Marathon, Ont. — The company that’s been steering a potential palladium and copper mine just down the road from Marathon is soon to be solely in the project’s driver’s seat.
Toronto-based Generation Mining announced last week it has entered into an agreement with its heavy-weight financial partner — South-African miner Sibanye-Stillwater — to assume full control of the Marathon project.
“We have long aspired to own 100 per cent of this incredible project,” Generation Mining president Jamie Levy said in a news release.
“The (ownership) transaction gives us greater flexibility in all aspects of financing and developing the project, plus a larger exposure to the potential profits flowing from Marathon,” Levy added.
Under the proposed agreement, Sibanye-Stillwater would become Generation Mining’s largest shareholder with a 19-per-cent stake in the company, by tripling the amount of shares it owns to nearly 33 million.
The proposal still needs to be approved by the Toronto Stock Exchange.
In the same news release, Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive officer Neal Froneman said the agreement enables his company to keep a hand in the Marathon project.
“We believe that the exchange of our direct participation interest for an increased shareholding in Generation Mining is a positive step in providing Generation Mining with more flexibility at project level, while allowing us to retain exposure to the project as it advances to development,” Froneman said.
Also last week, the federal agency overseeing an environmental review of Generation Mining’s Marathon project announced that a required public hearing into the project will start on Feb. 15 and last up to 30 days.
Generation Mining has estimated that its proposed open-pit mine just north of Marathon’s airport would cost US$520 million to build.
If the mine is approved, it’s forecast to create about 400 direct jobs and operate for at least 13 years. Palladium is a key ingredient in the manufacture of pollution-control equipment in gas-powered cars and trucks.
According to a Generation Mining feasibility study, the Marathon project’s economics is predicated on the precious metal selling for US$1,725 per ounce. The commodity continued its slide on Monday, going for about $1,700.
Market analysts have blamed the price drop on sluggish automobile sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.