Marathon Gold said that its fully-owned Valentine gold project in central Newfoundland, Canada continues to be on schedule to achieve its first gold production in Q1 2025.

According to the Canada-based gold company, the overall completion of the open-pit project stands at 27% compared to a plan of 26% at the end of the first quarter.

The engineering, procurement, and construction phases at the Valentine project are 71%, 51%, and 9% complete, respectively.

Early works at the Valentine gold project began in October 2022, which was followed by the major construction mobilisation in January 2023.

Marathon Gold said that the capital expenses incurred from the commencement of early works to the end of March 2023 were C$64m ($47.4m) with C$144m ($106.7m) committed.

As of 31 October 2022, the cost to complete the open-pit gold project in Newfoundland including contingency was estimated at C$463m ($343m), which has come down to C$403m ($299m) at 31 March 2023.

The mining in the Leprechaun pit began on project start-up last October to deliver waste rock material for the construction of pads and haul roads, said the gold company.

The formal decision to continue with the construction of the Valentine project was taken by Marathon Gold in September 2022.

It followed the completion of the project’s environmental assessments, an updated cost to complete the assessment, and an evaluation of the merits of the overall investment.

Marathon Gold president and CEO Matt Manson said: “The first quarter of 2023 represented the first full quarter of principal construction at the Valentine Gold Project.

“We are pleased with the progress we have made to date, in particular with mining productivity at the Leprechaun pit and the progress of earthworks at the future process plant site.

“At time of writing, we are preparing for the full occupation of our new permanent camp and the commencement of concrete foundation work at the mill.”

With series of mineralised deposits along a 20km trend, the Valentine gold project is an open pit mining and conventional milling operation with a mine life of 14.3 years.

The Canadian gold project is expected to produce an average of 195,000 ounces per year of gold for the first 12 years.