A base metal deposit outside the town of Marathon has the potential to be an open-pit mine.
Toronto’s Generation Mining is placing a 14-year mine life on its Marathon Palladium and Copper Project after releasing the results of a favourable preliminary economic assessment (PEA).
The company bills the deposit as North America’s largest undeveloped platinum group metal (PGM) mineral resource.
Once known as the Marathon PGM property, the 22,000-hectare parcel of land is 10 kilometres from the community near the north shore of Lake Superior, and has seen a plenty of exploration activity over the years by a succession of companies.
According to a Jan. 6 news release, the proposed mine and processing mill would produce an average of 107,000 ounces of palladium annually from three pits over its production life, not including some copper, platinum, gold and silver.
The operation would create jobs for 312, including those behind the wheel of 221-tonne capacity haul trucks and others operating shovels in the pits with 29 cubic metre buckets.
The all-in-sustaining cost is pegged at $US586 per ounce.
The three pits collectively contain 89.4 million tonnes of processing plant feed averaging 1.26 grams per tonne (g/t) of palladium, 0.22 per cent of copper, 0.21 g/t of platinum, and 1.52 g/t of gold.
“This study supports at a PEA level of confidence the company’s opinion that a low-cost operation is possible at the Marathon Deposit,” said Jamie Levy, Generation president-CEO, in a Jan.6 news release.
The economic analysis doesn’t include two additional deposits on the property which require additional study.
“With the consensus outlook for palladium and copper strong for the next several years, this is a project whose time has come,” said Executive Chairman Kerry Knoll.
“As governments world-wide continue to mandate a higher palladium load for environmental reasons in most automobiles and little new mine capacity being scheduled to come on stream, Generation Mining plans to fast-track a feasibility study and permitting, and expects 2020 to be a pivotal year in the company’s growth.”
The Trans-Canada Highway and a new 230-kilovolt power line – that’s part of the East-West Tie – cross the property. The town airport and the CPR main rail line is close by.
Generation acquired a 51 per cent interest in the property from Sibanye Stillwater in 2019 and can increase its ownership stake to 80 per cent by spending $10 million over a period of four years.
The company said more than $3 million of this has already been spent.
Since the project is located within the Robinson-Superior Treaty, the company said is recognizes the treaty rights of local Indigenous people and continues to meet regularly with area communities to include their feedback in the decision-making process.
The company also has a molybdenum property in British Columbia, zinc properties in Alberta and Nova Scotia, and a base metal play on the Arctic coast.