"Once again, we are reporting multiple long intercepts of high-grade mineralisation. Of note in today's release is another significant drill hole from the Victory deposit, VGD-22-086, which returned 17 metres of high-grade mineralisation starting at just 48 metres down-hole," Marathon's president and CEO Matt Manson said.
"The location of this drill hole adjacent to the Valentine Lake Shear Zone and well away from the location of the historical Victory Mineral Resources validates our exploration thesis for the area, and points to the potential for new discoveries within the underexplored portions of the Valentine Lake property," he said.
The drilling also target the Berry deposit, which—along with Victory—Marathon is prioritizing for this year's programme. The company highlighted the following results from Berry:
- VL-22-1189 intersected 8.68g/t Au over 16 metres including 20.55g/t Au over 6 metres, and 6.17g/t Au over 2 metre including 10.78g/t Au over 1 metre, and 0.75g/t Au over 15 metres;
- VL-22-1193 intersected 1.56g/t Au over 40 metres including 12.67g/t Au over 1 metre, and 6.44g/t Au over 2 metres including 11.85g/t Au over 1 metre;
- VL-22-1191 intersected 3.86g/t Au over 13 metres including 21.33g/t Au over 1 metre, and 1.29g/t Au over 25 metres including 12.76g/t Au over 1 metre;
- VL-22-1198 intersected 25.25g/t Au over 2 metres, and 1.97g/t Au over 14 metres including 13.06g/t Au over 1 metre; and
- VL-22-1185 intersected 2.58g/t Au over 13 metres including 12.74g/t Au over 1 metre, and 13.55g/t Au over 1 metre, and 13.04g/t Au over 1 metre, and 1.38g/t Au over 9 metres.
Canaccord Genuity Capital Markets analyst Michael Fairbairn said the results support CG's view that Valentine has "strong exploration potential".
"The holes released from Berry were infill in nature, many returning long intercepts at high-grades exceeding the grade of Berry's current global resource (~640,000oz at 1.75g/t)," he said.
Manson noted that the results will not be included in the upcoming mineral resource update for Berry which is based on drilling completed to the end of November last year.
Fairbairn said: "Longer-term, resource growth at Berry may eventually result in the inclusion of the deposit in the Valentine mine plan, possibly supporting the mining of three pits simultaneously and raising the project's cut-off grade for milled material".
Marathon's Valentine drill programme is running tandem to the company progressing through the permitting process.
A March 2021 feasibility study outlined an open pit mining and conventional milling operation over a thirteen-year mine life with a 31.5% after-tax rate of return and an average gold production profile of 173,000oz Au per year for the first 9 years.
The project has estimated proven and probable mineral reserves of 2.05 million oz (47.1 million tonnes at 1.36g/t Au) and total measured and indicated mineral resources, inclusive of the mineral reserves, of 3.14 million oz (56.7 million tonnes at 1.72g/t Au).
Additional inferred mineral resources are 1.64 million oz (29.59 million tonnes at 1.72g/t Au).
Marathon's share price was C$1.64 (US$1.27) on June 15. The company has a market capitalization of C$418.92 million.