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Donlin Gold 2022 Budget Largest in a Decade, Based on 2021 Drilling Results

Mar 8, 2022 | Mining, News

A cross-section of cores drilled during the 2021 field season at the two proposed pits of the Donlin Gold mine site.

A cross-section of cores drilled during the 2021 field season at the two proposed pits of the Donlin Gold mine site.


The 2022 budget for the Donlin Gold project in the upper Kuskokwim region is set at $60 million, split equally among owners Barrick Gold Corporation and Novagold Resources.

“Invigorating” Increase

The drill program for the upcoming year, the largest for the project in a decade, is designed to update geologic modeling and interpretation for a resource model. It also includes engineering activities for an updated feasibility study. The plan is for approximately 34,000 meters of in-pit and below-pit drilling, as well as support for fieldwork and permitting for the Alaska Dam Safety Certifications, environmental studies, and external affairs efforts.

Barrick President and CEO Mark Bristow says, “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 significant program for 2022 will help guide us on future drill targets and the path forward with the project.”

Novagold President and CEO Greg Lang adds, “The increased level of activity, with approximately 65 people on site for the 2022 field season and three of four 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.”

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The announcement comes as Donlin Gold releases final assay results for its 2021 drill program, which found numerous high-grade gold intercepts and important grade continuity.

The 2021 drill program was completed in September with seventy-nine holes drilled for a total of 24,264 meters. 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.

Five of the top intervals received from the final set of 2021 assay results 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.

Boring Results

Dan Graham, general manager of Donlin Gold, says, “The expanded 2021 drill program was a success because of the incredible work by the Donlin Gold team, Calista, and TKC [The Kuskokwim Corporation], and our collective dedication to the highest standards of safety, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.”

Once the 2021 drill data has been incorporated into an updated resource model, Donlin Gold anticipates 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 board.

With approximately 39 million ounces of gold grading 2.24 grams per tonne, Donlin Gold hosts one of the largest and highest-grade undeveloped open-pit gold endowments in the world. Planned pits are sited to occupy 3 kilometers of an 8-kilometer mineralized belt, located on less than 5 percent of Donlin Gold’s land position.

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