Massive Barrick-Novagold gold mine project in Alaska receives key U.S. environmental permits – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – August 15, 2018)

Barrick Gold Corp. and Novagold Resources Inc. have been given a key governmental green light to build a massive new gold mine in Alaska, but uncertain economics amid a weakening gold price mean it’s unclear whether the capital-intensive project will ever see the light of day.

In a joint release, Barrick and its junior joint-venture partner Novagold said that they had received a number of U.S. federal government environmental permits that would pave the way for the development of the Donlin Gold project, which the duo first teamed up on more than a decade ago.

Donlin, in southwestern Alaska, is one of the world’s biggest undeveloped gold projects with 39 million ounces of gold held in the economically uncertain “resources” category.

In an interview, Mélanie Hennessey, vice-president of corporate communications at Novagold, said getting the permits was “a very big and critical milestone,” and the culmination of a six-year effort.

The permitting process is not entirely finished with a number of Alaska state permits still needed. But the bigger challenge would appear to be making the project work on a financial basis.

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