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320 engagement contacts with key individual stakeholders and community organizations, significantly more than in previous
years. From engagement with tribal councils to receptions and meetings seeking partnerships, Donlin Gold was able to stay closely connected – virtually for the most part – to advance key activities and projects throughout the region.
Donlin Gold worked closely with its Alaska Native partners Calista and TKC, along with other key representatives of the communities in the Y-K region, to effectively respond to the needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in other areas
such as environmental management, training and education, and cultural initiatives.
A partnership with Bethel Community Services Foundation was established to support the Y-K Delta COVID-19 Response Fund, as well as with Covenant House Alaska for homeless and at-risk youth services in Bethel. Supplies were provided to hundreds
of families and meals served to thousands of individuals in the Elders and Youth program. When the Donlin Gold project camp temporarily closed in April 2020 due to COVID-19, Donlin Gold donated thousands of pounds of food to shelters and delivered meals to every home in eight middle Kuskokwim villages.
On the environmental front, Donlin Gold worked with TKC, the State of Alaska, and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium on an initiative to strengthen health and safety standards with regard to water and sewer services in middle Kuskokwim-area communities. We collaborated with 28 community partners on the Donlin Gold Backhaul Hazardous Waste Removal project and worked with key local groups to collect and remove some 45,000 pounds of household hazardous materials.
Donlin Gold hosted virtual education camps for students in the project’s region in Alaska, while Donlin Gold co-sponsored scholarships were awarded to local students selected by Calista and TKC to improve access to education. Calista has awarded hundreds of scholarships co-funded by Donlin Gold, with students attending schools in Alaska and out of State. Donlin Gold also provided
online activities and programs for youth and Elders. These various engagements reflect NOVAGOLD’s and Barrick’s full commitment
to preserving the traditional lifestyles of, and providing support to, the local communities throughout the Y-K region.
Over the last decade, jurisdictional risk has migrated from being regarded as an occasional nuisance to an existential threat. Were I to name the numerous jurisdictions that have been struck off my personal investment-grade list, it would hurt one’s ears
to hear the roll call. Projects that were slated to go online won’t, while some that did later have been subjected to mine closure due to social disruption or political fiat. Where allowed to continue, some companies have been extorted (at times with the threat of violence) out of most, if not all, of the financial rewards due to their shareholders for their risk-taking and value enhancement – what I call “stealth nationalization.” In an increasing number of places, the brazenness of the confiscatory policies is such that “stealth” would constitute a charming euphemism.
Because it is politically impossible for neighboring countries to hold an investor-friendly line, there will assuredly be more such offences in the future. This wave, after all, is occurring during relatively good times. As I have come to know most of our investors and consider them kindred spirits, I feel compelled to share yet another dire observation, here posed as a question: What are the odds that the governments of gold-producing countries – which are often dependent on the price of multiple raw materials – will let the precious metals miners keep the windfall that may come if we experience another severe economic crisis and gold powers higher while most commodities collapse? It’s not so difficult to imagine. That dichotomy actually happened during the last financial crisis. Gold – a currency – held its own, or went up, while much more economically sensitive commodities fell.
There is no worse feeling than being right on the investment thesis and having the successful investment taken away from you. I know, it’s dark. But it remains one of the most frequently asked questions of me.

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