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Generation provides updates on Marathon mine project

Despite securing several permits and a portion of their funding, Generation Mining still faces key milestones needed to begin construction of its palladium-copper mine outside of Marathon. President Jamie Levy and Marathon's Mayor Rick Dumas spoke to Dougall Media about what the next steps look like.

MARATHON — The future looks bright for Generation Mining and its focus on palladium-copper.

Generation Mining Ltd. President Jamie Levy and Marathon’s Mayor Rick Dumas recently spoke with Dougall Media to provide residents of Marathon and nearby communities with an update on progress toward construction of Generation’s palladium-copper mine.

Levy began with reassurance the palladium-copper project is well on-track.

“Work is happening right now. We are doing an exploration program at the moment. We raised some money at the end of last year – some of that funding was flow-through – and we’re doing an 8,000 metre drill program testing some high priority targets which are predominantly more copper-based than what we normally find in our Marathon resource,” Levy said.

Mayor Dumas said the switch to a greater focus on copper makes sense given the recent fluctuation of the palladium market – but noted that despite a bit of pivoting, everything he’s hearing from Generation has been positive.

“They’re really excited about their drill program, they already know that they have a mine life. Obviously, palladium was what drove the project timelines a little further out because when they were going through the permitting process as well as environmental assessment, palladium was running around $17 or $1,800 an ounce. If you look at their feasibility study, that’s what it says: they need to be around that $17, $1,800 dollar target – not to make the mine work but to make it feasible for good payback and ensure there is profitability for the shareholders.

“Their number one concern is the community and working with our First Nations neighbours, but they’re also worried about their shareholders and what that looks like for them in regards to a return on investment. Everything’s positive, everything is working behind the scenes as they go forward,” he said.

Levy added that Generation is focusing on areas that are underdeveloped or overlooked when it comes to the sprawling 220,000 kilometre mine site.

“There’s lots of interest for copper right now and the previous operators before us – Sibayne-Stillwater – did very little exploration,” he said.

He confirmed the approval of Generation’s closure plan – outlining how the land will be rehabilitated once the mine runs its lifespan – in addition to several permits that they have successfully obtained including an endangered species permit received in August, an environmental compliance approval for air and emissions in September, and a tree-clearing permit in October.

However, there are still further permits and funding to lock down.

“We did receive those permits and we could actually do early work today but we’re waiting to get all of our permits before we do any work so we’re fully financed,” Levy said.

He noted Generation is hoping to obtain its next permits by the end of this summer or, at the very latest, the end of this year. Then, financing and construction are expected to follow.

In terms of financing, Levy said Generation is looking to draw from a number of sources including private equity, commercial banks, investment banks, and funding streams through the provincial and federal governments.

He said he expects the work Generation has been doing will become far more evident once they pull all of their funding avenues together and finalize all permits.

“We do have a team in Marathon and Toronto that are advancing our permitting, which is the focus of this project right now . . . the permitting is what we need to get done. A lot of people are fearful that we’re not going to get our permitting but they’re coming in – and the federal government, the provincial government we’re working very well with them. They’ve taken this project as a priority,” he said.

Dumas recognized Levy’s team is doing everything it can to secure their permits and also acknowledged residents’ concerns regarding the timeline of development.

“All those little things that are behind the scenes are being worked on by Generation – things that are probably frustrating for their team and also frustrating for us at a community level.

“Things are working out. I, personally, as the mayor of the community of Marathon, wish it would’ve happened yesterday, but I’m a realist and I know that they’ve got to do their due diligence. That’s going to take time and these things are a lot longer in the process than people would like but they’re working behind the scenes so we’re very excited about that. Jamie Levy keeps me updated as much as he can,” Dumas said.

And Levy wanted to make it known to residents of Marathon that he and his team are an open book.

“We have checked all the boxes, we’re making sure that we’re doing what’s right, and we’re working very well with both governments to make sure that they’re going to be able to regulate this project.

 “To the people of Marathon: we’re doing the best we can. We are working with the federal and provincial governments to get these permits – this is what’s holding us up more than the project financing . . . I would just say, call me, email me, whatever works best for you and I will give you the updates. I’m honest about everything that’s going on. We’re going to update the market when we do get these permits and we start to get more project financing advanced,” Levy said.

While he could not specify a date for the project’s groundbreaking, Levy suggested the earliest residents might see construction is in 2025.

He said with investors in Canada nervous about projects that proceed without all of their permits locked down, it just makes sense for Generation to follow-through with the process. Once the permitting phase is complete, then they can truly celebrate.

“I think the only way we could assure the investors is to say, ‘hey, here’s our license to go and construct.’ That’s what I want to start arm-waving in the third quarter, over the summertime, when we get that license and I think that’s going to make a huge difference for the town of Marathon, for the facility, the regional area – Thunder Bay all the way to Wawa. It’s going to be a huge win for the whole area,” he said.

Austin Campbell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Austin Campbell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Austin Campbell is a local journal initiative reporter covering stories in the Superior North region.
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