Nfld. & Labrador

Company a step closer to approval for gold mine near Buchans

Toronto-based company Marathon Gold Corporation says four million ounces of gold have been found in a deposit.

If approved by environment, and all other lights are green, construction wouldn't start until 2022-23

On the Marathon Gold Corporation's website, there is a gallery of photos showing visible gold flecks observed at its proposed mining location in central Newfoundland. (Marathon Gold Corporation)

A gold mining company is making steps toward approval for a new operation just south of Buchans in central Newfoundland.

The Marathon Gold Corporation, based out of Toronto, says it's found four million ounces of gold in a deposit in the ground.

"We've just completed a preliminary economic assessment which demonstrates that there is the potential for a large gold mining operation on our property and we're looking at production of about 225,000 ounces a year for 12 years," says Phil Walford, president and CEO of Marathon Gold.

"That puts us in one of the top mines in Canada, as far as gold goes, and certainly as far as that goes in the U.S. as well."

Walford said the company has put its proposal to the province's environmental review department for an assessment — the next step in getting approval for the project.

A look at the map and information section about the location of Marathon Gold's proposed mine operation. (Marathon Gold Corporation)

The company should know by the end of May whether or not the proposal is approved, or if they need to go back to the drawing board.

"It was really a significant deposit, it was one that a lot of people doubted would be found on the island," Walford told CBC Newfoundland Morning.

"I think we've demonstrated the island of Newfoundland can host a world-class gold deposit."

Could employ 400 people

If it does get approved, Walford said this kind of mine would employ about 400 people — 200 per shift, on a rotation basis.

"There's a lot of people that would be drawn from the area, a lot of goods and services too that would come into play," he said.

Paul Walford says a mining operation at Valentine Lake, south of Milltown and Buchans, would run for about 12 years. (Marathon Gold Corporation)

"It would really replace Duck Pond as a major economic stimulus."

Since purchasing the land in 2010 the company has spent more than $2 million maintaining an old forestry road from Milltown to the location where the mind would be, Walford said.

"From a safety factor, as well as supplies and keeping costs down, it's really good."

There are still a number of phases to get through before the company could look at construction, Walford said.

I think we've demonstrated the island of Newfoundland can host a world-class gold deposit.- Phil Walford

If the proposal is approved by the end of next month, the construction phase wouldn't start for another three years, he guessed.

"There's a lot of work to do yet," he said.

"It's pretty exciting. It's been a long haul, we started this project in 2010 and so it's ... these things take time."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Leigh Anne Power

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