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Donlin Gold

Technical Report

Permitting

Reaching important milestones in advancing permitting of Donlin Gold.

Permitting began for Donlin Gold in mid-2012 with the submission of the initial permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the "Corps”), the lead federal permitting agency. Permitting in Alaska is a clearly defined environmental review process which is typically coordinated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a procedural law that governs the process by which most major projects in the United States are evaluated.

Over the past 6 years, permitting activities at Donlin Gold have been focused on preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS has been the most time consuming aspect of the environmental review process and in large part, has driven the overall permitting timeline for the project. The process involved multiple public comment opportunities. Many issues were identified and thoroughly considered in the EIS process with significant and early input by cooperating agencies as well as the public.

In April 2018, the Corps filed the notice of availability for the final EIS in the Federal Register. The Corps and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will issue a single Federal Record of Decision (ROD) in the second half of 2018. The ROD will describe both the legal and technical basis for the Corps’ Clean Water Act Sections 404 and 10 permitting decision and BLM’s decision on the right-of-way application for the sections of the pipeline on BLM lands. The permits and approvals that authorize project construction should be issued shortly after the ROD. Between publishing the final EIS and the issuance of the ROD, the Corps must specifically complete several activities. This includes coordinating with the State to ensure that its decision complies with Alaska’s water quality standards. The Corps will also document its compliance with Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act; the detailed evaluation showing why the permitted project represents the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative compared to other project options reviewed. Other consultations required for the ROD have already been completed, including compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, Endangered Species Act, and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act which protects essential fish habitat.

Concurrent with the NEPA analysis, Donlin Gold continues to work with state and federal agencies to advance all other required permits and approvals. Significant progress has been made, including issuance of the state air quality and Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (APDES) wastewater discharge permits and the pipeline and hazardous materials safety administration (PHMSA) special permit. Other key state and federal permits and approvals are scheduled to be finalized concurrently with or shortly after the Corps’ ROD. These include the water use and fish habitat permits, the reclamation and closure plan approval, as well as land and shoreline lease and right-of-way approvals. We look forward to soon achieving these key project permitting milestones.

Donlin Gold Permitting Graphic

Alaska
Location
Open Pit
Mining Method
50/50
Ownership
(NOVAGOLD/Barrick Gold Corporation)
27 Years
Estimated Mine Life
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