07:15:07 EDT Mon 25 May 2020
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Marathon Gold Corp
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Close 2020-04-06 C$ 1.25
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Marathon Gold's Valentine PFS pegs NPV at $472M

2020-04-06 08:00 ET - News Release

Mr. Matt Manson reports

MARATHON GOLD ANNOUNCES POSITIVE PRE-FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR THE VALENTINE GOLD PROJECT

Marathon Gold Corp. has released the results of the prefeasibility study (PFS) for the Valentine gold project in central Newfoundland. The PFS supports an open-pit mining operation with low initial capital cost and high rate of return over a 12-year mine life. Highlights of the PFS are as follows:

  • After-tax IRR (internal rate of return) of 36 per cent and NPV5 (net present value at a 5-per-cent discount) of $472-million ($354-million (U.S.)) based on $1,350 (U.S.) per ounce gold, increasing to 49 per cent and $671-million ($503-million (U.S.)) at $1,550 (U.S.) per ounce gold;
  • Initial capital cost (capex) of $272-million ($205-million (U.S.)) yielding a favourable after-tax NPV5/capex ratio of 1.74. Life-of-mine (LOM) capital of $545-million ($409-million (U.S.));
  • After-tax payback of 1.8 years; 12-year mine life, with average gold production of 175,000 ounces/year in years 1 to 9 from the processing of high-grade mill feed, and 54,000 ounces/year in years 10 to 12 from the processing of low-grade stockpile;
  • LOM average total cash costs of $633 (U.S.)/ounce and all-in sustaining costs of $739 (U.S.)/oz;
  • Proven and probable mineral reserves of 1.87 million ounces (41.05 million tonnes at 1.41 g/t Au);
  • Mill capacity of 6,800 tonnes per day (2.5 million tonnes per annum) during years 1 to 3 based on gravity leaching, expanding to 11,000 tpd (4.0 mtpa) in year 4 based on gravity flotation leaching with LOM average gold recovery of 93 per cent;
  • Simplified execution strategy based on open-pit mining, conventional milling and thickened tailings deposition, with no heap leaching.

Matt Manson, president and chief executive officer, commented: "The Valentine prefeasibility study released today presents a high-value, low-capex project with a strong gold production profile and high operating margins. We have taken the approach of identifying the optimum starting point for mining at Valentine, emphasizing highest rate of return and lowest risk, while recognizing that the large resource inventory and extensive exploration potential along strike and at depth offers plenty of opportunity for mine life extension. Our mill expansion strategy is supported by internal cash flow using a conservative gold price assumption, and the project carries strong project financing attributes, including a fast payback." Mr. Manson continued: "The Valentine project is expected to be Atlantic Canada's largest gold producer. Notwithstanding the current COVID-19 challenges, it represents the future of responsible resource development in central Newfoundland. With a strong treasury in hand ($28-million as of Dec. 31, 2019) our attention now turns to the submission of our environmental impact statement, expected later this year, and the commencement of feasibility-level studies."

Valentine gold project prefeasibility

The PFS was completed by Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc. as lead consultant. Moose Mountain Technical Services acted as mining consultant, Apex Geoscience Ltd. as geological consultant, Golder Associates Ltd. as tailings consultant, Stantec Consulting Ltd. as environmental consultant and Terrane Geoscience Inc. as geotechnical consultant. The Valentine gold project mineral resource estimate (see Marathon Gold news release dated Jan. 20, 2020) was prepared by John T. Boyd Company. The mineral reserve estimate was prepared by Moose Mountain Technical Services. Key results and assumptions used in the Valentine gold project PFS are summarized in the associated table.

                SUMMARY OF KEY RESULTS AND ASSUMPTIONS IN THE PREFEASIBILITY STUDY

Production data                                                                 Values                Units

                                                         Life of mine               12                years
                                       processing years 1-3 (phase 1)      6,800 (2.5)           tpd (mtpa)
                                      processing years 4-12 (phase 2)     11,000 (4.0)           tpd (mtpa)
                                                       recovered gold             1.73                  moz
                                                average gold recovery              93%
                              total mined tonnes (including prestrip)              353                   mt
                                                  total milled tonnes               41                   mt
                                                  overall strip ratio              7.6            waste:ore
Years 1-5: payback
and expansion phase                    average annual gold production              170                  koz
                                              average mill feed grade             2.01                  g/t
                              annual average after-tax free cash flow              $86                   $M
Years 1-9: main phase                  average annual gold production              175                  koz
                                              average mill feed grade             1.74                  g/t
                              annual average after-tax free cash flow             $102                   $M
Years 1-12: including
low-grade stockpile                    average annual gold production              145                  koz
                                              average mill feed grade             1.41                  g/t
                              annual average after-tax free cash flow              $84                   $M

Capital costs                                                                   Values                Units

                                                      initial capital             $272                   $m
                                                    expansion capital              $42                   $m
                           LOM sustaining capital (excluding salvage)             $231                   $M
                                                    LOM total capital             $545                   $m
                          contingency (included in all capital items)              15%

Operating costs                                                                 Values                Units

                                             mining (per t mined) (1)            $2.51                  $/t
                                                mining (per t milled)           $20.88                  $/t
                                            processing (per t milled)           $11.26                  $/t
                                                   G&A (per t milled)            $2.27                  $/t
                                  total operating cost (per t milled)           $34.40                  $/t
                                               refining and transport            $2.57                 $/oz
                                                LOM average cash cost             $633                 $/oz
                               LOM average all-in sustaining cost (2)             $739                 $/oz
                               capital intensity (initial capital/oz)             $118                 $/oz

Financial analysis                                                              Values                Units

                         gold price assumption for financial analysis           $1,350                  US$
                                                      US$:C$ exchange             0.75
                                                         pretax NPV5%             $752                   $M
                                                           pretax IRR            45.1%
                                                       pretax payback              1.6                years
                                                      after-tax NPV5%             $472                   $M
                                                        after-tax IRR            36.2%
                                                    after-tax payback              1.8                years
                                                            royalties             1.5%
                                      pretax unlevered free cash flow           $1,115                   $M
                                   after-tax unlevered free cash flow             $710                   $M
                                              effective cash tax rate              29%

Notes
(1) Based on total material moved, excluding prestrip.
(2) AISC includes total cash costs and sustaining capital, including 
expansion and closure costs. Excludes salvage and corporate G&A. 

Mining

The PFS contemplates open-pit mining from the Marathon and Leprechaun deposits only. Ore with a cut-off grade of 0.70 gram per tonne gold will be prioritized for mill processing, initially at 6,800 tonnes per day, or 2.5 million tonnes per annum, and then at 11,000 tpd, or 4.0 mtpa, following mill expansion. Ore between 0.70 g/t and 0.33 g/t Au will be stockpiled for processing at the end of the mine life.

The open pits have been designed and scheduled to maximize project rate of return. Each deposit will be developed in three phases, with the Marathon pit achieving a maximum dimension of 1,250 m by 700 m by 294 m deep, and the Leprechaun pit achieving 1,050 m by 650 m by 306 m deep. LOM strip ratios will be 6.7 at Marathon, 9.1 at Leprechaun and 7.6 over all. Benches will be mined by conventional drill/blast/load/haul methods on six m bench heights with eight m wide berms every third bench. Dual-lane haul road allowances will support a diesel-powered mining fleet that will include 32 90-tonne payload trucks operating between the two open pits.

Mineral reserve estimate, effective April 6, 2020

Proven and probable mineral reserves are derived from the measured and indicated mineral resources utilizing Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Definition Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves (2014).

Total proven and probable mineral reserves are estimated at 1.87 million ounces (41.05 million tonnes at 1.41 g/t Au) utilizing a cut-off of 0.33 g/t Au. Mineral reserves with a 0.70 g/t Au cut-off, at 1.61 million ounces (25.29 million tonnes at 1.98 g/t Au), are scheduled for priority processing in the mine plan.

                                          PROVEN AND PROBABLE MINERAL RESERVES

                                 Diluted    In situ                                        Diluted         In situ
             Category   Tonnes     grade       gold                    Category   Tonnes     grade            gold 
                 (mt)           (g/t Au)   (moz Au)                                 (mt)  (g/t Au)        (moz Au)
Marathon
deposit        proven    17.86      1.41       0.81        high grade    proven    16.62      2.11            1.13
             probable     7.59      1.21       0.30       (+0.70 g/t)  probable     8.68      1.74            0.49
                total    25.45      1.35       1.10                       total    25.29      1.98            1.61
Leprechaun
deposit        proven     8.40      1.75       0.47         low grade    proven     9.65      0.50            0.16
             probable     7.20      1.25       0.29 (+0.33/-0.70 g/t)  probable     6.11      0.50            0.10
                total    15.60      1.52       0.76                       total    15.76      0.50            0.26
                total    41.05      1.41       1.87                       total    41.05      1.41            1.87

Notes to the mineral reserves
(1) The mineral reserve estimate has been prepared by an independent qualified person Marc Schulte, PEng, of 
Moose Mountain Technical Services, with an effective date of April 6, 2020.
(2) The mineral reserves are based on the mineral resource estimate effective Jan. 10, 2020 (see news release 
dated Jan. 20, 2020).
(3) The mineral reserves are based on engineering and technical information developed at a prefeasibility level 
for the Marathon and Leprechaun deposits.
(4) Mineral reserves are mined tonnes and grade, referenced to the mill feed at the crusher. This mill feed 
includes estimates of mining dilution and recovery factor.
(5) Mineral reserves are reported at a cut-off grade of 0.33 g/t Au, based on a $1,300-(U.S.)-per-ounce gold 
price, 0.75 U.S. dollar:Canadian dollar exchange rate, 99.9 per cent payable gold, $2.57 per ounce refining 
and transport costs, 85-per-cent process recovery at cut-off, $12.40/t process costs, $1.90/t G&A costs, and 
$1.50/t stockpile rehandle costs.
(6) The estimate of mineral reserves may be materially affected by environmental, permitting, legal, title, 
socio-political, marketing or other relevant issues, including risks set forth in Marathon's annual information 
form for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019, and other filings made with Canadian securities regulatory authorities 
and available at SEDAR. 
(7) Columns may not sum exactly due to rounding.

Mine planning and mineral reserves use block dimensions of six m by six m by six m with whole block dilution after reblocking the mineral resource model, which has been subblocked at a two m by two m by two m minimum block size. Mining dilution of 22 per cent and loss of 3 per cent is introduced. Ore blocks surrounded by waste on all sides, and blocks surrounded by waste on three sides with a grade of less than 0.5 g/t Au are also treated as waste. This yields an additional mining recovery loss of 5 per cent by tonnage and 2 per cent by gold content. Inferred mineral resources of 270,000 ounces (8.07 million tonnes at 1.05 g/t Au) that are within the open pits are treated as waste and excluded from the economic analysis.

Processing and recovery

The PFS contemplates an initial milling strategy based on grinding to 75 micrometres followed by gravity concentration and cyanidation of gravity concentrates and tails (gravity leaching). Grinding will be by way of an SAG (semi-autogenous grinding) mill and a ball mill. Processing capacity in phase 1 will be 6,800 tpd (2.5 mtpa).

The mill will be expanded in year 4 by coarsening the initial grind to 150 micrometres and adding flotation and regrinding of the flotation concentrates, followed by cyanidation (gravity flotation leaching). No additional grinding equipment will be required for this expansion phase. Processing capacity in phase 2 will be 11,000 tpd (four mtpa). The PFS incorporates scheduled ramp-ups to 1.9 mtpa in year 1 and 3.3 mtpa in year 4.

Process design has been supported by a metallurgical testwork program conducted by the company under the supervision of John Goode, including studies in mineralogy, comminution, gravity concentration, flotation, leaching and cyanide destruction. This work has been performed by a variety of third party laboratories starting in 2010 and with a focus on the specific PFS scope since 2018.

Overall gold recovery is estimated at 93 per cent at an average grade of 1.41 g/t Au (85 per cent at cut-off grade and capped at 97 per cent). Phase 1 gravity leaching has the advantage of a lower initial capital cost but at an average $3/t higher operating cost and an estimated 0.6-per-cent lower recoveries. Phase 2 gravity flotation leaching allows for higher throughput, with an estimated $42-million of expansion capital, at a lower average operating cost and higher recovery.

Capital and operating costs

Capital costs have a basis of estimate at Class 4 (FEL2) with a stated plus/minus-25-per-cent accuracy (after the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International) and are stated in Q1 2020 Canadian dollars. All capital items are estimated with a uniform 15-per-cent contingency. More than 80 per cent of equipment costs and bulk materials are estimated with budget quotes from vendors, with smaller items priced from precedent projects. Certain commodity estimates are derived from material takeoffs. Growth factors of up to 10 per cent have been applied on an item-by-item basis. Mobile equipment is assumed to be lease financed with associated costs contained within sustaining capital estimates.

Capital costs of $42-million for the phase 2 (gravity flotation leaching) expansion of the mill are expected to be financed internally out of cash flow at the base case gold price assumption of $1,350 (U.S.) per ounce.

Mine operating costs are estimated at $2.51/t mined or $20.88/t milled (LOM) based on an annual average mining rate of 38.0 million tonnes. Mining costs reflect the relatively high strip ratios of 6.7 and 9.1 in the Marathon and Leprechaun pits, respectively, and short haul distances for waste. Process-related costs are estimated at $11.26/t milled and G&A at $2.27/t milled, for total site costs of $34.40/t milled. Bullion transport and refinery charges are estimated at $2.57/ounce. Over all, the unit costs are consistent with similar scale projects elsewhere in Canada. Diesel costs are estimated at $1.09/litre and power at 5.9 cents per kilowatt-hour.

                       CAPITAL COSTS
Item                                            Cost ($M)

Prestrip mining capex                                 $25
Mining capex                                          $23
Construction indirects                                 $7
Mill process facility                                 $61
Reagents and plant services                           $12
Infrastructure                                        $73
Management and owner costs                            $36
Contingency                                           $35
Total initial capital                                $272
Mill expansion                                        $36
Contingency                                            $5
Mill expansion capital                                $42
Sustaining capital, mining                           $142
Sustaining capital, infrastructure                    $37
Closure                                               $35
Salvage (loss)                                       $(13)
Contingency                                           $30
Total sustaining capital                             $231
Total                                                $545
                                              
Notes                                          
(1) Columns may not sum exactly due to rounding. 
                                                
                                   OPERATING COSTS
Item                                                 Value                 Units

Tonnes mined, years 1-12                               342                    mt
Tonnes milled, years 1-12                               41                    mt
Payable ounces                                        1.73                   moz
Mining costs                                          $857                    $M
                                                     $2.51         $/tonne mined
                                                    $20.88        $/tonne milled
Processing and water treatment                        $462                    $M
                                                    $11.26        $/tonne milled
G&A                                                    $93                    $M
                                                     $2.27        $/tonne milled
Total                                               $1,412                    $M
                                                    $34.40        $/tonne milled
Off-site costs, refining and transport                  $4                    $M
Royalties                                              $47                    $M
Total cash costs                                      $633                US$/oz
Sustaining capital (excluding salvage)                $244                    $M
Total AISC (2)                                        $739                US$/oz

Notes
(1) Columns may not sum exactly due to rounding. 
(2) AISC includes cash costs and sustaining capital, including expansion 
and closure costs. Excludes salvage and corporate G&A. 

Financial analysis

At a $1,350 (U.S.) gold price and a U.S. dollar:Canadian dollar exchange of 0.75 the project generates an after-tax net present value (NPV) of $472-million, at a 5-per-cent discount rate, and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 36.2 per cent based on an effective cash tax rate of 29 per cent. Payback on initial capital is 1.8 years. Before taxes, NPV5 is $752-million, IRR is 45.1 per cent and payback is 1.6 years. The project's valuation is discounted to Dec. 31, 2021.

A 1.5-per-cent net smelter royalty (NSR) is applied to all gold production. In February, 2019, the company sold a 2-per-cent net smelter return royalty on the Valentine gold project to Franco-Nevada Corp. The PFS assumes the exercise of a right in favour of the company to repurchase 0.5 per cent of the NSR for $7-million (U.S.) prior to Dec. 31, 2022, the cost of which is excluded from the project-level economic analysis.

The project is most sensitive to revenue attributes such as gold price, head grade and exchange rate, followed by operating cost and capital cost. At $1,550 (U.S.)/ounce gold the project generates an after-tax IRR of 49 per cent. Importantly, in a downside scenario, the project generates a 15-per-cent after-tax IRR at a gold price of $1,075 (U.S.)/ounce, more than $500 (U.S.)/ounce below the current spot price.

    AFTER-TAX VALUATION SENSITIVITY TO CERTAIN OPERATING PARAMETERS (NPV5, $M)

Factor                             -20%       -10%         0%        10%        20%

Head grade 
IRR                               15.4%      26.6%      36.2%      44.8%      53.1%
NPV                                $156       $326       $472       $607       $739
Operating cost 
IRR                               44.2%      40.3%      36.2%      31.7%      27.3%
NPV                                $596       $536       $472       $405       $338
Capital cost 
IRR                               48.2%      41.5%      36.2%      32.0%      28.4%
NPV                                $525       $499       $472       $446       $419
Mining cost ($/t mined) 
IRR                               41.8%      39.0%      36.2%      33.1%      30.1%
NPV                                $549       $511       $472       $430       $388

          AFTER-TAX VALUATION SENSITIVITIES TO THE GOLD PRICE AT AN EXCHANGE OF 0.75

Gold price (US$/oz)             $1,050    $1,150    $1,250    $1,350    $1,450    $1,550    $1,650

NPV (C$M)                 0%      $242      $415      $569      $710      $844      $975    $1,105
                          3%      $159      $306      $437      $555      $668      $778      $887
                          5%      $115      $248      $366     $ 472      $573      $671      $769
                          8%       $61      $177      $278      $370      $457      $541      $625
                         10%       $32      $138      $231      $315      $393      $470      $546
                         15%      -$23       $63      $139      $207      $270      $331      $392
IRR                              12.7%     21.5%     29.3%    36.2 %     42.7%     48.8%     55.0%
NPV 5%/capex                       0.4       0.9       1.3       1.7       2.1       2.5       2.8
Payback                years       7.0       5.0       3.6       1.8       1.6       1.4       1.3
   
Notes
(1) Payback is defined as achieving cumulative positive free cash flow 
after all cash costs and capital costs, including sustaining and expansion.
                                                                                                                                               

Infrastructure and facilities

In addition to the mill and tailings management facility (TMF), on-site infrastructure includes maintenance and office facilities, a 300-person accommodation camp, a waste water treatment plant, ditching and sedimentation ponds for water management, and site roads. Cost provision has been made for the upgrading and widening of the current 80 km long access road from Millertown via Red Indian Lake. Electrical power to site is to be supplied by NL Hydro with a 30 km long 66-kilovolt transmission line from the Star Lake hydroelectric generating station with backup on-site diesel generators. Peak power demand for phase 1 mill processing at the project (gravity leach) is estimated at 18 megawatts, increasing to 22 megawatts following the phase 2 mill expansion (gravity flotation leaching).

Environment, permitting and social acceptability

The Valentine gold project is subject to regulation under the environmental protection regimes of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Environmental Protection Act. Marathon filed a project description with both the Impact Assessment Agency (IAA, formerly the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) and the NL Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment (NLDMAE) on April 5, 2019, which was accepted into the formal environmental assessment (EA) process on April 16, 2019. Both the IAA and the NLDMAE issued a determination requiring a project environmental impact statement (EIS) and EIS guidelines have now been published by both parties.

The EIS is expected to be filed with the regulators in the third quarter of 2020, and will describe the environmental, social and economic impacts of the scope of project outlined in the PFS. The site layout allows for waste rock storage facilities adjacent to the Marathon and Leprechaun open pits, and a TMF that avoids areas of known fish habitat. The TMF will employ a thickened tailings deposition strategy with a water treatment plant and polishing pond, following a trade-off study of alternative deposition techniques. The TMF has also been successfully located in an area downstream of the Victoria reservoir and the associated Victoria dam. Waste rock and tailings geochemical characterization studies indicate very low likelihood for acid rock drainage or metal leaching from either the waste rock storage facilities or tailings. The TMF will receive thickened tailings from the mill between years 1 and 9, with the mined-out Leprechaun open pit scheduled to receive tailings starting in year 10. Effluent and contact water from the TMF, waste rock piles, and open pits will be collected and, if necessary, treated prior to release. A mitigation strategy will be developed for seasonal caribou migration, which occurs in the spring and fall within the eastern area of the property.

In support of the EA process and the future development and operation of the project, Marathon has also initiated formal stakeholder engagement with the communities of Buchans, Buchans Junction, Millertown, Badger, Bishop's Falls and Grand Falls-Windsor, the Qalipu and Miawpukek (Conne River) first nations and other interested parties. The PFS estimates maximum employment of 404 persons during construction and 426 persons during operations, and over $100-million of annual average purchasing of goods and services.

Project schedule

The Valentine gold project PFS contemplates completion of a feasibility study in the first half of 2021, completion of the EA and ministerial approval by mid-2021, and the commencement of site-specific permitting thereafter. Groundbreaking for site construction is scheduled for Jan. 1, 2022, with a total 18-month construction period and first gold production by mid-2023. The reader is cautioned that the time frames contained within the PFS have been estimated without consideration of potential impacts from the continuing COVID-19 challenges, such as disruption to supply chains, labour markets, work practices and permitting, among other factors.

Mineral resource estimate, effective Jan. 10, 2020

The updated mineral resource estimate was authored by John T. Boyd Company utilizing Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Definition Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves (2014). Peer review and risk analysis were completed by RPA Inc., who determined that the mineral resource models as presented for both the Leprechaun and Marathon deposits were reasonable over all.

Total project measured and indicated mineral resources, which are inclusive of the mineral reserves, are 3.09 million ounces (54.9 million tonnes at 1.75 g/t Au). Additional inferred mineral resources are 960,000 (16.77 million tonnes at 1.78 g/t Au).

          MEASURED AND INDICATED MINERAL RESOURCES BY DEPOSIT

                     Category       Tonnes         Grade              Gold
                                      (mt)      (g/t Au)          (moz Au)

Marathon             measured        23.15          1.73              1.29
                    indicated        13.04          1.52              0.64
                    total M&I        36.20          1.65              1.92
Leprechaun           measured         8.53          2.23              0.61
                    indicated         8.37          1.73              0.47
                    total M&I        16.90          1.99              1.08
Victory              measured            -             -                 -
                    indicated         1.08          1.47              0.05
                    total M&I         1.08          1.47              0.05
Sprite               measured            -             -                 -
                    indicated         0.68          1.77              0.04
                    total M&I         0.68          1.77              0.04
All deposits         measured        31.69          1.86              1.90
                    indicated        23.17          1.60              1.19
                    total M&I        54.85          1.75              3.09

                       INFERRED MINERAL RESOURCES BY DEPOSIT
  
                            Category        Tonnes              Grade            Gold
                                              (mt)           (g/t Au)        (moz Au)

Marathon                    inferred         10.57               1.96            0.67
Leprechaun                  inferred          2.86               1.67            0.15
Victory                     inferred          2.14               1.31            0.09
Sprite                      inferred          1.19               1.29            0.05
All deposits          total inferred         16.77               1.78            0.96

Notes to the mineral resources
(1) The mineral resource has an effective date of Jan. 10, 2020.
(2) Mineral resources are based on $1,300/ounce gold with an exchange rate of 0.75.
(3) In-pit mineral resources have been determined by the Whittle method based on an 
estimate of their reasonable prospects for economic extraction, using certain 
assumptions for gold recovery, costs for mining, processing and sale.
(4) The mineral resources were estimated using a block model with a block size of 
six m by six m by six m subblocked to a minimum block size of two m by two m by two 
m using ID3 methods for grade estimation. All mineral resources are reported using 
an open-pit gold cut-off of 0.300 g/t Au and an underground gold cut-off of 1.663 
g/t Au. 
(5) The reader is reminded that mineral resources which are not mineral reserves 
do not have demonstrated economic viability. The estimate of mineral resources may 
be materially affected by environmental, permitting, legal, title, socio-political, 
marketing, or other relevant issues including risks set forth in Marathon's annual 
information form for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019, and other filings made with 
Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available at SEDAR.
(6) Mineral resources are inclusive of the mineral reserves. 
(7) Columns may not sum exactly due to rounding.

NI 43-101 technical report

Marathon will file an updated technical report prepared in accordance with the requirements of National Instrument 43-101 -- Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects for the Valentine gold project PFS including a description of the updated mineral resource estimate.

Marathon has prepared a presentation with further technical information regarding the prefeasibility study results, which is available on the company's website.

Qualified persons

Disclosure of a scientific or technical nature in this news release has been approved by Robbert Borst, CEng, chief operating officer of Marathon Gold. Mr. Borst has verified the data disclosed including sampling, analytical and test data underlying the information contained in this news release. This included a site inspection, drill database verification and independent analytical testwork.

The qualified person responsible for the preparation of the January, 2020, Valentine gold project mineral resource estimate is Robert Farmer, PEng, of John T. Boyd Company. The qualified person responsible for the preparation of the mineral reserves and mine planning is Marc Schulte, PEng, of Moose Mountain Technical Services. Roy Eccles, PGeol, of Apex Geoscience Ltd. is the qualified person responsible for geological technical information including a quality assurance/quality control review of drilling and sampling data used in the mineral resource estimate. Paul Staples, PEng, of Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc. is the qualified person responsible for the design of the process plant and infrastructure and financial modelling. Peter Merry, PEng, of Golder Associates Ltd. is the qualified person responsible for design of the TMF and water management infrastructure. Sheldon Smith, PGeo, of Stantec Consulting Ltd. is the qualified person responsible for site water balance and surface water management. Each of Mr. Farmer, Mr. Eccles, Mr. Staples, Mr. Schulte, Mr. Merry and Mr. Smith are considered to be independent of Marathon and the Valentine gold project for purposes of NI 43-101.

Acknowledgments

Marathon acknowledges the financial support of the junior exploration assistance program, Department of Natural Resources, and government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

About Marathon Gold Corp.

Marathon is a Toronto-based gold company advancing its 100-per-cent-owned Valentine gold project, located in central Newfoundland and Labrador, one of the top mining jurisdictions in the world. The Valentine gold project comprises a series of mineralized deposits along a 20-kilometre system of gold-bearing quartz-tourmaline-pyrite veins. The project is accessible by a year-round road and is in close proximity to the provincial electrical grid. To date, four gold deposits have been delineated, including the large Leprechaun and Marathon deposits.

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