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Donlin Gold

Technical Report

Project Overview

Large and high-grade gold project located in a tier-one jurisdiction, Alaska.

The Donlin Gold project is located in the historic Kuskokwim Gold Belt of Southwest Alaska, 10 miles north of the village of Crooked Creek, and is managed by Donlin Gold LLC, which is owned equally by wholly-owned subsidiaries of NOVAGOLD and Barrick Gold Corporation. Donlin Gold's world-class status is defined by seven distinguishing characteristics: exceptional reserve size and production capability, high grade for large-scale open-pit mining, significant exploration upside, leverage to higher gold prices, and location in a favorable jurisdiction with strong partnerships.

 

SIZE: 39Moz

With measured and indicated resources of approximately 39 million ounces of gold (541 million tonnes of gold at an average grade of 2.2 grams per tonne, inclusive of proven and probable reserves of 34 million ounces of gold at an average grade of 2.09 grams per tonne), and an additional approximately six million ounces of inferred resources (92 million tonnes at an average grade of approximately 2.0 grams per tonne), Donlin Gold is one of the largest known undeveloped gold deposits today. 

GRADE: 2.2g/t

Donlin Gold is also blessed with exceptionally high grade, with a measured and indicated resource grade of 2.2 grams per tonne.  This makes it one of the highest grade known open-pit gold deposits. Furthermore, the project’s operating cash costs are expected to be $411 per ounce of gold during the first five years, and $635 per ounce of gold over the life of mine. Total all-in costs are expected to be $532 and $735 per ounce of gold during the first five years and over the life of mine, respectively.

PRODUCTION PROFILE: 1.1Moz/year

As envisioned in the second updated feasibility study, Donlin Gold has the potential to become one of the largest gold-producing mines in the world, producing approximately 1,500,000 ounces of gold annually in the first five years of operation and approximately 1,100,000 ounces per year over its 27-year life.

EXPLORATION POTENTIAL

Beyond its already large mineral endowment, Donlin Gold has substantial exploration potential, with the opportunity to expand the current open-pit resource along strike and at depth. Considering that the current pit occupies only part of a three-kilometer segment of an eight-kilometer mineralized gold belt, in NOVAGOLD's view it is possible that Donlin Gold's mine life, already measured in decades, will be greater than anticipated.

LEVERAGE

The leverage to higher gold prices Donlin Gold enjoys is exceptional. Its after-tax Net Present Value (NPV) at US$1,200 per ounce-gold and a 5% discount rate, was estimated at US$547 million, as fully described in the Donlin Gold second updated feasibility study which can be found here. This number rises to $6.2 billion if undiscounted. Importantly, the resultant NPV sensitivity analysis showed a more than eight-fold increase in value to US$4.6 billion at US$1,700 per ounce of gold ($14.6 billion if undiscounted), and then nearly a 50% further increase in NPV to US$6.7 billion at US$2,000 per ounce of gold. At the zero discount rate at which we believe North American assets may once again be rated, as they were not so long ago, that number rises to more than US$19 billion.

JURISDICTIONAL SAFETY

The fact that Donlin Gold is located in the United States gives NOVAGOLD a tremendous competitive advantage. Jurisdiction is an important issue today in the resources sector. One of the key questions that investors will be asking of mining companies is: where in the world are your assets located? Investing in the wrong region carries risks well beyond what you find in North America. With five major producing mines, Alaska is the second largest gold producing state in the United States.

PARTNERSHIPS

Donlin Gold enjoys broad support, including from our Alaska Native Corporation stakeholders, the Calista Corporation (Calista) and The Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC), who own the mineral and surface rights to Donlin Gold. The project is on private land selected by Calista for the development of its mineral endowment. Our well-established track record of social engagement and environmental stewardship in the community distinguishes NOVAGOLD from its peers. 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. 

Footnotes

Source: Donlin Gold Project NI 43-101 Technical Report entitled “Donlin Creek Gold Project Alaska, USA, NI 43-101 Technical Report on Second Updated Feasibility Study” effective November 18, 2011, amended January 20, 2012. A copy of the Donlin Gold Technical Report is available here as well as at www.sedar.com or www.sec.gov.

  • Represents 100% of measured and indicated resources of which NOVAGOLD’s share is 50%.Measured and indicated resources inclusive of proven and probable reserves.
  • Cash costs based on US GAPP cost of sales, excluding depreciation and reclamation.
  • Net Present Value (NPV): All dollar figures are in USD and reflect after-tax NPV (at a 0% and 5% discount rates) of the Donlin Gold project as of 1/1/2014. At a 5% discount rate, the NPV is: $547 m @ $1,200 gold; $1,465m @ $1,300 gold; $3,147m @ $1,500 gold; $4,581 m @ $1,700 gold; $6,722 m @ $2,000 gold; and $10,243 m @ $2,500 gold. Project development costs prior to 1/1/2014 are treated as sunk costs. 
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