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Mining the Northwest: Marathon mine developer stockpiling cash for 2023 construction start

Generation Mining deposits another $20 million from project financing deal
Generation Mining drill site 1
Drill site at the Marathon Project (Generation Mining photo)

Generation Mining is filling the strong box as preparations continue for the anticipated construction start next year of its $1.1-billion palladium and copper mine near Marathon.

The company announced this week that it’s received a second tranche of $20 million from Wheaton Precious Metals as part of the streaming deal the two companies signed earlier this year.

The proposed Marathon open-pit mine project holds an estimated 4.2 million ounces of palladium and 1.1 billion pounds of copper. But there are other metals in the mix that can be sold as by-products in return for mine financing.

Wheaton plans to pay Gen Mining a total of $240 million, through a series of installments, in return for all of the gold production and 22 per cent of the platinum production from the project. Gen Mining received the first $20 million at the end of March.

The remainder of the $200 million from Wheaton will incrementally arrive during construction, subject to various conditions being satisfied.

If all goes according to plan, Gen Mining aims to break ground sometime during the first quarter of 2023.

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The main deposit is situated 10 kilometres north of the town of Marathon. The company’s property surrounds the local airport.

The Marathon Project holds the promise of offering more than 1,000 construction jobs to the area and 400 permanent mining jobs over a projected 13-year mine life.

Gen Mining is currently waiting on regulatory approval from the federal government by November. After that, the company will be applying for provincial permits. That process should take three months.

There’s additional project financing waiting in the wings. The company said this summer that there’s the potential to access US$400 million from commercial lenders, pending the receipt of government permits.

“On our path towards the permitting and construction of the Marathon Project, one of North America’s largest undeveloped critical mineral deposits, this represents a significant funding milestone,” said Generation Mining president-CEO Jamie Levy in a Sept. 8 news release.

“We are pleased and gratified to have gained the confidence and financial support of Wheaton’s highly skilled management, technical and investment teams.”

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On the ground, Gen Mining has been making other preparations by purchasing a workers accommodation camp in town that was used during construction of the East-West Tie transmission line.

The company also spent US$12 million this summer to buy two surplus crushing and grinding mills from a Nevada miner.

Mine production at Marathon will amount to 245,000 ounces of palladium a year that 13-year time frame as well as produce 40 million pounds of copper a year. The mine plan is to target the palladium first to capitalize on high palladium prices.

Gen Mining is steadily checking off the other milestone boxes with impact benefit agreements expected to be signed soon with area First Nations.