Unveiling world-classier Donlin deposit
Mining Explorers 2021 - January 27, 2021
Last updated 1/26/2022 at 4:16pm
Donlin Gold LLC partners Novagold Resources Inc. and Barrick Gold Corp. completed a roughly 24,200-meter drill program during 2021 that will likely provide the final data needed for an optimized plan for a mine at the world-class gold project in Southwest Alaska.
With 504.81 million metric tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 2.09 grams per metric ton (33.9 million oz) gold, the Donlin Gold deposit is already particularly high-grade when you consider its magnitude.
Optimization drilling over the previous two years, however, tapped fantastic mineralization, even by the standards of this world-class gold deposit in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Southwest Alaska.
This drilling focused on validating and increasing the confidence in recent geologic modeling concepts for the world-class gold deposit in preparation for updating the feasibility study.
Highlights from the 2020 program include: 51.2 meters averaging 4.6 g/t gold in hole DC20-1930; 47.7 meters averaging 4.8 g/t gold in DC20-1932; 18 meters averaging 10.5 g/t gold in DC20-1938; and 22.6 meters averaging 8.7 g/t gold in DC20-1948.
Early results from the 2021 drilling indicate variable controls on mineralization in different deposit areas, with more continuous mineralization hosted in intrusives within the ACMA area and more discrete intervals occurring in sediments and intrusives at Lewis.
Significant new high-grade drill hole intercepts at ACMA and in areas between ACMA and Lewis point toward potential feeder zones of the world-class gold system at Donlin.
Highlights include 5.74 meters averaging 42.2 g/t gold in hole DC21-1961; 40.97 meters averaging 10.5 g/t gold in DC21-1963A; 47.78 meters averaging 9 g/t gold in DC21-1969; and 92.02 meters averaging 7.8 g/t gold in hole DC21-1970.
"As with last year's program, drilling has delivered multiple examples of outstanding gold intercepts," said Novagold Resources President and CEO Greg Lang.
The assays and logging of core from the optimization drilling at Donlin further increases confidence in recent geologic modeling concepts.
"The 2021 drill program is validating our geologic modeling concepts; in particular with regards to demonstrating the controls over mineralization in the different parts of the deposits," said Barrick Gold President and CEO Mark Bristow. "This improved understanding is a necessary step towards optimizing the mine design and progressing the project up the value chain."
This progress up the value chain includes an expected updated resource estimate for Donlin early this year, followed by an updated feasibility study for the world-class gold deposit.
In October, Novagold reported that the Donlin Gold LLC board authorized an extra $3 million for the 2021 budget to advance studies and increase staffing needed to lay the foundation for the new feasibility study.
"While all of this effort forms a solid foundation for a new feasibility study, we have never ignored one of the project's most important attributes: Donlin Gold's truly exceptional exploration potential," said Lang. "It is notable that the project's gold endowment is contained within only three kilometers of an eight-kilometer mineralized belt, and that even this only represents five percent of the total mineral land package. And, as we often say, the next Donlin could be found at Donlin as we continue to produce some of the best assay results for an open-pit gold project in the industry."