Donlin Gold LLC, an entity owned equally by Barrick Gold Corp. [ABX-TSX; GOLD-NYSE] and Novagold Resources Inc. [NG-TSX, NYSE American], has released the last set of assay results from a successful 2020 drilling program targeting their Donlin Creek Gold Project in Alaska.
Barrick CEO Mark Bristow said the results that Barrick and Novagold have been sharing over the past eight months represent a major step forward in improving the geological confidence in the Donlin project, “a necessary step to advancing Donlin up the value chain.”
Novagold shares advanced on the news, rising 1.5% or $0.17 to $11.27. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $18 and $10.18.
Donlin Gold hosts one of the world’s largest and highest grade undeveloped open pit gold endowments.
It hosts a measured and indicated resource of 541 million tonnes of grade of 2.24 g/t gold, containing 39 million ounces of the yellow metal. Those estimates are based on an updated feasibility study dated, November, 2011 that was amended in January 20, 2012. They include proven reserves of 8.0 million tonnes grading 2.52 g/t.
The planned pits in which the existing resources are situated occupy only 3 km of an 8-km mineralized belt, which itself is less than 5% of Donlin Gold’s ground.
The primary objective of the 2020 drill program, the largest at Donlin Gold since 2008, was to validate and increase confidence in recent geologic modeling concepts. On Friday, Donlin Gold LLC said assay results for all 85 holes have now been reported, representing a final total of 23,361 metres drilled.
The key findings include an improved appreciation of the controls on mineralization. Assay results also demonstrate higher drilled grade-thicknesses than predicted by previous modelling. Results in both the ACMA and Lewis deposit areas exceeded grade-thickness predicted by previous modelling, with higher grades observed over narrower intervals.
Drilling highlights include hole DC20-1930 which returned 51.15 metres grading 4.6 g/t gold starting at 148.85 metres drilled depth, including a sub interval of 7.60 metres grading 12.4 g/t gold, starting at 182.4 metres drilled depth.
Additonal confirmation and extension drilling are being planned for the 2021 field season with a focus on further testing, orebody continuity, structural control, and geotechnical and geometallurgical data collection and analysis.
It is anticipated on completion of the 2021 drilling program and final geological model update, focus will shift to updating the feasibility study.