Barrick, NovaGold project in Alaska gets key environmental approval

Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE:ABX) and NovaGold Resources’ (TSX, NYSE-MKT: NG) proposed gold mine in Alaska has received a long-waited final environmental clearance, granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Canadian miners said Monday.

The Dolin project, one of the world’s largest, highest grade, known gold deposits, is expected to require a $6.7 billion investment from the two owners, which are developing in assets in a 50-50 partnership.

Bringing the project to production is expected to require an investment of about $6.7 billion.

Located in in Southwest Alaska, the proposed mine contains 39 million ounces of gold in the measured and indicated (M&I) resource categories.

While Donlin is located in a safe jurisdiction, which also happens to be the second largest gold producing state in the US, the land belongs to The Kuskokwim Corp., a for-profit corporation representing 10 villages.  The mineral rights, in turn, are held by Calista Corp., the Alaska Native corporation for the Yukon-Kuskokwim region.

“The publication of the final EIS is an important milestone for Donlin Gold and reflects a high degree of professionalism and teamwork by the entire project team,” Barrick President Kelvin Dushnisky said in the statement.

“[It] is a major step forward in unlocking the enormous value of our uniquely attractive gold asset,” added Greg Lang, NOVAGOLD’s President and CEO.

When and if the mine is built, Calista would share 70% of its royalty revenues with other Alaska Native regional and village corporations.

Bringing the project to production is expected to take about four years, but Donlin still has a long way to go in the permitting process before construction and operations can begin.