Barrick Gold and its joint venture partner Novagold Resources have secured permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the Donlin Gold project in Alaska.

Figure 1

Image: The Donlin gold mine’s 2017 drill plan map. Photo: courtesy of NOVAGOLD RESOURCES INC.

The US Army Corps of Engineers and the US BLM have issued a single Federal Record of Decision (ROD) for the project.

Additionally, the US Army Corps issued a combined permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act to proceed with the gold project.

The BLM has issued the offer to lease for the pipeline right-of-way to Donlin Gold project.

The ROD for the Donlin Gold project marks the completion of the multi-year federal environmental review process, Barrick said.

Barrick exploration and growth executive vice-president Rob Krcmarov said: “As one of the largest undeveloped gold deposits in the world, Donlin Gold represents exceptional optionality within our portfolio.

“Now, with key permits in hand, we can concentrate on further exploring ways of reducing initial capital and unlocking the value of this asset for all of our partners, in keeping with our deep commitment to community engagement and environmental stewardship.”

Claimed to be one of the world’s largest and highest grade undeveloped open pit gold resources, the Donlin Gold project is estimated to have probable reserves of 33.8 million ounces of gold.

Novagold president and CEO Greg Lang said: “The permitting process for the Donlin Gold project was very comprehensive and thorough.

“The ROD is a very detailed document, which serves as the foundation for issuance of the federal permits required for us to build a technically, environmentally, and financially responsible, as well as a socially sustainable, operation.”

With the approvals in place, Barrick and Novagold are planning to complete the optimization studies and value enhancing options to reduce initial capital outlays and improve project economics.

As per the second updated feasibility study, the project has the potential to produce more than one million ounces, on average, per year over a 27-year mine life on a 100% basis.