Novagold honored for corporate excellence

 

Last updated 12/27/2018 at 10:56am

World class gold mine project Yukon Kuskokwim region SW Alaska

Novagold Resources Inc.

Novagold Resources has been honored with the AEMA Platinum Award for Corporate Excellence for its part in incorporating a strong culture of safety, environmental stewardship, and community engagement at the 39-million-oz Donlin Gold project in Southwest Alaska.

The American Exploration & Mining Association Dec. 19 announced that it honored Novagold Resources Inc. with the AEMA Platinum Award for Corporate Excellence at the association's 124th Annual Meeting in Spokane, Washington. The award was bestowed to Novagold for its part in designing the Donlin Gold project to incorporate a strong culture of safety, environmental stewardship, and community engagement with the potential to generate meaningful benefits throughout Alaska for many decades to come.

"Novagold is honored to receive AEMA's 2018 Platinum Award for Corporate Excellence for its work on the Donlin Gold project in southwestern Alaska," said Ron Rimmelman, vice president, environment, health, safety and sustainability, Novagold Resources.

Novagold owns a 50 percent interest in Donlin Gold LLC, the joint venture formed to permit and develop the 39-million-ounce Donlin Gold deposit on Alaska Native lands, Barrick Gold Corp. owns the other half.


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"We also would like to thank our partners, Barrick Gold, and two Alaska Native corporations, Calista Corporation and The Kuskokwim Corporation as well as the Donlin Gold, LLC partnership team in Alaska for their extraordinary work and commitment to the project."

A feasibility study completed for Donlin in 2011 envisions a 53,500-metric-ton-per-day operation that is estimated to average roughly 1.1 million oz gold annually over a projected 27-year mine-life.

This massive gold output, which more than matches the gold produced by all other Alaska mines, is based on the 504.8 million metric tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 2.09 grams per metric ton (33.85 million oz) gold currently slated for mining at Donlin.

In April, following an extensive six-year environmental review process, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the final Environmental Impact Statement for the Donlin Gold project, and in August Donlin Gold LLC received a single federal Record of Decision from the Corps and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The joint record of decision was a landmark issuance, as Donlin Gold is the first project to receive a single, multi-agency record of decision since the implementation of the One Federal Decision policy established by U.S. Executive Order 13807. Signed by President Donald Trump in August, this executive order requires federal agencies to cooperate in the processing of environmental reviews and authorization decisions.


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Donlin Gold worked on a daily basis with the Corps and BLM staff and management to ensure that they had all the information they needed to reach a strong and nationally precedent-setting decision.

"Receipt of the first ever joint ROD from the Corps and BLM was a major milestone in advancing Donlin Gold, which represents one of the world's largest and highest-grade known open pit deposits," Rimmelman said.

Along with the record of decision, the Corps issued a combined Clean Water Act Section 404 and Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 permit, the major federal authorization needed for developing a mine at Donlin Gold, and BLM issued an offer to lease for the right-of-way for the sections of a 316-mile natural gas pipeline that would cross federal lands.

"The issuance of the Donlin Gold ROD and key project permits is a significant milestone for both partners," Barrick Gold Executive Vice President of Exploration and Growth Rob Krcmarov said at the time. "It would not have been possible without exceptional professionalism of the Donlin Gold team as well as members of the Corps, BLM, and other federal and state agencies."

AEMA said the record of decision and federal permit issuances marked a major step in the project's effort to secure all the key approvals needed to construct and operate the mine.

Exemplary record

As one of the largest private sector development opportunities in Southwest Alaska, Novagold is working with Barrick to ensure the project will benefit the entire region. Donlin Gold has demonstrated its commitment to the Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Southwest Alaska by prioritizing local hiring and preserving the region's way of life,

To develop the mine outlined in the feasibility study, Donlin Gold anticipates an annual payroll of US$375 million to pay the roughly 3,000 workers during the three- to four-year construction phase. Once in production, the company expects a payroll of more than US$100 million per year for the minimum of 800 workers that would be needed at the mine currently being considered. In addition to this direct employment, Donlin Gold is expected to spur about another US$60 million a year worth of jobs.

While not all these jobs will be filled by residents of the region, history indicates that many will. Over the past 20 years, Novagold and Barrick have built a reputation for local hire. By 2008, nearly 90 percent of the more than 200 workers at the advanced exploration project were Calista shareholders, or their descendants.

The safety record of these workers shows that Donlin Gold is living up to their motto: "Every Person Going Home Safe and Healthy Every Day."

For seven consecutive years, Donlin Gold has been honored with the Barrick Merit of Safety Award, a distinction that recognizes 365 days of zero loss-time incidents. Additionally, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development recognized Donlin Gold with an award for accomplishing more than a million work hours with zero loss-time incidents; an amazing achievement that is topped by the fact that the project has now achieved more than 2 million hours worked without a loss-time incident.

While Donlin Gold has built a reputation for local hire, this commitment was enshrined in a surface-land-use agreement with The Kuskokwim Corporation, which owns the surface rights to Donlin property.

In addition to job preference, the agreement provides direct compensation to TKC through payments; commits to a coordinated and consultative approach regarding annual project planning, reclamation and preparation of a subsistence harvest plan for affected surface lands; and gives preference to TKC for contracts.

Novagold is also a participant in several community programs in the region and Donlin Gold is one of the four principal sponsors of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, which runs through this region.

"Novagold has established itself as an exemplar in the mining industry by demonstrating that high standards lead to a successful business model that benefits employees, their families, the projects' communities, and their shareholders," said AEMA Executive Director Laura Skaer. "Additionally, receiving the first single, multi-agency ROD makes Donlin Gold a landmark project that illustrates the tremendous success of One Federal Decision. AEMA is proud to recognize Novagold for their exceptional Donlin Gold project."

–SHANE LASLEY

AEMA Platinum Award Corporate Excellence Novagold Calista Native hire

Novagold Resources Inc.

Novagold is renowned for its exceptional local hire practices at the Donlin Gold project in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Southwest Alaska.

 

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