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if that means taking a bit more time. Of course, there are never
any guarantees that no one will  le a lawsuit seeking to prevent development of a new mining project. But we believe that, in addition to a thorough permitting process, the strong relationships Donlin Gold has established over more than 20 years with the local communities in the Y-K region and the State of Alaska mitigate this risk substantially.
With permitting in the  nal stretches, NOVAGOLD has been looking at various ways to optimize the project over the last few
years through desktop and  eld work. In November 2017, we completed a drill program, which included a total of 16 core holes and approximately 7,040 meters drilled. Its purpose was to gather additional geochemical and structural data to further strengthen
our understanding of the targeted mineralized zones, deepen
our knowledge of the structural controls, and support ongoing optimization work. The outcome should provide valuable information for the next iteration of the feasibility study.
As the optimization work progresses, we’ll look at updating
the existing feasibility study. Beyond evaluating enhancements to
the project execution plan, we’ve also been assessing greater use of selective mining methods (which could improve the grade delivered to the process facilities), looking at innovative technologies in logistics and automation, investigating potential third-party participation
for certain project infrastructure, and considering various  nancing opportunities, such as leasing mining equipment, which would all contribute toward reducing the owners’ initial capital costs and execution risks.
In addition to updating the feasibility study, further engineering work is required to advance the project design from feasibility-level to construction-ready. Some  eld work, such as drilling to further de ne geotechnical conditions in the area of the proposed tailings embankment, will be undertaken to support detailed engineering. There will be  eld work along the natural gas pipeline right-of-way
to  nalize the pipeline alignment and verify the proposed locations of borrow sites and river crossings. As engineering speci cations are being  nalized, early works could be initiated for the port facilities and road to site, and orders could be placed for mine equipment, plant components, pipe, and other materials. These actions will be scheduled in a well-thought-out project execution plan that the project team will use to manage the project scope and to reduce
the execution risks. Our view is that by investing time and e ort in planning project execution carefully, much of the risk associated with large capital projects that has undermined con dence in the industry over the last decade can be mitigated.
The aim of all of our optimization e orts is to enhance project economics and capitalize on Donlin Gold’s large size and superior grade while maintaining its full upside value. Over the past six years, there really hasn’t been much market appetite for large capital projects. Key factors in our decision to move forward to develop Donlin Gold will be the outcome of this optimization work, a shift in investor and capital market sentiment, and, of course, the price of gold. Though the fundamental supply and demand thesis is stronger today for gold than it has ever been, we have not yet seen that reality re ected in gold, and more important, in NOVAGOLD’s share price.
In addition to the market’s perception, a decision to construct Donlin Gold will also be in uenced by the reality that gold miners must replace existing mines where reserves and grades are declining. There have been no discoveries of any consequence in more than six years. Today, on average, it takes more than 20 years for a project to
go from discovery to production. Time is on our side, as we still have work to do ahead of being able to make a construction decision on the project. And once built, Donlin Gold’s quality grade and low projected cash costs will provide resilience through various gold cycles. With a mine life measured in decades, we are con dent that Donlin Gold will generate bene ts for all stakeholders. NOVAGOLD believes that Donlin Gold is a truly unique and attractive gold deposit in an era de ned by quality asset scarcity – and that it could be the  rst new large mine to be built when market sentiment turns.
The atmosphere of trust and respect among all Donlin Gold partners – NOVAGOLD, Barrick, Calista, TKC, and the state and federal regulators with whom we’ve worked for many years – form an important foundation for our future collective success. Together, we’re creating an important source of economic prosperity in the region and in Alaska for generations to come. And perhaps most important, we
all share the same values and priorities: that Donlin Gold should be developed responsibly and in a way that provides tangible bene ts to all stakeholders.
In short, Donlin Gold is the right asset at the right time. NOVAGOLD is laying the groundwork for its long-term success – and for superior share price performance.
Seeing the project firsthand offers
Donlin Gold stakeholders the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of our development plan.

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