TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The proven and probable gold reserves at NovaGold Resources and Barrick Gold's Donlin Creek project, in Alaska, are now estimated at 33,6-million ounces, up 4,3-million ounces from the last count, Vancouver-based NovaGold said on Monday.
The figures were calculated using a gold price of $825/oz, and included results from 62 new drill holes.
The project also has measured and indicated gold resources of 4,29-million ounces, plus 4,41-million ounces in the inferred category.
NovaGold and Barrick are currently studying optimisation scenarios aimed at reducing power and processing costs and further improving economics for the project.
The new reserve estimate represents a 15% increase over the 29,3-million ounce reserve estimate contained in the feasibility study approved by the partners in May 2009.
The 2009 feasibility study estimated capital costs to design and build Donlin Creek at $4,48-billion, while production was forecast at an average of 1,25-million ounces a year over a 21-year life.
"The increase in reserves is expected to extend the mine life from 21 years to 25 years at the feasibility production rate, and does not materially change the feasibility study that was approved by the Donlin Creek LLC in 2009," NovaGold said on Monday.
"It is believed that the additional storage capacity provided for in the 2009 feasibility study will accommodate the increase in tailings and that the waste rock storage facility can be modified to contain the additional unmineralised rock material."
NovaGold also owns 50% of the Galore Creek copper/gold project, in British Columbia, (Teck Resources owns the other half), as well as the Ambler and Rock Creek projects in Alaska.