- Donlin Gold Completes Its Successful, COVID-Free 2020 Drill Program with Outstanding Assay Results
Higher Drilled Grade-Thickness than Predicted by Previous Modelling and New High-Grade Extensions Identified, Including Near Surface
Community Engagement is Further Strengthened in Response to the Global Pandemic
NOVAGOLD Has Strong $114 Million Treasury with a Further $75 Million Due in July 2021
The Donlin Gold project (“Donlin Gold” or the “project”) reported the remaining assay results for the 85-hole 23,361-meter drill program 1 , which demonstrated higher drilled grade-thickness results than predicted by previous modeling, enabling an improved interpretation of gold mineralization controls
Following on from this success, additional confirmation and extension drilling are being planned for the upcoming field season. It is anticipated that, on the completion of the 2021 drilling program and a geologic model update, subject to a formal decision by the Donlin Gold LLC Board, the focus will then shift to updating the feasibility study
With key Federal and State permits in hand, Donlin Gold successfully advanced additional State permits
Donlin Gold, together with its Alaska Native Corporation partners, Calista Corporation (“Calista”) and The Kuskokwim Corporation (“TKC”), continued to carry out broad outreach programs in support of local communities as the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic continued to be felt in Alaska
NOVAGOLD continues to maintain a strong treasury with $114.2 million in cash and term deposits as of February 28, 2021, plus receivables from Newmont Corporation (“Newmont”) amounting to $75 million due in July 2021 and an additional $25 million due in July 2023
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 31, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NOVAGOLD RESOURCES INC. (“NOVAGOLD” or “the Company”) (NYSE American, TSX: NG) today released its 2021 first-quarter financial results and an update on its Tier One 2 gold development project Donlin Gold, which NOVAGOLD owns equally with Barrick Gold (“Barrick”).
Details of the financial results for the quarter ended February 28, 2021 are presented in the consolidated financial statements and annual report filed March 31, 2021 on Form 10-Q with the SEC that is available on the Company’s website at www.novagold.com , on SEDAR at www.sedar.com , and on EDGAR at www.sec.gov . All amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated and all mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates are shown on a 100% project basis.
NOVAGOLD and Barrick, through a joint release issued on March 25, 2021 3 , reported the last set of assay results from the successful 2020 drill program at Donlin Gold:
The 85-hole drill program, totaling 23,361 meters in the proposed ACMA and Lewis pit areas, was successfully carried out in order to further increase confidence in recent geologic modeling concepts.
Results in both the ACMA and Lewis deposit areas exceeded the previously modeled grade-thickness, with higher grades observed over narrower intervals, particularly in sedimentary rocks.
Data collected has resulted in an improved appreciation of the controls on mineralization.
With extensive communication and the application of health and safety protocols, there were zero COVID-19 cases at the project site and no Lost-Time Incidents.
Ten of the top intervals for the 2020 drill program were contained in the Donlin Gold joint media release issued subsequent to quarter-end 4 :
DC20-1937 intersected 103.88 m grading 6.1 g/t gold, starting at 390.19 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 22.15 m grading 12.5 g/t, starting at 459.17 m drilled depth;
DC20-1871 intersected 41.91 m grading 11.61 g/t gold, starting at 30.35 m drilled depth;
DC20-1903 intersected 8.14 m grading 45.3 g/t gold, starting at 99.39 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 6.84 m grading 52.1 g/t gold, starting at 99.39 m drilled depth;
DC20-1877 intersected 4.17 m grading 80.6 g/t gold, starting at 123.48 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 3.15 m grading 106.2 g/t gold, starting at 124.50 m drilled depth;
DC20-1888 intersected 6.93 m grading 43.1 g/t gold, starting at 178.58 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 3.25 m grading 90.5 g/t gold, starting at 180.26 m drilled depth;
DC20-1912 intersected 37.30 m grading 7.0 g/t gold, starting at 249.70 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 3.30 m grading 24.5 g/t gold, starting at 251.70 m drilled depth;
DC20-1930 intersected 51.15 m grading 4.6 g/t gold, starting at 148.85 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 7.60 m grading 12.4 g/t gold, starting at 182.40 m drilled depth;
DC20-1866 intersected 45.91 m grading 5.03 g/t gold, starting at 35.39 m drilled depth; 23.36 m grading 4.15 g/t gold, starting at 108.30 m drilled depth; and 30.28 m grading 4.20 g/t gold, starting at 226.53 m drilled depth;
DC20-1932 intersected 47.66 m grading 4.8 g/t gold, starting at 101.62 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 4.00 m grading 19.5 g/t gold, starting at 143.28 m drilled depth; and,
DC20-1878 intersected 19.77 m grading 11.3 g/t gold, starting at 48.86 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 7.00 m grading 25.2 g/t gold, starting at 54.86 m drilled depth.
The Board of Donlin Gold is considering additional confirmation and extension drilling in 2021 to expand upon recently obtained information into the continuity and structural controls of the higher-grade mineralization, which will be incorporated into the geological model.
In the first quarter 2021, the following milestones were achieved:
Donlin Gold, together with Calista and TKC, continued their long-standing community engagement during the quarter:
In partnership with TKC, the Village of Crooked Creek, and Napaimute Tribe, Donlin Gold was again the lead sponsor of a project to construct and maintain the upper portions of a 200-mile ice road on the Kuskokwim River.
In mid-January, the Middle Kuskokwim village of Tuluksak with a population of approximately 370 had its water supply plant destroyed by fire, creating a health and safety crisis for the community. In the days following, Donlin Gold and several other community organizations, companies, and individuals stepped in to assist in the effort, providing drinking water, buckets for carrying and storing water, sanitary wipes, diapers, and other health supplies.
As part of Donlin Gold’s ongoing community engagement efforts, Friendship Agreements have been approved and signed by six communities (Akiak, Sleetmute, Napaimute, Crooked Creek, Napaskiak, and Nikolai) in the project’s region. These agreements with Donlin Gold expand upon the long-term relationships already established with these communities and address specific community needs such as water, sewer, and landfill projects; the ice road that connects remote villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) region during winter; salmon studies; and suicide prevention programs.
With key Federal and State permits in hand, Donlin Gold advanced additional State permits:
In November 2020, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR) published an initial public notice for comment on Donlin Gold’s 12 applications for water rights for the mine site and transportation facilities, which closed on December 15, 2020. Water rights are for local surface water sources and groundwater to be used for process water, dust control, fire protection, and potable water. In March 2021, ADNR introduced a second two-week public notice period, which closed March 26, 2021. It is anticipated that the ADNR will issue final decisions on the water rights applications in the first half of 2021.
In April 2020, the ADNR’s Division of Oil and Gas agreed to reconsider its decision on the State Right-of-Way (ROW) agreement and lease authorization for the buried natural gas pipeline. Under the reconsideration, on September 10, 2020, the ADNR issued for additional public comment a revised Consideration of Comments document. This document further describes how the ADNR is considering previous public input that was solicited in the ROW review, including how cumulative effects are addressed in the decision. The comment period on the document ended on November 9, 2020. It is expected that the ADNR will re-issue the ROW agreement and lease authorization in the first half of 2021.
Donlin Gold, working with its Native Corporation partners, continues to support the State of Alaska to advance other permits and certificates needed for the project.
Donlin Gold and Alaskan resilience
As spring arrives and many of us note the anniversary of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we all reflect on the past year and the challenges that affected our families, our communities, and our organizations. I am proud of the accomplishments of the NOVAGOLD, Barrick and Donlin Gold teams in executing the 2020 drill program while remaining ever-mindful of the risk posed by COVID-19 and adhering to the stricter health protocols put in place in our workplaces in response. By far, our most important objective in 2020 was to protect the health and safety of our workforce, contractors, and partners. Despite the added challenge of navigating a pandemic, all Donlin Gold 2020 drill program objectives were achieved and accomplished with zero COVID-19 cases on site and no Lost-Time Incidents.
By working closely with our partners at Barrick and our Alaska Native Corporation partners, Calista and TKC, we strengthened and deepened our relationships with local communities. The past year has reminded all of us at NOVAGOLD of the tenacity, resilience, and flexibility of our partners and our team. I extend my most sincere appreciation to Donlin Gold, its workforce, as well as Calista and TKC for their dedication to the highest standards of safety, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.
The State of Alaska is a leader among the United States in COVID-19 vaccination availability, with Governor Dunleavy announcing in early March that vaccinations are now available to everyone aged 16 and older living and working in Alaska. The success of the vaccination campaign in the Y-K region can be credited in large part to the leadership of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) and Native health partners, who made access to the vaccines at grocery stores possible without appointment, thereby removing a barrier for those who did not want to go to the hospital or did not have transportation. In addition, the YKHC made home visits to serve as an extension of the distribution network among village medical clinics. By February, the Y-K Delta became one of the Nation’s leaders in COVID-19 vaccination. This achievement bodes well for an eventual return to something close to normal life within the Y-K region where the Donlin Gold project is located.
Donlin Gold drill program and value
The hard work of the past year and first quarter of 2021 also yielded valuable results in the form of generating additional detailed information about the deposit. We are proud of the fact that, despite the global pandemic, we were able to carry out the largest drill program at Donlin Gold since 2008. We did so with extensive communication and application of strict health and safety protocols, resulting in zero COVID-19 cases at the project site and no Lost-Time Incidents. The knowledge we gained was enormous. We were gratified by the fact that drilled grade-thicknesses within both ACMA and Lewis deposits exceeded those predicted by previous modeling, with higher grades observed over narrower intervals, particularly in sedimentary rocks. These have bolstered our confidence in Donlin Gold’s recent geologic modeling concepts developed jointly by the Barrick and NOVAGOLD teams. We also encountered multiple high-grade extensions in both the intrusive (igneous) and sedimentary rocks, including near surface. One such near surface hit in drill hole DC20-1938 intersected 17.96 m grading 10.5 g/t gold. While impressive in its own right, this intercept included a sub-interval of 3.96 m grading 28.0 g/t gold starting at 1.83 m drilled depth 5 . The exceptional results Donlin Gold has received, from the outset right up to the latest set of results, is indicative of the extraordinary nature of this deposit.
Now, equipped with outstanding assay results from the 2020 drill program, we are well positioned to update our geologic model and follow up on new targets. Additional confirmation and extension drilling is being planned for the 2021 field season after which it is anticipated that, on the completion of the updated geologic model and, subject to a formal decision by the Donlin Gold LLC Board, the focus will then shift to updating the feasibility study.
With approximately 39 million ounces of gold in measured and indicated mineral resources grading 2.24 grams per tonne 6 , Donlin Gold is indeed rare, particularly given that no new major gold discoveries have been made in the past four years. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, Donlin Gold’s grade, which is twice the industry average 7 , is simply incredible. Size and grade are not the only attributes that make Donlin Gold unique. The project has tremendous exploration potential, especially considering that its gold endowment is contained within only three kilometers of an eight-kilometer mineralized belt, itself limited to a mere five percent of the property.
Discussion of Donlin Gold’s unique status would not be complete without special recognition of the fact that it is located in Alaska, a Tier One jurisdiction 8 . In an environment in which governments can either physically or, through legislation or other means, effectively seize an asset, we are grateful that Donlin Gold is located in Alaska where there is a time-tested culture of support and respect for responsible and sustainable mine development. And in that regard, we are confident that NOVAGOLD’s seasoned management team, which has worked together since 2012, supported by its well-developed partnership with Barrick as well as Native Corporations, can advance this unique project up the value chain in a technically advanced, safe, as well as environmentally and socially responsible manner. Therefore, it is not surprising that NOVAGOLD has become a go-to investment for some of the wisest investors in the space.
Building better through community partnerships
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