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Donlin Gold Announces Final Assay Results for 2021 Drill Program

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Donlin Gold Announces Final Assay Results for 2021 Drill Program

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights Include Numerous High-Grade Gold Intercepts Coupled With Important Grade Continuity

 

2022 Project Budget is Largest in Over a Decade

 

Donlin Gold LLC owned 50:50 by Barrick Gold Corporation (TSX: ABX) (NYSE: GOLD) and NOVAGOLD RESOURCES INC. (TSX, NYSE American: NG), is pleased to report the release of the final set of assay results from the 2021 drill program. The remaining assay results for the 22 partial drill holes reported in previous releases and complete assay results for the final 21 drill holes of the 2021 drill program are reported below.

  • Comprehensive 79-hole, 24,264-meter 2021 drill program produced multiple high-grade gold intercepts. The results support the existing global resource estimate, the recent modelling concepts, and strategic mine planning work
  • With extensive communication and the application of health and safety protocols, COVID-19 cases at site during 2021 were minimal and there were no lost-time incidents
  • With the largest project budget in more than a decade, the owners have a plan in place to advance the Donlin Gold project up the value chain in 2022 and position the project to be able to proceed with the preparation of an updated feasibility study, subject to Donlin Gold LLC Board approval
  • Donlin Gold partnered with local communities in 2021 to provide support and resources in health and safety, environmental management, training and education, as well as cultural initiatives in the Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) region
  • Additional State permits for the project were received at the end of 2021 – the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued two Special Area Permits required for pipeline facilities. In December 2021, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation approved a third extension of the air quality permit

 

Statements by the Owners

 

Barrick President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow said, “It is encouraging to see a significant drill program for 2022 to further increase our understanding of the ore body, driven by our knowledge gained from the 2021 drill program. This year’s drilling campaign will focus on the potential upside of the Acma pit at depth, where there is still limited drilling, focusing on the upside for the pit. We will also focus on grid drilling on Lewis and Divide as we also look to un constrain the pit with additional at depth targets. This significant program for 2022 will help guide us on future drill targets and the path forward with the project.”

 

Greg Lang, NOVAGOLD’s President and CEO, said, “The 2021 drill campaign finished strong with some high-grade intercepts and some of the best drill results for an open-pit gold project industrywide. The increased level of activity, with approximately 65 people on site for the 2022 field season and three of four drill rigs operating at Donlin Gold, continues to build momentum and excitement for the future of the project. It is invigorating to have drills turning for the first winter program in years. We are grateful to our Native Corporation partners at Calista Corporation (“Calista”) and The Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC), as well as to our contractors, suppliers, local and State partners, who have supported the project and worked with us to reach these important milestones. With activities well laid out for the year ahead, our combined experienced team will continue to advance Donlin Gold up the value chain.”

 

Dan Graham, General Manager of Donlin Gold added, “The expanded 2021 drill program was a success because of the incredible work by the Donlin Gold team, Calista and TKC, and our collective dedication to the highest standards of safety, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship. We are grateful that, even while expanding the 2021 drill program mid-summer, COVID-19 cases at site were minimal and there were no lost-time incidents. Once built, the Donlin Gold project is expected to provide significant benefits for the Y-K region and the State of Alaska for generations to come.”

 

2021 Drill Program Advances Project Knowledge and Lays Foundation for Larger 2022 Program

 

The 2021 drill program was completed in September with 79 holes drilled for a total of 24,264 meters. The final set of assay results released today includes assays for 21 complete holes and 22 partial holes, encompassing the remaining approximate 8,500 meters of length drilled. The primary objective of the 2021 drill program was to validate recent geologic modeling concepts to support future feasibility work and test for extensions of high-grade zones.

 

The original 2021 drill program was expanded by 13 drill holes to improve our understanding of the structural controls on mineralization. This additional drilling has been instrumental in supporting our updated ore domaining approach and will be expanded in 2022. The drill program included confirmation and extension drilling that focused on further testing of orebody continuity and structural controls, as well as data collection for geotechnical and geometallurgical purposes.

 

The success of the expanded 2021 drill program delivered excellent drill results facilitated by our efficient and effective onsite team with great attention to the health and safety of our workforce. During the 2021 drill program season, 70 percent of Donlin Gold direct hires were Alaska Natives from 20 Y-K communities. Out of approximately 171,310 hours worked, we recorded four cases of COVID-19 at the Donlin Gold project site. The affected individuals fully recovered. Credit must go to all our dedicated partners, in particular Calista and TKC, as well as other Tribal groups in the Y-K region who share the objective of protecting community health and safety. Donlin Gold continues to implement strict COVID-19 mitigation protocols to keep employees, their families, contractors, and members of the community safe and healthy.

 

Once the 2021 drill data has been incorporated into an updated resource model, it is anticipated that the owners will determine updated mining schedules and life of mine business plans prior to shifting to an updated feasibility study, subject to a formal decision by the Donlin Gold LLC Board to proceed.

 

Five of the top intervals received from the final set of 2021 assay results released today include:

  • DC21-2017 intersected 19.00 m grading 18.23 g/t gold starting at 144.53 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 14.31 m grading 23.49 g/t gold starting at 144.53 m drilled depth;
  • DC21-1994 intersected 77.56 m grading 3.51 g/t gold starting at 262.56 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 7.91 m grading 12.39 g/t gold starting at 322.94 m drilled depth;
  • DC21-2015 intersected 43.01 m grading 5.04 g/t gold starting at 27.16 m drilled depth, including a sub interval of 5.99 m grading 11.81 g/t gold starting at 29.22 m drilled depth;
  • DC21-2019 intersected 28.23 m grading 4.40 g/t gold starting at 156.26 m drilled depth; and,
  • DC21-1998 intersected 45.83 m grading 3.04 g/t gold starting at 103.55 m drilled depth.

 

  • Earlier assay results from the 2021 drill program were disclosed in media releases on September 2 and December 1, 2021
  • Drill-hole collar locations and five of the top intervals since December 1, 2021 are shown in Figure 1; and a longitudinal section view of the ACMA and Lewis Deposits is shown in Figure 2
  • Drill-hole orientations, depths and significant intervals are shown in the Appendix at the end of this release, in Tables 1, 2, and 3

 

In Partnership with Local Communities, Donlin Gold Provided Extensive Support to the Y-K Region

 

Donlin Gold worked with its Alaska Native partners, Calista and TKC, as well as other key representatives of Y-K communities, to support health and safety, environmental management, training and education, and cultural initiatives in the Y-K region.

 

Some of these initiatives included: i) the sponsorship of the Calricaraq (“to practice good health”) team from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation to travel to area villages to support residents and families who have lost loved ones to suicide – a heightened challenge in remote villages, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic; ii) sponsoring and participating in the Lower Kuskokwim School District’s annual College and Career fair, held virtually this year due to Covid, with 42 vendors and 100 students in attendance; iii) partnering with KSKO Radio to purchase and distribute hand-held radios for five middle Kuskokwim villages, expanding the reach of public radio to communities where internet connectivity is lacking; and iv) collaborating with 26 villages throughout the Y-K region in the fourth annual “In It For The Long Haul” backhaul project last summer to remove 180,000 pounds of hazardous and electronic waste – the most waste ever removed in a single season since the project inception.

 

Donlin Gold 2022 Project Budget is Largest in Over a Decade

 

The 2022 budget for Donlin Gold LLC (on a 100% basis) is set at $60 million, split equally by the two owners. It is the largest project budget in more than a decade and is designed to update geologic modelling and interpretation work for an updated resource model and includes engineering activities for use in an updated project feasibility study. Approximately 34,000 meters of in-pit, and below-pit drilling is planned under the current scope, as well as support for fieldwork and permitting for the Alaska Dam Safety Certifications, environmental studies, and external affairs efforts.

 

The owners will continue to advance the Donlin Gold project as they have done for many years in a financially disciplined manner with a strong focus on engineering excellence, environmental stewardship, a strong safety culture, and active community engagement.

 

About Donlin Gold

 

The Donlin Gold project is located in Alaska, the second largest gold-producing state in the U.S. With approximately 39 million ounces of gold grading 2.24 grams per tonne in the measured and indicated mineral resource categories (100 percent basis)1, Donlin Gold hosts one of the largest and highest-grade undeveloped open-pit gold endowments in the world. The planned pits in which the existing resources are sited occupy only three kilometers of an eight-kilometer mineralized belt, which itself is located on less than five percent of Donlin Gold’s land position. Current activities at Donlin Gold are focused on the drill program, optimization efforts, community outreach, and advancing the remaining State permitting actions.

 

Donlin Gold supports the Alaska Native communities both surrounding the project and within the State as a whole. This commitment underpins Donlin Gold’s approach to developing the project and is also reflected in the way in which the asset itself is held. An important factor that distinguishes Donlin Gold from most other mining assets in Alaska is that the project is located on private land designated for mining activities five decades ago. Donlin Gold has entered into life-of-mine agreements with Calista, which owns the subsurface mineral rights and some of the surface land rights, and TKC, a collection of 10 village corporations, which owns most of the surface land rights, and is committed to providing employment opportunities, scholarships to Calista and TKC Shareholders, and preferential contract considerations to Calista and TKC. These agreements also include royalties which are subject to a revenue-sharing structure established in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, which resolved Alaska Native land claims and allotted 44 million acres of land for use by Alaska Native Corporations. Additionally, our long-term commitment to economic development in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region is exemplified by Donlin Gold’s support of TKC’s initiative to launch energy and infrastructure projects in middle Kuskokwim villages. These partnerships, activities, and programs are illustrative of the commitment to sustainable and responsible development of the Donlin Gold project for the benefit of all stakeholders.

 

_____________________________________
1 Donlin Gold data as per the 2021 Technical Report (as defined herein). Donlin Gold measured resources of approximately 8 Mt grading 2.52 g/t and indicated resources of approximately 534 Mt grading 2.24 g/t, each on a 100% basis, of which Barrick and NOVAGOLD each own 50%. Exclusive of mineral reserves, Donlin Gold possesses measured resources of approximately 1 Mt grading 2.23 g/t and indicated resources of approximately 69 Mt grading 2.44 g/t. Mineral resources have been estimated in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”).

 

FIGURE 1 Drill Hole Collar Locations is available at 

https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/e280a5c1-83bd-4f25-b225-ca9eed8a1d15

 

Depicted grid system is based on NAD83 UTM zone 4N coordinates. Longitudinal Section View orientation below taken at A – A’ orientation depicted above.

 

FIGURE 2 Longitudinal Section View of the ACMA and Lewis Deposits is available at 

https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/4109896e-bd29-46ce-8866-887a3c62d6c6

 

QA/QC Procedures

 

The QA/QC procedures for the 2021 Donlin Gold project drill program and sampling protocol were developed and managed by Donlin Gold and overseen by Barrick and NOVAGOLD. The chain of custody from the drill site to the sample preparation facility was continuously monitored. All samples are HQ-diameter core. Approximately 94% core recovery was achieved during the 2021 drill program. Core was logged, cut, and sampled at site by Donlin Gold employees. Samples were primarily collected on one- to two-meter lengths. Sampled half-core was crushed in Bureau Veritas’ Fairbanks, Alaska sample preparation facility. Crushed samples were sent to a Bureau Veritas lab in either Vancouver, British Columbia or Juneau, Alaska for pulverizing and gold assays and pulverized splits to an ALS Limited lab in Vancouver, British Columbia for multi-element analysis. At least 14 quality control samples (four standards, four coarse blanks, two pulp blanks, two coarse duplicates, and two pulp duplicates) were inserted into each batch of 80 samples. The review of the quality control samples did not indicate any bias or error. There are no known factors that would materially affect the accuracy or reliability of the drill program data referred to in this media release.

 

Downhole directional surveys were completed on all reported completed holes by Boart Longyear drill operators, and collar surveys were completed on all holes by Professional Licensed Surveyors from Brice Engineering LLC.

 

Posted February 28, 2022

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