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Most Common questions

What are the key goals for 2024?
  • Continue to advance the Donlin Gold project towards a construction decision
  • Maintain support for Donlin Gold among the project's stakeholders
  • Promote a strong safety, sustainability, and environmental culture
  • Uphold a favorable reputation of NOVAGOLD
  • Preserve a healthy balance sheet

Our operations primarily relate to the delivery of project milestones, including the achievement of various technical, environmental, sustainable development, economic and legal objectives, obtaining necessary permits and maintaining those received in good standing, completion of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, preparation of engineering designs, and the financing to fund these objectives.

Why should I be interested in NOVAGOLD today?

NOVAGOLD owns 50 percent of Donlin Gold, one of the largest and among the highest-grade open-pit gold development projects in the world. With approximately 39 million ounces of gold in the measured and indicated mineral resources, inclusive of proven and probable mineral reserves (100 percent, approximately 19.5 million ounces attributable to NOVAGOLD) grading 2.24 grams per tonne1 – and exceptional exploration potential along an eight-kilometer gold mineralized belt in Alaska, Donlin Gold has all the key attributes that one would seek in a major gold deposit and it's located in an excellent jurisdiction with a track record of strong support for responsible resource development. The completed federal permitting process, which resulted in the issuance of a joint Record of Decision (ROD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the "Corps") and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), has substantially de-risked the project. With federal permitting activities complete and other key State permits advancing, activities have been focused on furthering our geological understanding and integrating scoping-level optimization work into a study that should serve as the basis for an updated project development plan.

While these attributes themselves make NOVAGOLD a compelling target for investors looking for size, grade, scale, resource growth, and jurisdictional safety, there's more to consider. Mine development and operation is a complex business, and we're fortunate to have a great partner in Barrick. Among the largest companies in the gold mining industry, Barrick has a depth of expertise in project development and operation. And we're blessed to have the Calista and TKC, owners of mineral and surface rights, as Native Corporation partners.

NOVAGOLD's treasury remains healthy with $118 million in cash and term deposits as of February 29, 2024, including the receipt of a $25 million note payment from Newmont Corporation in July 2023, NOVAGOLD is in a strong financial position to advance the Donlin Gold project up the value chain. 

Finally, NOVAGOLD has an experienced management team with an unparalleled track record in building and operating major mines, as well as a highly regarded board with strong ownership representation, a commitment to sound governance principals, and a firm belief in doing things right from the standpoint of technical excellence, safety, and environmental stewardship. NOVAGOLD is a compelling opportunity for a discerning investor interested in becoming a shareholder in a company committed to value creation in the gold space.

We have a long-term view and believe that NOVAGOLD offers investors all the leverage they could wish in rising gold price environment and at a point when the equity may be even more precious than the metal itself. If anything, the understanding and appreciation for gold is only going to improve since it is the only currency that cannot be printed at a time when major reserve currencies are being debased. After a 40-year secular trend of attempted demonetization, gold is re-asserting itself as the only financial asset that doesn't represent someone else's liability.

1 Donlin Gold data as per NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Donlin Gold Project, Alaska, USA, effective June 1, 2021 and the S-K 1300 Technical Report Summary on the Donlin Gold Project, Alaska, USA, November 30, 2021. 39Moz refers to mineral resources inclusive of reserves on a 100% basis.  Donlin Gold proven and probable reserves of approximately 16.925 Moz grading 2.09 g/t attributable to NOVAGOLD (33.849 Moz on 100% basis) and measured and indicated resources, exclusive of reserves, of approximately 2.749 Moz grading 2.43 g/t attributable to NOVAGOLD (5.497 Moz on 100% basis). 

What makes the Donlin Gold project so unique among other large undeveloped projects?

It all comes down to geology, potential, economics, location, partnerships, and management.

Geology –With approximately 39 million ounces of gold in the measured and indicated resource categories (541 million tonnes of gold at an average grade of 2.2 grams per tonne)1 , and an additional approximately six million ounces (92 million tonnes at an average grade of 2.0 grams per tonne) in inferred resources, Donlin Gold is one of the world's largest known undeveloped gold deposits. These are excellent numbers, placing Donlin Gold well within the top one percent of known global gold deposits in terms of size. It's also blessed with high grades when compared with other open pit mines and projects. As we've seen in the recent downdraft in the mining industry, this kind of quality counts. Its grade is where the average grade of the industry was ten years ago and is more than double the average grade of gold mines and projects globally2.

Potential – The NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Donlin Gold Project, Alaska, USA filed in 2021 and the S-K 1300 Technical Report Summary on the Donlin Gold Project, Alaska, USA, November 30, 20213 demonstrated that, as envisioned, Donlin Gold could become one of the largest single gold-producing mines in the world, averaging approximately 1,500,000 ounces of gold production in the first five years of operation and approximately 1,100,000 ounces per year over its 27-year life. And that's assuming no more higher-grade ore is found – or any additional ore at all, for that matter. In addition to its already large mineral endowment, Donlin Gold has excellent exploration potential, with the opportunity to expand the current open-pit resource both along strike and at depth. Considering that the current pit occupies only part of a three-kilometer area that is itself only a portion of an eight-kilometer mineralized belt, in NOVAGOLD's view it is likely that Donlin Gold's mine life, already measured in decades, or ultimate production profile – or both – is likely to be greater than anticipated.

Economics – During the first five years of operations, Donlin Gold's operating costs are estimated to be $3.5 billion or $477 per ounce of gold sold. Over the life of mine, the operating costs are estimated to be $19.3 billion or $635 per ounce of gold sold. This is very favorable in today's world and a function of the project’s high grade. The after-tax Net Present Value (NPV), using a gold price of $1,500 per ounce at a 5 percent discount rate, was estimated at $3.0 billion, per the NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Donlin Gold Project, Alaska, USA. The NPV at 5% increases to $4.9 billion at a gold price of $1,700 per ounce and $7.2 billion at a gold price of $2,000 per ounce.

Jurisdiction – Unstable and changing geopolitics, including but not limited to economic and political instability, have altered how the market views investment opportunities on the frontier. In our view, it's not an overstatement to say that jurisdictional risk represents the single greatest threat to the mining industry. Many companies and assets in the developing world have been victims of sovereign risk with unanticipated tax increases, royalties, civil unrest, permitting delays, corruption and resource nationalism. Market analysts, commentators, and investors are taking note of the actions by a number of governments to impose higher taxes and royalties on gold and other metal mines in their assessment of project value. We believe that the fact that Donlin Gold is in Alaska, America's second largest gold producing state, on private land already designated for mining and owned by Alaska Native corporations, distinguishes the project from other undeveloped open pit gold deposits. In summary, as a corollary to this heightened awareness, we believe that when sentiment returns to the space, Donlin Gold's location in the United States will give NOVAGOLD a tremendous competitive advantage during a time when heightened resource nationalism and jurisdictional uncertainty is second only to investor sentiment as the most significant factor negatively affecting shareholder value among natural resource companies.

Partnerships – Donlin Gold enjoys broad support, including from our Alaska Native corporation stakeholders, Calista and TKC, who own the mineral and surface rights to Donlin Gold. Our well-established track record of social engagement and environmental stewardship in the community is a huge plus. The government of Alaska cites Donlin Gold as a model project for responsible development, a reputation that was reinforced in 2014 by a unique strategic alliance with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. That's not something you see every day, and we're proud of it.

Management – NOVAGOLD's operating management team is among the most solid in their credentials and pedigree as any you'll find in the industry. Greg Lang, president and CEO, has been fortunate to work with some of the most experienced individuals in the gold sector and on some of its greatest assets. He ran Barrick's top assets – their North American operations – as president for eight years before joining NOVAGOLD. During the majority of his 30-year career, Greg rose through the ranks with Barrick and the companies it had acquired, Homestake Mining and International Corona. Greg leads a team of experienced industry veterans. Dave Ottewell joined NOVAGOLD from Newmont; Mélanie Hennessey joined from Hecla; Ron Rimelman joined from Tetra Tech; and Richard Williams joined NOVAGOLD from Barrick right after bringing into production the mammoth Pueblo Viejo project. Each of these individuals left senior positions at these senior companies because they too see in Donlin Gold a truly unique and attractive gold asset in an era defined by quality asset scarcity.

In summary, Donlin Gold has size and extraordinary grade, industry-leading projected output, a low-cost structure, a company-making mine life, excellent exploration upside, strong local partnerships, and jurisdictional safety. Donlin Gold is a truly unique and attractive gold asset in an era defined by asset scarcity with leverage to rising gold prices in a strong gold environment. Finally, Donlin Gold is well-advanced in the permitting process; positioned to be ready to construct when market sentiment will support construction of a major new gold mine.

1 Donlin Gold data as per the NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Donlin Gold Project, Alaska, USA, effective June 1, 2021 and the S-K 1300 Technical Report Summary on the Donlin Gold Project, Alaska, USA, November 30, 2021. 39Moz refers to mineral resources inclusive of reserves on a 100% basis.  Donlin Gold proven and probable reserves of approximately 16.925 Moz grading 2.09 g/t attributable to NOVAGOLD (33.849 Moz on 100% basis) and measured and indicated resources, exclusive of reserves, of approximately 2.749 Moz grading 2.43 g/t attributable to NOVAGOLD (5.497 Moz on 100% basis). 
2 2020 average grade of open pit and underground deposits with gold as primary commodity and over 1Moz in measured and indicated resources, sourced from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
3 See full technical reports here:

What is the latest status of the Donlin Gold project?

During the first quarter of 2024, with the support from the owners and the Donlin Gold LLC Board, numerous important activities were conducted. These included, among others, completing the scope of work for resource modelling by a third-party consultant to update the resource model; advancing the metallurgical test work with a pilot plant in Ontario, Canada, to confirm proposed optimizations to the flowsheet, which are expected to conclude later in the year; continuing to plan the regional infrastructure support to streamline the scope of work and identify the optimal path forward; and integrating recent field data in geoscience hydrology to update the groundwater and surface water models, alongside continuous data collection to update source characteristics for closure planning. In addition, an extensive amount of outreach efforts took place in Alaska, in the Y-K region, and in Washington D.C. to support community engagement and permitting efforts that help reinforce our social license. The diligent and highly effective work by the Donlin Gold team, our partners and broader stakeholders are greatly appreciated.

NOVAGOLD remains committed to employing a concerted and inclusive approach to advancing the Donlin Gold project, consistent with our pledges to — and for the benefit of — all shareholders and stakeholders, and especially to fulfilling the strategy that has been pledged time and again by NOVAGOLD: namely, to commence a full bankable Feasibility Study to optimally position the project, setting up a potential positive construction decision when the time is right.

NOVAGOLD prioritizes community and social responsibility, ensuring shared values are upheld at both the Donlin Gold project site and within the communities of the Y-K region. In partnership with Calista Corporation and TKC, Donlin Gold reached significant milestones in education, health and safety, cultural preservation, and environmental initiatives in the first quarter of 2024:

  • Finalization of another Shared Values Statement in the Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) region near the project, bringing the total count to 16
  • Holding the first informational meeting for the Subsistence Communications Advisory Committee in Anchorage
  • Expanding our efforts to identify specific project opportunities aimed at monitoring, evaluating, and enhancing the health of salmon populations in the Y-K region
  • Sponsorship of, and active participation in, key winter events: Donlin Gold’s Pete Kaiser won the 2024 K300 sled dog race in January and Kristina Woolston competed in the Iron Dog in February, the world’s longest and toughest snowmobile race that covers 2,500 miles of Alaskan backcountry
  • Support to various search and rescue teams, including the Chevak and Kipnuk Traditional Councils


What state permits remain outstanding for the Donlin Gold project?

Despite multiple challenges, all appeals against Donlin Gold permits have been unsuccessful to date. We recognize the importance of preparedness and organization in these matters. Permitting in the United States and Alaska constitutes a significant and rigorous endeavor, where success relies on years of dedicated efforts to ensure a diligent, thorough, transparent, and inclusive process engaging all stakeholders, including those from the Y-K region. Donlin Gold, along with its owners and partners Calista and TKC, possesses an intimate understanding of the project’s permitting and regulatory procedures. We remain committed to supporting Federal and State agencies in defending the rigorous permitting process and focused on securing the remaining state-level permits and certificates required for the project.

As a federally permitted project on private Alaska Native Corporation land designated by law for mining, with key State permits secured, Donlin Gold’s activities center on maintaining existing permits and advancing outstanding requirements, including:

  • Ongoing work to advance the Alaska Dam Safety Certification preliminary design packages, which are expected to be submitted to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR) later this year after review by the Independent Technical Review Board
  • Continuing to support Federal and State agencies to uphold the comprehensive Donlin Gold permits under appeal

Earthjustice filed their opening brief with the Alaska Supreme Court on January 4, 2024, appealing the Alaska Superior Court’s decision on Donlin Gold’s water rights permits, following an unsuccessful appeal to the ADNR Commissioner. The State of Alaska, Calista, and Donlin Gold are scheduled to submit their reply briefs with the Supreme Court in April 2024.

Earthjustice filed their opening brief with the Alaska Superior Court on January 5, 2024, appealing the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner’s decision upholding the 401 Water Quality Certification. The State of Alaska and Donlin Gold will file their reply briefs to the Alaska Superior Court in the second quarter 2024.

Briefing on Earthjustice’s appeal of the Alaska Superior Court affirmation of ADNR’s issuance of the State Right-of-Way lease to the Alaska Supreme Court was completed in February 2024. Earthjustice has requested oral argument, which has not been scheduled.

In the Federal litigation challenging the Donlin Gold Joint Record of Decision, including the 404 permit, Earthjustice filed their opening brief on February 16, 2024. The State of Alaska, Calista, and Donlin Gold are scheduled to file their reply briefing in April 2024.


What is your anticipated spending for Donlin Gold in 2024?

By carefully managing our treasury, we have remained financially strong with $118 million in cash and term deposits as of February 29, 2024, including the receipt of a $25 million note payment from Newmont in July 2023. NOVAGOLD is in a strong financial position to advance the Donlin Gold project up the value chain. 

Our anticipated expenditures in 2024 are approximately $31.2 million, including $14.3 million to fund the Donlin Gold project, and $16.9 million for corporate general and administrative costs.

How much risk do you see of environmental litigation delaying the project?

NOVAGOLD believes that the risk of environmental litigation successfully delaying the project is relatively low, however, should there be any litigation or delays, we are prepared to work through them with Barrick and Donlin Gold to keep the process moving forward as best we can. With an asset that has a life of mine of almost 30 years, we maintain a view that is long-term while taking a methodical approach to ensure that each step is completed properly – even if that means taking a bit more time.  We believe that the extensive studies including worked completed to date, combined with the level of engagement, transparency, and strong relationships established over 20 years by Donlin Gold with Calista, owner of the mineral estate, TKC, owner of the surface estate, local communities in the Y-K Region, and the State of Alaska mitigates the litigation risk with a large mining project like Donlin Gold.

In Alaska, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), came into effect in 1971 and was intended to resolve long-standing issues surrounding aboriginal land claims in Alaska, as well as to stimulate economic development throughout the State. The settlement established Alaska Native claims to the land by transferring titles to twelve Alaska Native regional corporations and over 200 local village corporations. A thirteenth regional corporation was later created for Alaska Natives who no longer reside in Alaska. The Native Corporations must share 70% of their profits with the other Native Corporations.

Part of the reason Donlin Gold’s relationship with local communities is so strong is that these local communities already enjoy tangible benefits from project activities. For instance, since exploration began in 1996, residents have been employed in a variety of roles, forming up to 90 percent of the workforce at the Donlin Gold camp. The proposed project could employ hundreds of workers during development and operations. Through Donlin Gold’s support of scholarships for Calista and TKC youth, sponsorship of academic and trades fairs, and leadership in development of the Alaska Miners Association’s Mining Workforce Development Plan, we are building a foundation that will provide Calista and TKC shareholders and their descendants with the opportunity to thrive as Donlin Gold prospers.

Donlin Gold LLC, with support from NOVAGOLD and Barrick, remains actively engaged in environmental sustainability projects and extensive, though primarily remote due to COVID-19 safety precautions, outreach efforts with local stakeholders, through multiple traditional village council meetings, regional tribal gatherings, events, and village visits across the Y-K region. Donlin Gold LLC collaborated with Calista and TKC (owners of the mineral and surface rights, respectively) on grants, scholarships, and community outreach efforts.

Donlin Gold

Do you have all the surface rights and exploration licenses in place to mine at the Donlin Gold project for as long as there is potential?

Yes. Donlin Gold has a mining lease with Calista and a surface use agreement with TKC with co-terminus terms that grant Donlin Gold the rights to mine so long as the company believes there is valuable mineral potential at the property.

How would you describe the Donlin Gold ore body?

Gold-bearing rock within the Donlin Gold deposit is present in two adjacent areas known as the ACMA and Lewis pits. By the end of the mine life, currently 27 years based on the defined reserve, the two pits would merge at the surface into one oval-shaped open-pit mine with dimensions roughly 2.2 miles long by 1 mile wide. The ACMA pit would have an ultimate depth of approximately 1,850 feet and Lewis would be 1,653 feet deep. Mining of the ACMA pit is proposed in nine phases and the Lewis pit in six phases. The initial mining of the two pits would be independent, but they would partially merge later in the life of the mine. Overburden from the final stages of the Lewis pit would be placed into the ACMA pit, partially backfilling it.

Within the orebodies, southeast-dipping north-northeast-oriented fracture zones are the primary control on gold bearing vein distribution within the north-northeast mineralized corridors. Composite vein zones or mineralized corridors range up to 30 meters in width and extend for hundreds of meters along strike. Intrusive rocks and to a lesser extent competent massive greywacke are the most favored host rocks, and act as a secondary control on the mineralization. Gold distribution in the deposit closely mimics the intrusive rocks, which contain about 74% of the mineral resource identified in the NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Donlin Gold Project, Alaska, USA. Structural zones in competent sedimentary units account for the remaining 26%.

Is there potential for a smaller scale project requiring lower initial capital and providing better economics in this gold price environment? Or does the large infrastructure requirement make a smaller scale project difficult economically?

Prior to making a construction decision, the owners expect to prepare a new feasibility study for the Donlin Gold project. NOVAGOLD and Barrick already have initiated their review of the Donlin Gold FS, apart from the work being advanced by Donlin Gold, to identify the project components that offer the greatest opportunities for enhancing project efficiencies, execution, operation and hence economics. At this point, Donlin Gold's scale is affected by the need to develop access, fuel, and power infrastructure for the project. While the owners will consider all potentially viable options for design, construction, and operation of a successful project, the best project design available today is the one that Donlin Gold has advanced through permitting.

Can you briefly describe the social stakeholders in the Donlin Gold project and how are you managing your community relations and obligations?

Local communities are our neighbors – and at Donlin Gold, they're the owners of the minerals and land on which the project will be built and operated. Over nearly 20 years of activities at Donlin Gold, we have consistently sought to build strong community partnerships, reach equitable participation agreements with Calista and TKC owners of the mineral rights and surface rights, respectively, and establish good communication with local communities as well as state and federal regulators. At the same time, we collected extensive environmental baseline data to facilitate permitting of the project and developed training and employment programs to engage the local population and businesses in the advancement of Donlin Gold. We're very proud of the relationships that we have with our community partners. We have taken the time to listen to their concerns and carefully designed our project to mitigate those concerns as best we can.

Funding and Valuation

How does NOVAGOLD expect to finance its share of the capital cost of putting Donlin Gold into production?

NOVAGOLD has the funds to pay for its share of costs relating to the permitting of Donlin Gold and optimization efforts. Projects with solid economic fundamentals, which we expect to be the case for Donlin Gold, have diverse and multiple financing options: including equity, debt, and third-party project financing.

Does NOVAGOLD participate in the Direct Registration of Shares (DRS)?

Yes, NOVAGOLD participates in the Direct Registration of Shares with the Company's transfer agent, Computershare. For more information on DRS, share transfers, lost certificates, or a change of address, please contact Computershare

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