Skillings Review: Donlin Gold LLC reported additional assay results from the 2022 drill program

Donlin Gold LLC (“Donlin Gold”), owned 50/50 by Barrick Gold Corporation (“Barrick”) (TSX: ABX) (NYSE: GOLD) and NOVAGOLD RESOURCES INC. (“NOVAGOLD”) (TSX,NYSE American: NG) reported additional assay results from the 2022 drill program – including 64 completed drill holes plus partial results for nine holes.


Key takeaways include:

The drilling was finished ahead of schedule in September and the assay results obtained thus far cover only about 70% (or 29,600 m) of the whole drilling.

Results show the possibility for favorable local reconciliation with the resource model with the top five intervals in this release coming from four of the 30 holes drilled in the 20×20 m spaced Divide grid and 97% of the assays from these 30 holes having been received.

141 exploration drill holes totaling 42,331 meters were finished during the 2022 drill program. The final assay findings are anticipated to be made public in early 2023.

The geological model confirms the size and continuity of the orebody and paves the way for optimizing various mining scenarios, refining engineering studies, continuing community outreach, and advancing permitting actions. These were advanced during the 2022 field season and Donlin Gold owners’ workshop in September.

The owners are moving Donlin Gold up the value chain with these new test results and moving closer to a feasibility study choice.

“I am delighted by the progress that we are making at Donlin and in particular the knowledge that our teams are accumulating with relation to the orebodies and associated mineralization,” said Mark Bristow, president and chief executive of Barrick.

He added that the company could determine priorities for the relevant steps in their optimization work and studies thanks to the recent workshop in Anchorage which included talks with Native Corporation partners.

The primary focus of the company’s activities this year was to complete a drill program of 42,331 meters with tight-spaced grid drilling in structural domains, in-pit and below-pit exploration in sparsely drilled areas, platform mapping to further confirm mineralization continuity, and essential geological controls in representative areas of the deposit.

The results from these activities will inform and support the global resource estimate, current modeling concepts, and strategic mine planning. Additionally, Donlin Gold conducted 14 geotechnical drill holes for the Alaska Dam Safety Certification and additional condemnation drilling for the waste rock facility.

To fill in the Lewis 20×20 m grid to 10×10 m spacing, the Donlin Gold LLC Board authorized 43 more drill holes totaling 8,380 more meters than initially anticipated in June. “The increased drill program for 2022, targeted at the upside chances in sections of the ACMA and Lewis pits where drilling had previously been restricted, gives us the most hope. The newly acquired tests have so far produced positive intercepts.”

Donlin Gold is a privately owned project with a federal permit and reputable partners like Native Corporation. On this front, it is important to note that permitting in Alaska requires a sizable initiative over several years to assure a careful, complete, transparent, and inclusive process for all parties concerned, including stakeholders from the Y-K region.

Donlin Gold requested a new air quality permit from ADEC in the third quarter. By the end of 2022, draught permissions are likely to be released for public feedback. Additionally, Donlin Gold is putting together an updated application for the Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System in anticipation of ADEC renewing it on schedule.

Furthermore, Donlin Gold is coordinating the relocation of public ROWs and easements in the project area with Calista, TKC, ADNR, and the US Bureau of Land Management. ADNR released the suggested relocation plan for public feedback in the summer of 2022.

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