BISHOP'S FALLS, N.L. — Brad Cramm has spent much of the last decade travelling for work.
A heavy equipment operator by trade, he has worked jobs in Alberta and Labrador. He'd like to be able to work closer to home.
He was one of more than 50 people inside the Bishop’s Falls Lions Club on Feb. 7 for a public information session by Marathon Gold. It was held to update local citizens on the progress of its Valentine Lake operation in central Newfoundland.
The project is located 55 kilometres southwest of Millertown and includes four potential mining deposits.
“It sounds really positive,” said Cramm, who is from nearby Botwood. “It really seems like they’re trying to talk to the community.”
During the two-hour long presentation, Marathon Gold officials indicated the project could mean 600 or more new jobs in the region.
Cramm believes the jobs created could actually number in the thousands.
“That would impact this place a lot,” said Cramm. “There are a lot of people who have families and are gone away.
"Now, they could be home reasonably.”
The Bishop’s Falls session was one of several held by the company in the last week. Sessions were also held in Buchans, Millertown, Buchans Junction, Badger and Grand Falls-Windsor.
Each was well attended. The high school in Buchans brought in their students to hear the presentation.
“There is very strong support, I think, for what we are trying to achieve here which is the building of a responsible and large gold mining operation with a long potential mine life in the region,” Marathon Gold president Matt Manson told The Central Voice. “It’s been a good experience.”
Marathon Gold figures it could be a couple of years before they’re ready to start mining. When they do start, according to Manson, it is anticipated the mine will yield more than a decade of jobs in the region.
On Feb. 10, the provincial government approved the final environmental impact statement guidelines for the project. The statement, among other items, would highlight and summarize Marathon Gold's planned environmental management system and how they would make it a part of the Valentine Lake project.
“I’m hoping to see it come quicker than what they’re saying,” said Cramm.