Novagold Resources and Barrick Gold US have received a key environmental permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers for their joint venture (JV) project in south-west Alaska, US.
The Corps has published an environmental impact statement (EIS) in support of the Donlin gold project, in addition to filing the final EIS notice of availability in the Federal Register.
The Donlin project is jointly owned by subsidiaries of Novagold and Barrick and comprises approximately 39 million ounces (Moz) of gold in the measured and indicated resource categories.
It is expected to produce 1.1Moz of gold per year over a mine-life of 27 years, based on the results of an initial feasibility study.
Barrick president Kelvin Dushnisky said: “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.
“We look forward to ongoing engagement with our community and government partners as we continue to advance through this important permitting phase.”
The mineral rights for the Donlin project are currently held by Calista, while the surface rights are held by the Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC).
An EIS for the development will need to be prepared by federal agencies under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to discern whether the construction and operation of mines poses a threat to the region’s physical and human environment.
The EIS process initially began in in July 2012 when the partners filed an application for a federal wetlands permit.
Novagold Resources president and CEO Greg Lang said: “The filing of the Donlin Gold EIS is a major step forward in unlocking the enormous value of our uniquely attractive gold asset.”