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Donlin gold project, US – update

Imge of gold nuggets

Photo by ©Bloomberg

2nd February 2024

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Donlin gold project.

Location
Alaska, in the US.

Project Owner/s
Donlin Gold is equally owned by Canada-based miners Barrick Gold Corp and NovaGold Resources. The land is owned by the Calista Corporation – a community organisation comprising the Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC) – and the mineral rights by Alaska Native corporation for the Yukon–Kuskokwim region.

Project Description
The Donlin gold (formerly Donlin Creek) project, as currently envisioned, will be one of only a handful of gold mines worldwide that produce more than one-million ounces of gold a year.

The 109 km2 Donlin Creek property, which is part of the Kuskokwim gold belt, is one of the largest undeveloped gold resources in the world, containing estimated proven and probable reserves of about 504.8-million ounces of gold at a grade of 2.09 g/t.

The project is expected to produce 1.5-million ounces of gold a year in the first five years of operation, and an average of 1.1-million ounces of gold a year over its projected 27-year mine life.

The project is also being updated to include power generation using natural gas delivered to the site through a 500 km pipeline from the Cook Inlet to the mine site.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
At a base case gold price of $1 200/oz, the Donlin feasibility study, last updated in 2011, calculated an internal rate of return of 6% and a net present value, at a 5% discount rate, of $547-million.

Potential Job Creation
Up to 3 000 jobs will be created during construction and up to 1 400 jobs during operation.

Capital Expenditure
Initial capital costs for the project in April 2009 were estimated at $4.5-billion. This has now been revised upwards to $6.7-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
Production is expected to begin in late 2017 or early 2018.

Latest Development
Novagold and Barrick Gold  have yet to reach consensus on the path forward for the project.

In December 2023, the Donlin board meeting witnessed a divergence in proposals, with Novagold advocating for an updated feasibility study, while Barrick pressed for an ongoing drilling campaign, Novagold said in its financial year-end results for the year ended 2023.

Despite the lack of agreement on the proposals, both parties identified common ground in value-adding activities that could propel the project forward.

As discussions continue, the Donlin board has approved a budget of $28.5-million for 2024 for resource modelling, mining planning work, metallurgical testwork (pilot plant), regional infrastructure support planning, geoscience hydrology and closure planning, and the advancement of the dam safety certificate applications. It also includes continued support in terms of pending litigation, government affairs, community engagement activities and sponsorships.

Over the past three years, the Donlin team has focused on building orebody knowledge around controls on mineralisation through detailed mapping and infill grid drilling.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
SRK Consulting (technical report); and AMEC Americas (lead feasibility study consultant).

Contact Details for Project Information
Barrick Gold investor relations manager Joyce Davies, tel +1 416 307 7354, fax +1 416 861 0727 or email jdavies@barrick.com.
NovaGold Donlin Creek, tel +1 888 225 7590, fax +1 907 273 0201 or email info@donlincreek.com.
SRK Consulting, tel +1 907 677 3520, fax +1 907 677 3620 or email anchorage@srk.com.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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