Gregory A. Lang, former President of Barrick Gold of North America, accepted the position of president and chief executive officer of NovaGold Resources (TSE:NG). He starts in January.
NovaGold also announced its intention to sell its 50% stake in the Galore Creek project it owns with Teck Resources, and to spin off its Ambler project, in order to focus on the company's flagship Donlin Gold project in Alaska.
Markets liked the news, which was announced today. NovaGold Resources shares jumped 27% to $11.42 a share in mid-day trading.
NovaGold's founder and current president and CEO, Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, will head NovaCopper, a newly formed subsidiary that spins out some of NovaGold's copper assets.
NovaCopper owns the Ambler project, a consolidated 180,000-hectare property in northwestern Alaska. The Ambler district hosts a volcanogenic massive sulfide containing copper, zinc, lead, gold, and silver deposits. NovaCopper shares will be distributed to equity holders of NovaGold.
Newly-appointed Lang has over 30 years of mining experience. Prior to joining Barrick Gold, he had positions at Homestake Mining Company and International Corona Corporation, both of which are now part of Barrick Gold. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from University of Missouri-Rolla and is a Graduate of the Stanford University Executive Program.
Lang wasn't the only executive change. Dr. Thomas Kaplan was appointed chairman of the board. Kaplan runs The Electrum Group LLC, a privately held global natural resources investor. An affiliate of Electrum currently holds approximately 21.65% of NovaGold's outstanding shares.
Working with partners Teck Cominco and Barrick Gold, NovaGold is attempting to build mines at Donlin Gold and Galore Creek projects.
Once in operation, NovaGold expects it will produce close to a million ounces of gold each year with low cash costs. Production is estimated to be six to eight years away.