With mining majors suspending expansion plans, ramping down operations and temporarily closing down head offices in response to Covid-19, development and exploration companies are also taking precautionary measures to prevent the potential spread of the virus. At this time, these measures do not appear to have a major impact on project timelines for two pre-production companies focused on Eastern Canada.
Marathon Gold (TSX: MOZ), developing the Valentine gold project in Newfoundland, has announced that it will close its camp for an extended one-month spring break-up and maintenance period, two weeks earlier than typically planned. As Marathon considers the project a remote work environment, it has determined that the site would be unable to follow the required self-isolation and care management protocols should a member of the team show symptoms of Covid-19 at camp.
Marathon does not expect this early closure to materially impact its ability to complete the drilling planned for this year. Work is ongoing on a pre-feasibility study for Valentine, expected in the second quarter of this year. The company is completing a 44,000-metre exploration program at Valentine, as well as a site condemnation drill program. So far this year, it has drilled 9,554 metres in the Sprite corridor and Footwall Zone 1 and completed 21 holes over the area of the proposed waste rock dump for the Marathon deposit.
In January, the company updated the resources for its Valentine project.
Troilus Gold (TSX: TLG), focused on exploration at its Troilus gold-copper project in Quebec, has minimized non-essential activities onsite and closed its offices in Chibougamau and Toronto, with staff working from home. Work is ongoing remotely with additional exploration results pending from the Southwest zone, an area discovered in January, where Troilus recently completed a 5,000-metre drill program.
Additional compilation, test and design work is ongoing, which will be incorporated into a preliminary economic assessment of the project, expected this summer. Troilus does not expect the temporary site shutdown to impact this timeline.