Page 9 - NOVAGOLD_2018_AnnualReport
P. 9

of a single misstep made by our team since then. They haven’t made stupid decisions that impaired shareholder value, broken promises, left unchecked any box on their business plan, or forsaken any partner either legally or ethically. They’ve also been blessed with the benevolence of la fortuna, a key attribute of any successful company. Whatever could have gone right for NOVAGOLD has gone right – from having truly decent people as counterparts, to the diligent work of the various government permitting agencies, to delivering with our partners at Barrick better-than-expected drill results in 2018, to having fabulous and lucky management. The latter point is actually quite important. General Eisenhower, echoing the commentary of Cardinal Mazarin and Napoleon, once remarked that he’d “rather have a lucky general than a smart general.... They win battles and make me lucky.” The ideal, of course, is to have both – and we do. Doing what you say you’re going to do is a wonderful way to maintain credibility, both domestically and professionally. In our household, my wife pretty much sets the rules for the children and, candidly, me. Over the years, from toddler to teenager, our kids have expected that their mother would give them the parameters by which they could know what is and isn’t acceptable conduct. Being indulgent souls, Daphne and I tend to be rather liberal in our parenting and peace along the frontier is not terribly hard to enforce. Thus, by and large, only when a signi cant line is crossed do I get conscripted into service. As that is not too often, our domestic sport has become an amusing and often elegant dance, where degrees of latitude are carefully measured lest “Papa” be activated. Perhaps because when I am annoyed I apparently have all the subtlety of a Predator drone, my deployment is the scenario everyone wishes to avoid and, if engagement is inevitable, to keep it brief. There’s a reason for this sentiment: All participants know that I don’t blu . As it’s said within the family: “Papa doesn’t play poker.” Being that my deterrence tends to be both believed and conveyed in a stentorian fashion, the restoration of calm is generally rapid. I know many people who are quite di erent in public compared to their private lives. I’m not one of them. For better or worse, I treat everyone in my ecosystem about the same. Personally, I think I’m always adorable. Others will dispute that. Speaking now for Greg and myself, what does not appear to be in dispute, however, is that we both share a strong commitment to valuing and honoring our word. We know that reputation is hard won and easily lost. My children know that I feel this way, as do my colleagues and partners. If I say that I’m going to do something, I’ll do it. It makes life simpler and allows me to feel, and perhaps actually be, virtuous. It’s also good business. Quaint as that may sound in our increasingly transactional world, this code stems from a deep philosophical attachment to a values-based and purpose-driven life. It also comes from being, as the French would say, bien élevé (“well brought up”) in business by partners who taught me in my youth that your word should be your bond – because it’s the right thing to do. It also gives you the reputation that is, after all, the coin of the realm in life. As goes the Russian proverb: “With lies you may get ahead in the world – but you can never go back.” Through leading by example, these mentors gave me the greatest gift of all: namely, understanding the art of practicing integrity. I use the word “practicing” here because we all know that, being human, we make mistakes for which we should blush. Moreover, it is well-nigh impossible to avoid trade-o s and negotiations. And what is negotiating, other than socially acceptable – indeed institutionalized – dissembling? With that being said, within the realm of common sense, we can attest to the notion that, by and large, codes of conduct really do work. A resource five times the size of the peer group average. 39.0 6.9 Moz Donlin Gold* peer group average† * Donlin Gold project estimates as per the second updated feasibility study effective November 18, 2011 and amended January 20, 2012. Represents 100% of measured and indicated resources, of which NOVAGOLD’s share represents 50%. Measured and indicated resources are inclusive of proven and probable reserves. Measured resources total 8M tonnes grading 2.52 g/t Au, and indicated resources total 534M tonnes grading 2.24 g/t Au. Proven reserves total 8M tonnes grading 2.32 g/t Au, and probable reserves total 497M tonnes grading 2.08 g/t Au. † Peer group data based on company documents, public filings and websites. Comparison group of 17 projects based on large (2Moz P&P cut off ), North/South American gold-focused development projects with >75% projected revenues from gold. Moz There are nonetheless multiple perils embedded in this philosophy. First and foremost, it lends itself to being taken advantage of – and occasionally mugged – by those who don’t share similar ethical precepts. It also makes 7 

   7   8   9   10   11