Donlin Gold, the gift that keeps on giving
Mining Explorers 2022 - January 19, 2023
Last updated 1/18/2023 at 6:08pm
With drills tapping up to 42.3 meters of 30.68 grams per metric ton gold, the 2022 exploration season at the world-class Donlin Gold mine project in Southwest Alaska has been exciting and rewarding, but expected, for partners Novagold Resources Inc. and Barrick Gold Corp.
Being advanced toward a production decision by Donlin Gold LLC – a joint venture owned equally by Novagold and Barrick – this enormous project hosts 541.3 million metric tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 2.24 grams per metric ton (39 million oz) gold.
A feasibility study completed in 2011 detailed plans for a mine at Donlin that would produce more than 1 million oz of gold annually over an initial 25 years of mining.
Toward the goal of updating this decade-old feasibility study ahead of a mine development decision for Donlin, the project partners invested roughly $64 million into a 2022 program that included 42,334 meters of drilling that cut the extraordinary gold intercepts that have come to be expected at the project.
Highlights from the 2022 infill drilling in the ACMA and Lewis pit areas of the Donlin Gold deposit include:
• 18.65 meters averaging 10.78 g/t gold from a depth of 197.6 meters in hole DC22-2040.
• 52.27 meters averaging 14.63 g/t gold from a depth of 232.95 meters in hole DC22-2040.
• 73.98 meters averaging 4.21 g/t gold from a depth of 99.82 meters in hole DC22-2056.
• 19.74 meters averaging 34.17 g/t gold from a depth of 162.2 meters in hole DC22-2063.
• 60.96 meters averaging 12.35 g/t gold from a depth of 236.2 meters in hole DC22-2063.
• 42.28 meters averaging 30.68 g/t gold from a depth of 117.5 meters in hole DC22-2068.
• 48.96 meters averaging 20.61 g/t gold from a depth of 150.1 meters in hole DC22-2077.
"We refer to Donlin as 'the gift that keeps on giving,'" said Novagold Resources President and CEO Greg Lang. "Unsurprisingly, therefore, we continue to be most encouraged by the outstanding drill results of the ACMA and Lewis pits."
Given the outstanding results from the first 34,000 meters of drilling in a program that was running ahead of schedule, the Donlin Gold board approved an extra 8,331 meters of drilling in 43 infill holes that will provide added information as the project partners finalize an updated feasibility study ahead of a development decision for the world-class gold mine project.
"As expected, the drill program for 2022 continues to enhance our understanding of the ore bodies that make up the Donlin project," said Barrick Gold President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow. "Also encouraging is that this year's drilling campaign is ahead of schedule and results so far support the most recent modelling concepts as we focus on moving the project toward a feasibility study decision."
The 150 employees, contractors, and student interns at the Donlin site – a majority of which are local hires representing 24 Yukon-Kuskokwim communities in Southwest Alaska – are working on a two-week rotation schedule and continue to advance the project activities rapidly and safely.
"Donlin Gold's top priorities continue to be the health and safety of our people following the best practices in environmental stewardship for the benefit of the people of Alaska," said Donlin Gold General Manager Dan Graham. "We could not be more pleased with the work of our 2022 Donlin Gold site crew. While exceeding productivity rates and running ahead of schedule, the overall morale of employees has been high and our safety record has remained strong."
In addition to drilling, the 2022 Donlin fieldwork includes the collection of additional data for Alaska Dam Safety Certifications and environmental studies.