NOVAGOLD RESOURCES INC. today announced that Donlin Gold LLC (Donlin Gold) and The Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC) have reached an updated long term Surface Use Agreement ("Agreement") at NOVAGOLD's flagship asset, the Donlin Gold project in Alaska - one of the world's largest undeveloped gold deposits.
Conclusion of this Agreement represents an important milestone in the advancement of this major project towards development and ultimately production.
The Agreement has been extended to coincide with the projected Donlin Gold mine life with provisions for a further extension, should production continue beyond that. The Agreement also coincides with the length of the Calista Corporation's Exploration and Mining Lease. The Agreement:
- Provides direct compensation to TKC through payments for project milestones, annual surface use and mine operation
- Includes a coordinated and consultative approach between Donlin Gold and TKC regarding annual project planning, reclamation as well as preparation of a subsistence harvest plan for affected surface lands
- Gives preference to TKC for contracts, hiring and training TKC shareholders, as well as funding scholarships and working with federal, state and local entities to help create and fund a training facility in the region
- Commits to an exclusive contract with TKC for the construction and operations of an upriver port site
"Our families have lived off this land for generations and we want to make sure it is developed both responsibly and in a way that benefits the shareholders of The Kuskokwim Corporation," said Maver Carey, President and CEO of TKC. "Since 1995, Donlin Gold has worked constructively in our region and I know our partnership will benefit our shareholders for many generations. Today's agreement sets the basis for a long and productive relationship that with construction of the mine will provide jobs and financial value to the shareholders in our 10 villages."
"This Agreement represents a strong commitment by the project's key stakeholders to continue advancing Donlin Gold in a responsible and sustainable manner for the benefit of the region and its shareholders," said Stan Foo, General Manager, Donlin Gold, which is owned equally by subsidiaries of NOVAGOLD and Barrick Gold Corporation. "Our strong and time-honored relationship with TKC and Calista Corporation, who, respectively own the surface and mineral rights to the lands encompassing the Donlin Gold project, forms a solid foundation for its successful development."
"I would like to congratulate Donlin Gold and TKC in successfully extending this Agreement, which preserves a mutually-beneficial undertaking that will have far-reaching impacts, not only to the local communities but all of our stakeholders who will participate in the development of this remarkable gold deposit," said Greg Lang, NOVAGOLD's President and CEO. "We truly appreciate our partnership with the Alaska Native Corporations and look forward to a prosperous future."
About Social Responsibility
Responsible mine development requires strong social and environmental leadership as well as financial integrity. NOVAGOLD believes that a company must earn their social license and has put in place systems and procedures to "do it right" from the very beginning. Donlin Gold has taken part in extensive outreach activities with communities in the region since the early phases of exploration. The intent has been to provide residents with information about Donlin Gold and also to seek feedback on the project. NOVAGOLD supports the establishment of these important lines of communication because they set a strong precedent for successful collaborative working relationships. These procedures and policies form the foundation on which NOVAGOLD operates today as the company continues to ensure that all of its projects are developed to the highest technical, environmental, social and economic standards.
NOVAGOLD is a well-financed precious metals company engaged in the exploration and development of mineral properties in North America. Its flagship asset is the 50%-owned Donlin Gold project in Alaska, one of the safest jurisdictions in the world. With approximately 39,000,000 ounces of gold in the measured and indicated resource categories (541 million tonnes at an average grade of approximately 2.2 grams per tonne), Donlin Gold is regarded to be one of the largest, highest grade, and most prospective known gold deposits in the world. According to the Updated Feasibility Study (as defined below), once in production, Donlin Gold should average approximately 1,500,000 ounces of gold per year for the first five full years, followed by decades of more than one million ounces per year on a 100% basis. The Donlin Gold project has substantial exploration potential beyond the designed footprint which currently covers only three kilometers of an approximately eight-kilometer long gold bearing trend. Current activities at Donlin Gold are focused on permitting, community outreach and workforce development in preparation for the construction and operation of this top tier asset. The Donlin Gold project commenced permitting in 2012, a clearly defined process expected to take approximately 4 years. NOVAGOLD also owns 50% of the Galore Creek copper-gold-silver project located in northern British Columbia. According to the 2011 Pre-Feasibility Study, once in production, Galore Creek is expected to be the largest copper mine in Canada, a tier-one jurisdiction. NOVAGOLD is currently evaluating opportunities to sell all or a portion of its interest in Galore Creek and would apply the proceeds toward the development of Donlin Gold. NOVAGOLD is well positioned to stay the course and take Donlin Gold through permitting.
Scientific and Technical Information
Scientific and technical information contained herein with respect to Donlin Gold is derived from the "Donlin Creek Gold Project Alaska, USA NI 43-101 Technical Report on Second Updated Feasibility Study" compiled by AMEC. Kirk Hanson, P.E., Technical Director, Open Pit Mining, North America, (AMEC, Reno), Gordon Seibel, R.M. SME, Principal Geologist, (AMEC, Reno), Tony Lipiec, P.Eng. Manager Process Engineering (AMEC, Vancouver) are the Qualified Persons responsible for the preparation of the independent technical report, each of whom are independent "qualified persons" as defined by NI 43-101.