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Two northwestern Ontario mine project builders among the best in their field

Pure Gold's Mark O'Dea, Generation Mining's Phillip Walford to receive 2021 PDAC awards

Two mining executives with Northern Ontario connections have been recognized for their contributions to Canada's mineral exploration and mining industry.

Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) announced the winners this week in six categories for the upcoming PDAC 2021 Awards, the world's premier exploration and mining show, to be held virtually from March 8 to March 11.

Industry financier and geologist Mark O'Dea, a director with Pure Gold Mining, is receiving the Viola R. MacMillan Award given to recipients who demonstrate management leadership and in financing of exploration and resource development.

Over his career, O'Dea has taken several exploration projects from initial discovery through to the development and operational stage with a portfolio of mining companies worth $3 billion in shareholder value.

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The same year that he placed second in the 2001 Goldcorp Challenge, O'Dea launched his first company, Fronteer Gold. A decade later, he sold the company and its Long Canyon gold project in Nevada to Newmont Mining for US$2.3 billion.

O'Dea is the founder and chairman of Oxygen Capital, a platform to structure, finance, build, and manage mining companies.

One development in his stable is the PureGold Mine in Red Lake (the historic Madsen Mine property), expected to pour its first gold bar this month.

O'Dea is noted for his science-driven approach in identifying undervalued assets, his knack for assembling top-tier talent, while leveraging traditional and new avenues of finance to put projects into production, according to a PDAC news release.

Phillip Walford, now a director with Generation Mining, was named a co-recipient of the Bill Dennis Award for 2021 for his work in an East Coast discovery.

This award, named for a former president of PDAC, honours individuals who have made a significant mineral discovery and/or made an important contribution to the exploration side of the industry.

Walford is sharing the award with Sherry Dunsworth of Marathon Gold for the discovery and delineating of the Valentine gold project in Newfoundland, considered the largest undeveloped gold resource in Atlantic Canada.

Walford, who also serves on Generation Mining's technical team, is overseeing the development of the Marathon palladium-copper project in northwestern Ontario. The company has its sights set on building an open-pit palladium mine on the outskirts of the town of Marathon.

A decade ago, as president of Marathon PGM, Walford nurtured the project from the discovery stage through to a feasibility study prior to the project's takeover by Stillwater Mining Company in 2010. Gen Mining acquired a 51 per cent interest in the property from Sibanye Stillwater in 2019.

The high-grade W Horizon, which is part of the Main Zone deposit at the Marathon deposit, is named after Walford. The mine project is undergoing a second feasibility study due out in early 2021.

To view the award winners in the other categories, check out this link.