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Sustainability

Community Support

NOVAGOLD and its project partners are committed to preserving traditional lifestyles and providing economic opportunities to communities throughout the Y-K region, whose political and social structure is represented by a diverse group of social, business, and governmental entities. Relationships between these entities are often complex and influenced by competing political and economic interests. Calista, TKC, and a variety of other Alaska Native business entities and associations have a longstanding interest in the Donlin Gold project and its potential benefits for the region.

Engaging with communities in an open, respectful, and culturally sensitive manner while developing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships has been our approach since the early days of exploration of the Donlin Gold project – and will continue throughout its life cycle.

Three people in front of boat on water

As part of ongoing community support efforts, we continue to make progress expanding relationships and finding common ground with Alaska Native villages through Shared Value Statements that build upon the long-term agreements with Calista and TKC that are already in place. These agreements include educational, environmental, and social initiatives that provide support for villages throughout the Y-K region. In 2022, Donlin Gold LLC signed an additional three Shared Value Statements with Alaska Native Villages bringing the total to 12. These statements and their implementation formalize current engagement with key local communities, deepen the long-term relationships already established, and address specific community needs including; water, sewer, and solid waste projects; the ice road that connects remote villages in the Y-K region; salmon and other aquatic life studies; suicide prevention programs, and other health and public safety programs. It is noteworthy that Crooked Creek, the closest community to the project site and from which the project has had many employees, recently formally expressed their support for responsible development of the Donlin Gold project. It is our goal in 2023 to increase the number of communities with Shared Value Statements with Donlin Gold LLC and ensure that we are meeting the agreed upon commitments.

Community Investments: Education, Wellness, Cultural Preservation, and Environmental Stewardship

Our community investment programs take many forms, including educational programs, community wellness initiatives, cultural preservation, and environmental stewardship. Donlin Gold LLC supports a wide range of organizations and causes including youth sports, scholarships, and search and rescue among others.

In 2022, Donlin Gold LLC continued to work with its Tribal Transportation Partners; the Native Village of Napaimute, the Akiak Native Community and the Crooked Creek Traditional Council, to build and maintain an ice road on the Kuskokwim River for safe travel between remote Kuskokwim River communities during the winter months. On average, 300 miles of ice road are constructed annually. Having accessible and safe winter roads promotes community well-being and safety by increasing participation in regional events, cultural activities, sports, and facilitates emergency services access and law enforcement travel. Furthermore, road access increases the economic wellbeing of the communities by allowing the transportation of goods, services, and supplies.

In 2022, Donlin Gold LLC also continued to work with Alaska EXCEL, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit providing supplemental academic career and technical education initiatives for rural youth and young adults across Alaska. Donlin Gold LLC has been supporting the Alaska EXCEL program since 2014. The program teaches real-life academic and career-oriented experience allowing students to receive high school credit toward graduation and concurrent college credit in certain programs. Together with Alaska EXCEL and the people of the Y-K region, our goal is to help students make a successful transition into post-secondary training or the workforce as well as encouraging students to join the Donlin Gold team through a variety of programs and workforce-oriented curriculum. To date 15 students have transitioned from Alaska EXCEL training to employment with Donlin Gold LLC. In 2022, the Alaska EXCEL program covered 5 school districts and reached approximately 525 students from the Y-K region.

Kids engaged in an activity

The Donlin Gold LLC team has a long history of helping Y-K region communities respond to emergencies. These efforts have included rescuing village residents in Crooked Creek from massive river flooding in 2011 to providing water to Tuluksak when their water system failed in 2021. In September 2022, Typhoon Merbok struck western Alaska causing extraordinary damage to communities all along the Bering Sea coast. The Donlin Gold team responded immediately by helping to meet life and safety needs. In partnership with the Alaska Community Foundation and Bethel Community Services Foundation, Donlin Gold LLC specifically worked to send food, water, and health supplies to Y-K coastal communities, several of which were without power and water. In 2022, there was also a major wildfire near the village of St. Mary’s along the Yukon River that destroyed the water supply treatment plant. Donlin Gold LLC partnered with Grant Aviation to ship needed potable water to the village.

Donlin Gold LLC, in partnership with TKC, is working with Crooked Creek in improving the village’s infrastructure to include power, water, and wastewater systems. Additionally, Donlin Gold has been a partner with Covenant House Alaska and the Bethel Community Services Foundation in the development of an action plan to address the chronic and ongoing needs of Y-K region vulnerable youth.

Collection of photos related to water

NOVAGOLD Fundraising and Community Support

Along with supporting Donlin Gold LLC’s initiatives in Alaska, NOVAGOLD recognizes the importance of supporting events in the areas where we operate.

In 2022, NOVAGOLD employees continued to participate in and contribute to the Lotus Light Food Recovery program, launched and led by NOVAGOLD Vancouver Office Manager Gia Tran. This program provides an average of 10,000 pounds of food each month donated from food warehouses, restaurants, bakeries, and grocery chains to benefit low-income meal programs and charity soup kitchens. Since the launch of the program in 2010, it has expanded to weekly donations from numerous well-known chain restaurants and grocery stores. The amount of food the program has been able to provide to multiple organizations since 2010 has also grown exponentially, and the positive impact now is more far reaching than ever before in Vancouver and the Tri-cities areas: Richmond, Surrey and Abbotsford. It includes helping migrant farm workers, low-income school programs, refugees and immigrant families, seniors, homeless shelter soup kitchens, multiple charities, and emergency food hubs.

Furthermore, in late December 2022, in response to extreme cold weather conditions, NOVAGOLD in partnership with Lotus Light and the BC Ambulance Services local unit team supported the Lotus Light Emergency Weather Alert initiative, which distributed van loads of food, and over 100 new blankets and winter jackets to the unhoused population in Vancouver’s downtown eastside.

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