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  4.  | Donlin Gold Exceeds Modeled Expectations in Successful 2020 Drilling Program

Donlin Gold Exceeds Modeled Expectations in Successful 2020 Drilling Program

by | Feb 1, 2021 | Featured, Mining, News


In a year when many exploration drill programs were cancelled due to the pandemic, NOVAGOLD’s Donlin Gold project was fortunate to have top drilling professionals on site that exceeded expectations by completing drilling ahead of schedule and under budget, including surpassing the number of planned drill holes.

The Donlin Gold 2020 drill program commenced in February and was paused temporarily in early April due to COVID-19. Activities resumed in May following the reopening of certain aspects of the State’s economy by Alaska’s Governor, and after consultation with employees, contractors, and regional villages regarding COVID-19 protocols and other safety measures.

The primary objective of the 2020 drill program was to validate recently developed geologic and resource modeling concepts. 

To date, results in both the proposed ACMA and Lewis pit areas continue to exceed modeled expectations, with higher grades observed over narrower intervals, particularly in sedimentary rocks.

Once all assay results are received and incorporated into the model, the results are expected to drive an update of mining schedules and life of mine business plans. As of January 2021, assays have been reported for over 70 percent of the planned program. Final assay results for the 2020 drill program are expected to be reported in the coming months.

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Alaska Business June 2023 Cover

June 2023

Donlin’s results are some of the best in the gold industry for a large open pit deposit. The numbers tell the story. Here are the top ten assay results received to-date from the 2020 drill program:


  • DC20-1937 intersected 103.88 m grading 6.1 g/t gold, starting at 390.19 m drilled depth, including a sub-interval of 22.15 m grading 12.5 g/t, starting at 459.17 m drilled depth;
  • DC20-1871 intersected 41.91 m grading 11.6 g/t gold, starting at 30.35 m drilled depth, including sub-intervals of 4.00 m grading 17.0 g/t, starting at 38.24 m drilled depth, and 6.48 m grading 38.8 g/t gold, starting at 55.78 m drilled depth;
  • DC20-1903 intersected 8.14 m grading 45.3 g/t gold, starting at 99.39 m drilled depth, including a sub-interval of 6.84 m grading 52.1 g/t, starting at 99.39 m drilled depth;
  • DC20-1877 intersected 4.17 m grading 80.6 g/t gold, starting at 123.48 m drilled depth, including a sub-interval of 3.15 m grading 106.2 g/t, starting at 124.50 m drilled depth;
  • DC20-1888 intersected 6.93 m grading 43.1 g/t gold, starting at 178.58 m drilled depth, including a sub-interval of 3.25 m grading 90.5 g/t, starting at 180.26 m drilled depth;
  • DC20-1912 intersected 37.30 m grading 7.0 g/t gold, starting at 249.70 m drilled depth, including a sub-interval of 3.30 m grading 24.5 g/t, starting at 251.70 m drilled depth;
  • DC20-1866 intersected 45.91 m grading 5.0 g/t gold, starting at 35.39 m drilled depth, including a sub-interval of 11.95 m grading 10.4 g/t, starting at 63.35 m drilled depth;
  • DC20-1878 intersected 19.77 m grading 11.3 g/t gold, starting at 48.86 m drilled depth, including a sub-interval of 7.00 m grading 25.2 g/t, starting at 54.86 m drilled depth;
  • DC20-1886 intersected 33.88 m grading 6.5 g/t gold, starting at 218.20 m drilled depth, including a sub-interval of 7.94 m grading 11.3 g/t, starting at 224.20 m drilled depth; and
  • DC20-1930 intersected 39.15 m grading 4.3 g/t gold, starting at 148.85 m drilled depth, including a sub-interval of 5.60 m grading 12.5 g/t, starting at 182.40 m drilled depth.

Building on the outstanding work to date, and now these exciting new results, NOVAGOLD is working with Barrick’s management and technical team to advance the project in a financially disciplined manner with a strong focus on engineering excellence, environmental stewardship, safety, and community engagement.

The partners expect to integrate the drill program results into the geologic model, evaluate the timing to update the Donlin Gold feasibility study, followed by engineering which forms the basis of an execution plan and ultimately a construction decision.

To complete the model update, additional confirmation and extension drilling are planned in 2021, focusing on the continuity and structural controls of the higher-grade mineralization.

To minimize the risk posed by COVID-19, NOVAGOLD will continue to be guided by a set of wide-ranging policies that are applied at every NOVAGOLD-related facility. Best practices apply, from its offices in Salt Lake City and Vancouver to the Donlin Gold operation itself.

Enhanced COVID-19 health protocols will remain firmly in place for the foreseeable future at Donlin Gold, with the objective of protecting the health and safety of Donlin Gold’s employees, contractors, and their families, as well as local communities.

Read the full report from NOVAGOLD, which includes 2020 financial results and a message from NOVAGOLD President Gregory A. Lang.

Alaska Business June 2023 cover
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This year the Alaska Railroad is celebrating 100 years of transportation people and cargo around Alaska. While the railroad is one of the states oldest transporters, it certainly isn’t the only one, and in this issue of Alaska Business we also check in on the Marine Highway, Span Alaska, and the White Pass & Yukon Route. For those interested in Southeast, our focus on that region provides updates on Kensington Mine, Tongass FCU, the troll fishery, and Juneau’s growing landfill.

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