Donlin Gold Concludes Safe, Successful Drilling Season
No COVID-19 Exposures Among Crew, Mainly Composed of Shareholders
Storyknife, November/December 2020 edition
Without a single COVID-19 case among its employees and contractors, Donlin Gold LLC recently wrapped up its largest drilling season in 12 years, providing seasonal employment to roughly 40 Calista Corporation Shareholders.
Many industries in Alaska—including the mining sector—experienced significant disruptions this year due to COVID-19 exposures in their workforce.
Donlin Gold put in place extensive COVID-19 safety procedures for employees traveling to and from the project. For example, in-region employees were tested upon arrival and again before returning home. Every day, all crew members had a temperature check.
Donlin Gold also coordinated closely with YK communities regarding the travel of employees who live in the Region.
“The most impressive aspect of the drilling and environmental baseline activity during this pandemic is that Donlin was able to provide great care for our Region,” says Tisha Kuhns, Calista Vice President of Land and Natural Resources.
“This included assisting YK communities with supplies to help flatten the curve of COVID-19,” she says.
The purpose of the 2020 drilling season was to test geological models for the gold deposit located on lands owned by Calista and The Kuskokwim Corporation. Donlin Gold has lease agreements with both landowners to develop this project.
“The most impressive aspect of the drilling and environmental baseline activity during this pandemic is that Donlin was able to provide great care for our Region.” – Tisha Kuhns, Calista Vice President of Land and Natural Resources
This summer’s drilling indicates higher grades of gold over thinner intervals compared to previous geologic modeling of the mineral deposit.
This data will be used to update the company’s business plans, said Donlin’s co-owners, Barrick Gold Corporation and NovaGold Resources Ltd., in an October 26 joint statement about the 2020 drilling season.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2021
What’s in store for fieldwork in 2021?
In November, Donlin Gold General Manager Dan Graham said the geology team is compiling the information gathered this year and waiting to receive assay results from core samples that left camp in late October.
“After that, we can better define what additional work may be of value in 2021 to continue to refine our full understanding of the deposit,” he said.
Donlin remains committed to Shareholder hire. Eighty percent of the 2020 field crew members hired by Donlin were shareholders of Alaska Native corporations—most of them Calista Shareholders.