NOVAGOLD Issues Notification of Put Option to Holders of its Convertible Debt
April 2, 2013 — Vancouver, British Columbia — NOVAGOLD RESOURCES INC. (TSX, NYSE-MKT: NG) today notified holders ("Holders”) of its outstanding 5.5% Convertible Notes due May 1, 2015 (the "Notes") that they have the option to require NOVAGOLD to purchase for cash all or a portion of their Notes held on May 1, 2013 (the "Put Option"). The Put Option can be exercised commencing today and expiring at 5:00 pm, Eastern Time, on May 1, 2013. NOVAGOLD will purchase of all of the Notes surrendered at a price equal to 100% of the principal amount. With approximately US$300 million in cash and cash equivalents at February 28, 2013, NOVAGOLD has a strong balance sheet and more than sufficient cash resources to repay the entire amount of US$95 million of the Notes outstanding as well as fund the advancement of its flagship Donlin Gold Project in Alaska through the permitting process.
As required by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC), NOVAGOLD will file a Tender Offer Statement (the "Statement”) with the SEC. The Statement will include a notice to Holders (the "Issuer Put Right Notice") specifying the terms and conditions of the Put Option and the procedures for its exercise. The Holders are strongly encouraged to read the Issuer Put Right Notice and other relevant documents filed with the SEC before making a decision relating to the exercise of the Put Option. Materials filed with the SEC will be available electronically without charge at the SEC's website, www.sec.gov.
Holders may withdraw any Notes previously surrendered for purchase at any time prior to 5:00 pm, Eastern Time, on May 1, 2013. Notes that are not surrendered pursuant to the Put Option will remain outstanding in accordance with the terms of the Notes and the indenture.
NOVAGOLD will pay accrued and unpaid interest on the Notes through April 30, 2013 to holders of record on April 15, 2013 regardless of whether the Put Option is exercised or not. As a result, there will be no accrued and unpaid interest on the Notes on May 1, 2013.
Neither NOVAGOLD nor its Board of Directors or staff is making any recommendation as to whether any Holder should or should not exercise the Put Option.
BNY Mellon (formerly known as The Bank of New York) is acting as paying agent for the Put Option. Copies of the Issuer Put Right Notice and additional information relating to the Put Option may be obtained from BNY Mellon by calling (212) 815-4869.
NOVAGOLD is a well-financed precious metals company engaged in the exploration and development of mineral properties in North America. Its flagship asset is the 50%-owned Donlin Gold project in Alaska, one of the safest jurisdictions in the world. With a total of approximately 34 million ouncesof gold in the Proven and Probable reserve categories (505 million tonnes at an average grade of approximately 2.1 grams per tonne), Donlin Gold is regarded to be one of the largest, and most prospective known gold deposits in the world. According to the updated Feasibility Study (as defined below), once in production, Donlin Gold should average approximately 1.5 million ounces of gold per year for the first five years, followed by decades of more than one million ounces of gold per year on a 100% basis. The Donlin Gold project has substantial exploration potential beyond the designed footprint which currently covers only three kilometers of an approximately eight-kilometer strike length of the property. Permitting is underway for the Donlin Gold project, a clearly defined process expected to take 3-4 years. NOVAGOLD also owns 50% of the Galore Creek copper-gold-silver project located in northern British Columbia. According to the 2011 Pre-Feasibility Study, Galore Creek is expected to be the largest copper mine in Canada, a tier-one jurisdiction, when it is put into production. NOVAGOLD is currently evaluating opportunities to sell all or a portion of its interest in Galore Creek and would apply the proceeds toward the development of Donlin Gold. NOVAGOLD has a strong track record of forging collaborative partnerships, both with local communities and with major mining companies.
Scientific and Technical Information
Scientific and technical information contained herein with respect to Donlin Gold is derived from the "Donlin Creek Gold Project Alaska, USA NI 43-101 Technical Report on Second Updated Feasibility Study” dated November 18, 2011 compiled by AMEC (the "Feasibility Study”). Kirk Hanson, P.E., Technical Director, Open Pit Mining, North America, (AMEC, Reno), Gordon Seibel, R.M. SME, Principal Geologist, (AMEC, Reno), Tony Lipiec, P.Eng. Manager Process Engineering (AMEC, Vancouver) are the Qualified Persons responsible for the preparation of the Feasibility Study, each of whom are independent "qualified persons” as defined by NI 43-101.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes certain "forward-looking information” and "forward-looking statements” (collectively "forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, including the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein including, without limitation, the timing of permitting and potential development of Donlin Gold, statements relating to NOVAGOLD's future operating and financial performance, outlook, and the potential sale of all or part of NOVAGOLD's interest in Galore Creek are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as "expects”, "anticipates”, "believes”, "intends”, "estimates”, "potential”, "possible”, and similar expressions, or statements that events, conditions, or results "will”, "may”, "could”, or "should” occur or be achieved. These forward-looking statements may include statements regarding perceived merit of properties; exploration results and budgets; mineral reserves and resource estimates; work programs; capital expenditures; timelines; strategic plans; completion of transactions; market prices for precious and base metals; intended use of proceeds; or other statements that are not statements of fact. Forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from NOVAGOLD's expectations include the uncertainties involving the need for additional financing to explore and develop properties and availability of financing in the debt and capital markets; uncertainties involved in the interpretation of drilling results and geological tests and the estimation of reserves and resources; the need for continued cooperation with Barrick Gold Corporation and Teck Resources Limited for the continued exploration and development of the Donlin Gold and Galore Creek properties; the need for cooperation of government agencies and native groups in the development and operation of properties; the need to obtain permits and governmental approvals; risks of construction and mining projects such as accidents, equipment breakdowns, bad weather, non-compliance with environmental and permit requirements, unanticipated variation in geological structures, ore grades or recovery rates; unexpected cost increases, which could include significant increases in estimated capital and operating costs; fluctuations in metal prices and currency exchange rates; and other risk and uncertainties disclosed in NOVAGOLD's Annual Information Form for the year-ended November 30, 2012, filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities, and NOVAGOLD's annual report on Form 40-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and in other NOVAGOLD reports and documents filed with applicable securities regulatory authorities from time to time. NOVAGOLD's forward-looking statements reflect the beliefs, opinions and projections on the date the statements are made. NOVAGOLD assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements of beliefs, opinions, projections, or other factors, should they change, except as required by law.
Cautionary Note to United States Investors
This press release has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the securities laws in effect in Canada, which differ from the requirements of U.S. securities laws. Unless otherwise indicated, all resource and reserve estimates included in this press release have been prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101”) and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum Definition Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves. NI 43-101 is a rule developed by the Canadian Securities Administrators which establishes standards for all public disclosure an issuer makes of scientific and technical information concerning mineral projects. Canadian standards, including NI 43-101, differ significantly from the requirements of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC”), and resource and reserve information contained herein may not be comparable to similar information disclosed by U.S. companies. In particular, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the term "resource” does not equate to the term "reserves”. Under U.S. standards, mineralization may not be classified as a "reserve” unless the determination has been made that the mineralization could be economically and legally produced or extracted at the time the reserve determination is made. The SEC's disclosure standards normally do not permit the inclusion of information concerning "measured mineral resources”, "indicated mineral resources” or "inferred mineral resources” or other descriptions of the amount of mineralization in mineral deposits that do not constitute "reserves” by U.S. standards in documents filed with the SEC. Investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of mineral deposits in these categories will ever be converted into reserves. U.S. investors should also understand that "inferred mineral resources” have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an "inferred mineral resource” will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Under Canadian rules, estimated "inferred mineral resources” may not form the basis of feasibility or pre-feasibility studies except in rare cases. Investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an "inferred mineral resource” exists or is economically or legally mineable. Disclosure of "contained ounces” in a resource is permitted disclosure under Canadian regulations; however, the SEC normally only permits issuers to report mineralization that does not constitute "reserves” by SEC standards as in-place tonnage and grade without reference to unit measures. The requirements of NI 43-101 for identification of "reserves” are also not the same as those of the SEC, and reserves reported by NOVAGOLD in compliance with NI 43-101 may not qualify as "reserves” under SEC standards. Accordingly, information concerning mineral deposits set forth herein may not be comparable with information made public by companies that report in accordance with U.S. standards.
Proven and Probable reserves of 0.57 million ounces and 33.28 million ounces respectively (504.8 million tonnes at an average grade of approximately 2.09 grams per tonne) which are included in Measured and Indicated resources of 0.63 million ounces and 38.38 million ounces respectively (541 million tonnes at an average grade of approximately 2.2 grams per tonne). See the Feasibility Study for further information.
Toll free: 1-866-669-6227 http://www.novagold.com/