It’s a gold mine: Toronto company gets green light for central Newfoundland mining project

On the Marathon Gold Corporation’s website, there is a gallery of photos showing visible gold flecks observed at its proposed mining location. (Marathon Gold Corporation)

The provincial government is giving the go-ahead to a proposed gold mine in central Newfoundland that is being touted as potentially the largest in Atlantic Canada and a “significant contributor” to the province’s economy.

Industry Minister Andrew Parsons made the announcement Thursday in the House of Assembly.

“The Valentine gold project in central Newfoundland has been released from the provincial government’s environmental assessment and the project is approved to proceed,” Parsons said.

The Marathon Gold Corporation, based in Toronto, is the company behind the mine, proposed to set up shop just south of Buchans near Red Indian Lake.

The company says it expects to create about 11,000 person years of employment in the province and employ an average of more than 400 people annually.

“This will result in the generation of approximately $750 million in income to workers and businesses located within our province,” said Parsons.

Parsons said the initial capital investment is estimated at $305 million, while total investment over the life of the mine is estimated at $662 million. He said Marathon estimates the project will contribute $2.9 billion to the provincial GDP and about $400 million in incremental revenues to the provincial treasury.

“This is a significant project that will provide numerous economic benefits to central Newfoundland and the entire province,” he said.

“Our mining industry experienced a record-breaking 2021 in terms of exploration expenditures and value of mineral shipments. Our government fully recognizes that the economic potential of the mining industry is critical for our province and we will continue to support its growth.”

Support from across the floor

The announcement on Thursday garnered support from the opposition.

Terra Nova PC MHA Lloyd Parrott said Thursday’s approval was great news for the province.

“My caucus colleagues and I have met with representatives from Marathon Gold on numerous occasions. Their passion for growing our province and for being a strong corporate citizen is indeed infectious,” Parrott said.

“I look forward to hearing about job postings, site constructions and first gold in the not too distant future.”

Marathon Gold is planning to set the Valentine mine project in central Newfoundland. (Valentine Goldmine)

Labrador West NDP MHA Jordan Brown said a new mining industry opportunity is a welcome announcement for workers and their communities.

“Our hope is that the project, and all new industry development, utilizes the world’s leading innovation and technologies like the transitions we’re seeing in Labrador west that secure jobs, add value to the resource mind and to the global market and respects the environment ,” he said.

Long list of conditions

The project’s approval comes with a long list of terms and conditions.

Marathon must adhere to all mitigation, monitoring and commitments in the environmental impact statement and submit an environmental protection plan for the provincial government’s approval before construction starts. The work site also has to include a real-time water resources monitoring network comprising water quantity, quality, climate and groundwater monitoring stations.

Marathon must also implement, review and update a caribou protection and environmental effects monitoring plan in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture. The review should happen twice a year, according to a government media release, and before each caribou migration.

Marathon also has to hire one full-time environmental ecologist and one full-time environmental effects monitor to report to the department for all phases of the project.

The facility must operate in a manner “consistent with the management of greenhouse gas best available control technology requirements” and the company must also provide funding for three graduate students over all phases of the project to study specific and cumulative project effects.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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