There’s gold in them there hills — and a bunch of companies are out to find it in central Newfoundland.
Right now mines, and prospective mines, from the Baie Verte Peninsula to the Gander area and as far south as Millertown are in various stages of production.
Of the mines on the cusp, Marathon Gold is the furthest along and the company hopes to break ground on construction by 2022.
These are mineral finds in that area of the province have been a big influence on other companies moving into the area hoping to find similar success.
“Our presence has opened up eyes for these types of deposits,” said Marathon Gold CEO Matt Manson.
All of that has people in the industry and the province looking to the future.
The Valentine Lake project is located 55 kilometres southwest of Millertown and includes four potential mining deposits.
When it is ready, the mine could mean over a decade of steady employment in the region and include hundreds of jobs.
“We’re going to be a big employer,” said Manson.
Marathon Gold is currently entering the public comment period for its environmental impact statement for the Valentine Lake project. As such, the company is asking stakeholders, the public and Indigenous groups to review the document and have their say. The public comment period is scheduled to end on Dec. 23.
Marathon has submitted its EIS and the document is open to public comments. Information attached!Posted by Marathon Gold Corporation on Friday, November 13, 2020
For this moment, at least, everything is falling into place for central Newfoundland and, by extension the province, to experience its own version of the gold rush.
Right now, there are 11 operational mines producing 14 metal and non-metal commodities spread throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
Of those, a handful are gold mines and there are several others in various stages.
“Clearly there is gold on the island,” said Joel Freudman, the president and CEO of TRU Precious Metals Corp.
The companies involved give a nod to the same triggers that have contributed to the boom in the region. They point to the price of gold oan international markets, the geology of the province and the efforts of the provincial governme nt to be welcoming partner with any current or future development.
According to the Business Insider, the price of gold is sitting at $1,888 an ounce making it a valuable commodity for those looking to get into the industry.
That plays favourably for that area in the province now being dubbed the Central Newfoundland Gold Belt.
It has companies looking into new claims and hoping to strike it big.
“This region is a good place to invest some money,” said Freudman.
TRU recently came into possession of a pair of properties in central Newfoundland and is looking for more.
It recently completed the indirect purchase of 65 mineral claims located in central Newfoundland known as the Twilite Gold Project. Located southwest of Grand Falls-Windsor, the project is similar to the nearby Moosehead Gold Project being completed by Sokomon Mineral Corp.
Moosehead is some 30 kilometres from the Twilite project.
The second property acquired by TRU is still in the early phase of exploration. Its Gander West property includes some 120 claims covering 3,000 hectares of prospective ground and is just 16 kilometres from New Found Gold Corp.’s Queensway Gold project.
Further to that, New Found Gold Corp recently discovered more gold as a part of its find, which is just west of Gander.
“We like the region and we know there is gold on the project,” said Freudman.
At the centre of this latest mining boom is gold and the geology of the province that makes the area a hive of activity.
“The rocks in central Newfoundland ... from just east of Gander to almost over to Deer Lake just have the right geology for it,” said Derek Wilton, a geologist and an honorary research professor at Memorial University. “You can’t have gold deposits without having the right rocks and the rocks are good.”
Wilton said gold is often in found in what is referred to as quartz veins, white rock that fill in fractures in older rock.
He said the presence of gold has been known in the region since the 1980s and the increase in prices recently have spurned plenty of interest as of late.
“You’ve got these really good fault systems in central Newfoundland that really help with this,” said Wilton.
The mining sector has been a focus of the provincial government. Since February 2017, the government has pumped upwards to $2.3 billion in capital investments and have seen the results of mining and quarrying contribute 6.4 per cent to the province’s GDP.
“It is a good time now for gold, for mining companies invested in gold and for central Newfoundland,” said Andrew Parsons, the provincial minister of industry, energy and technology.
While Parsons has only had the portfolio for a couple of months following a cabinet shuffle, he sees the benefits of the work that was done by the department prior to him coming on board. As a part of a mining development plan rolled out in 2018, the province mapped out a strategy that would see five new mines opened by 2030 and lead to direct sustainable employment for more than 6,200 people in operations.
The province wants to work together with these companies to make sure they’re headed in the right direction.
“It’s just exciting and it’s going to create employment, it’s going to create prosperity for the region, so there’s a lot of positives.” said Parsons.
That sense of optimism isn’t limited to government officials. It is also shared by the companies involved who hope produce those jobs.
“Newfoundland has become a hotbed (for mining),” Marathon’s Manson said.
Nicholas Mercer is a local journalism initiative reporter for central Newfoundland for SaltWire Network.
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