of an Updated Feasibility Study for Valentine based on the addition of a third open pit and associated infrastructure at the Berry Complex (the “three-pit project”). Marathon filed environmental assessment registration materials for Berry to the NLDECC and IAAC on August 11, 2023, following the completion of an effects assessment and consultation with both the provincial and federal regulators, and engagement with Indigenous groups, communities, and stakeholder organizations.
The Berry Complex is subject to regulatory review requirements to identify, assess and mitigate potential environmental effects during all project phases, including construction, operation, decommissioning, rehabilitation and closure, and post-closure. Provincially, the addition of the Berry Complex is considered a “new undertaking” pursuant to the NL Environmental Protection Act. Federally, the addition of the Berry Complex is considered a change to the Designated Project referenced in the August 2022 Decision Statement of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, and potential amendments to the Decision Statement will now be considered. However, IAAC has informed Marathon that the Minister is not permitted to amend the Decision Statement to change the decision itself, and no new impact assessment under the terms of IAA will be required.
Disclosure of a scientific or technical nature in this news release has been approved by Mr. James Powell, P.Eng. (NL), Vice President, Regulatory and Government Affairs for Marathon. Mr. Powell is a qualified person under National Instrument (“NI”) 43-101. Mr. Roy Eccles, P.Geo. (NL), of APEX Geoscience Ltd. is a Qualified Person for purposes of NI 43-101, is independent of Marathon and the Valentine Gold Project, and has reviewed and takes responsibility for the updated 2022 MRE prepared by John T. Boyd Company.
Marathon (TSX:MOZ) is a Toronto based gold company advancing its 100%-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 five mineralized deposits along a 32-kilometre system. A December 2022 Updated Feasibility Study outlined an open pit mining and conventional milling operation producing 195,000 ounces of gold a year for 12 years within a 14.3-year mine life. The Project was released from federal and provincial environmental assessment in 2022 and construction commenced in October 2022. The Project has estimated Proven Mineral Reserves of 1.43 Moz (23.36 Mt at 1.89 g/t) and Probable Mineral Reserves of 1.27 Moz (28.22 Mt at 1.40 g/t). Total Measured Mineral Resources (inclusive of the Mineral Reserves) comprise 2.06 Moz (29.23 Mt at 2.19 g/t) with Indicated Mineral Resources (inclusive of the Mineral Reserves) of 1.90 Moz (35.40 Mt at 1.67 g/t). Additional Inferred Mineral Resources are 1.10 Moz (20.75 Mt at 1.65 g/t Au). Please see the NI 43-101 Technical Report “Valentine Gold Project, NI 43-101 Technical Report and Feasibility Study” effective November 30, 2022, Marathon’s Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2022 and other filings made with Canadian securities regulatory authorities available at www.sedar.com for further details and assumptions relating to the Valentine Gold Project.
For more information, please contact:
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To find out more information on Marathon Gold Corporation and the Valentine Gold Project, please visit www.marathon-gold.com.