Company’s continued investment a sign of confidence
Donlin Gold is staffing up for a summer field program at the site of the proposed large gold mine, a sign of confidence in the multi-billion-dollar project. Drilling and geotech work is planned as the company prepares its application for a dam safety permit from the state of Alaska. The company already has necessary federal permits and a state right-of-way lease for gas pipeline to serve the mine, and the dam safety permit is one of the final regulatory steps.
The preparation of the dam safety application and the technical data to support it aren’t cheap, so what’s encouraging about this is that the Donlin Gold owners, a joint-venture of Barrick Gold and NovaGold Resources, are continuing to invest in preparation or an investment decision. The most recent cost estimate is $6 billion but that was done several years ago. A
revised cost estimate will likely be done for the final investment decision. Meanwhile, the company plans to hire about 100 for the summer program with most recruited from local villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Donlin Gold had a very successful local workforce recruiting and training program in past years, over a period of intensive drilling and technical work, but there is now a gap of several years and there are worries that some of the skills acquired in the region have been lost. Association of Village Council Presidents, a regional nonprofit based in Bethel, has staff working in villages to help people understand the needed qualification. The jobs at Donlin Gold, even temporary, will pay well.