Donlin Creek Lewis-Acma resource and camp
In a world where ‘green’ is the new black, mining companies are
making a conscious effort to employ more environmentally responsible
techniques and give back to the communities in which they work.
NovaGold has tried to be an industry leader for responsible mining
from the very beginning, and they aren’t about to jump off the bandwagon
NovaGold originally traded under a different symbol under different
management, but the company was essentially shelved back in
1997. In 1998, Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse and his partner, Greg
Johnson, both senior geologists working for Placer Dome Inc., paired
up in search of interesting properties to get a company going. They
were already familiar with Donlin Creek, and established a joint venture
for the project with Placer Dome. Thus, today’s NovaGold was
born. The company currently has four major projects—Nome
Operations, Galore Creek, Donlin Creek, and Ambler—well on their
way throughout Alaska and British Columbia, all of which are ‘green’
in their own sense.
The first of NovaGold’s major projects, Nome Operations, is situated
in Alaska. It consists of three smaller projects: Rock Creek, Big
Hurrah, and Nome Gold. Construction for Rock Creek and Big Hurrah
began in August of 2006, immediately upon receiving major permits.
The projects are located partially on 14,000 acres of private
NovaGold land, and partially on 20,000 acres leased from the Bering
Straits and Sitnasuak Native Corporations. Employment opportunities
will be made available for approximately 135 people, and NovaGold
and Alaska Gold held numerous public meetings from 2003 to 2006
to ensure the community had the chance to ask questions, give opinions,
and voice any concerns. Rock Creek is expected to produce
about 100,000 ounces of gold per year. The Big Hurrah deposit is a
smaller but higher grade satellite deposit, and ore from it will be
trucked to the Rock Creek mill facility for processing, thus enhancing
the overall economics of the project.When both are up and running,
the Rock Creek and Big Hurrah properties will be the first modern,
open-pit, ‘hard rock’ mines on the Seward Peninsula. Production for
both properties starts in the third quarter of 2007, transitioning
NovaGold from explorer/developer to producer.
Nome Gold, the third property in the Nome Operations trio, is
one of the largest sources of construction aggregate on the Pacific
Rim. The property contains a Measured and Indicated Resource of 1.6
million ounces of gold and an additional Inferred Resource of 250,000
ounces. In the past 100 years, the Nome alluvial deposits produced
almost 5 million ounces of gold from shallow sand-and-gravel
deposits.The Nome goldfields were profitably mined solely as an alluvial
gold operation, producing about 25,000 ounces of gold a year,
until 1998, when mining was shut down because of low gold prices.
Nome also boasts sand-and-gravel properties and land businesses.
These smaller side projects have generated approximately US$1 to $3
million in annual cash flow over the past six years.With these massive
sand-and-gravel aggregate resources, NovaGold sees potential to
expand its aggregate business well beyond its existing western Alaska
market. The company is also examining the potential to restart alluvial
gold production, aiming to produce 25,000 ounces of gold annually
and several million tonnes of sand-and-gravel co-product. A little
recycling goes a long way.