Marathon Gold Corporation ("Marathon" or the "Company") announced today that it will receive research and development funding under the GeoEXPLORE program of the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador ("RDC") for metallurgical testing on mineralized material from the Leprechaun and Marathon Deposits at the Valentine Gold Camp.
The estimated cost of the project, which is being done in collaboration with Thibault & Associates Inc., is approximately $165,000, of which approximately $124,000 will be contributed by RDC.
The previous project, which was funded in part by financial assistance from RDC, successfully identified a preliminary process for treating the Leprechaun deposit including preconcentration to significantly reduce the size and cost of downstream process facilities. The total potential gold recoveries ranged from 92.8% to 95% and have yet to be fully optimized.
The 2016 metallurgical testing, which is underway and expected to be complete in the third quarter, has two objectives. The first part of the program will test a low-cost heap leach process for treating a portion of the lower-grade resources from both Leprechaun and Marathon deposits by directly leaching the crushed mineralized material. If acceptable gold extraction conditions can be developed for this process option, the potential advantage is a simple, low-cost extraction process that, in many cases, allows for processing of even lower gold cut-off grades from the resource, increasing the extractable gold from the deposit. The initial technology development for this project is based on developing the leaching chemistry at different crush sizes to determine the leaching kinetics, ultimate gold recoveries and reagent consumption rates.
The development of a metallurgical process for mineralized material from the Marathon Deposit, the second largest resource, is the second part of this project. The development of the process for the Marathon Deposit will build on the technology developed in 2014 for the Leprechaun deposit. Process flow sheet options include gravity recovery, flotation and cyanidation of the flotation concentrate and optionally the flotation tailings. Management expects that the successful development of a gold recovery process from the higher grade Marathon resource and the heap leaching of lower grade Marathon/Leprechaun resources will help reduce overall capital and operating costs at the project.
"Marathon Gold appreciates the continuing support that RDC has provided for the metallurgical testing. This support has helped us to significantly advance the technical merits of the project in these challenging times. We also appreciate the support we continue to receive through the Junior Exploration Program funded by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, which has added $100,000 a year to our exploration budgets for the last 5 years. It is really good to be operating in a province that is so supportive," commented Phillip Walford, President of Marathon. "If heap leaching is viable, it will have the potential to dramatically change the economics of the project by reducing capital costs and operational costs as well as lowering the cut-off grade, potentially resulting in more gold from the same-sized pit. This program will also confirm the viability of the Marathon gold mineralization for conventional gold extraction."