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NOVAGOLD and its partners implemented a wide-ranging set of protocols to ensure the safety and well- being of employees and contractors.
Facing the major global threat posed by COVID-19, in March 2020 NOVAGOLD and its partners implemented a wide-ranging set of protocols at our offices in Salt Lake City and Vancouver – and in conjunction with Barrick
at the Donlin Gold project office in Anchorage and the Donlin Gold project
site to ensure the safety and well-being of employees and contractors at
these locations. To reduce risk, corporate office employees have been asked
to continue to work remotely, avoid all non-essential travel, adhere to good hygiene practices, and engage in physical distancing for the foreseeable future. Among the small team at NOVAGOLD there have been no work-related cases of COVID-19. The following procedures, consistent with the State of Alaska’s health and safety rules, recommendations, and precautions, were designed to ensure the safety and well-being of employees and contractors at Donlin Gold work locations, as well as their families and local communities:
f COVID-19 testing of all employees and contractors traveling to the Donlin Gold project site1
f charter flights used to safely transport employees to and from the project site, avoiding unnecessary potential exposures to COVID-19
f site medical staff conducting screenings for COVID-19 symptoms
f diligent sanitization practices training and proper personal protective
equipment (PPE) provided to all site employees and contractors
f daily safety briefings before each shift reinforcing COVID-19 protocols
with increased safety communication around hygiene and sanitization practices, physical distancing measures while at the project site, and education and awareness regarding self-identification of symptoms
f weekly engagement with employee tribal councils to navigate project site procedures and protocol
A history of interdependence among villages and a reliance on air and water travel eventually led to community spread of COVID-19 in area villages and resulted in various state and regional travel bans in the Y-K region, exacerbating the societal impacts – including supply chain interruptions and the need for assistance. Donlin Gold partnered with Calista and TKC, along with other key representatives in the region, to respond to urgent community needs. Donlin Gold support included food, PPE and cleaning supplies, diapers, formula, sanitary wipes, and COVID-19 health and safety training, as well
as maintaining the ongoing partnership commitments in environmental management and training, including a focus on education and health.
After a brief suspension of drilling in March, Donlin Gold safely restarted the 2020 drill program following consultations with village tribal councils in the Y-K region, communicating procedures to safely re-open the project site and recommence site activities, and submission of a COVID-19 management plan to the State of Alaska. With Donlin Gold’s extensive communication program and application of health and safety protocols, no employees or contractors tested positive for COVID-19 at the site in 2020, and drilling was successfully completed in September.
Enhanced COVID-19 health protocols will remain in place for the foreseeable future at both NOVAGOLD offices and at Donlin Gold to protect the health of our workforce.
1 In-state personnel required one negative test prior to going to project site; village personnel, two negative tests upon arrival and prior to returning to their village; out-of-state personnel, two negative tests prior to going to project site.

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