NovaGold Resources Inc.
TSX : NG
NYSE Amex : NG

NovaGold Resources Inc.

October 14, 2010 16:16 ET

NovaGold Third Quarter Financial Results and Projects Update

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 14, 2010) - NovaGold Resources Inc. (TSX:NG)(NYSE Amex:NG) today announced the results of its third quarter ended August 31, 2010. Details of the Company's financial results are described in the unaudited consolidated financial statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis which, together with further details on each of the Company's projects, including resource estimates, will be available on the Company's website at www.novagold.net, on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on EDGAR at www.sec.gov. All amounts are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated.

NovaGold will host a conference call and webcast
 
Tuesday, October 19 at 8am PST (11am EST)
Toll-free 1-877-440-9795 or webcast at www.novagold.net

President's message

Gold has reached new all-time highs in recent weeks, trading through US$1,380 on October 14. The average closing price in September was US$1,270.98 compared to US$996.59 in September 2009, a 27.5% increase. This is certainly an exciting time to be a gold-focused company. With two world-class assets in our portfolio — Donlin Creek and Galore Creek — and equal partnerships with world-class partners — Barrick Gold and Teck Resources — NovaGold is well positioned to advance its projects and be a key player in this strong gold market.

As a pre-production company, NovaGold's financial statements do not reflect the full strength of today's gold market. However, NovaGold does capture the benefits of a rising gold price in a number of ways, both at our projects and in the market as our stock price responds to the gold rally. As a development-stage company with a reserve/resource base comparable to many of the mid-tier producers, NovaGold offers superior leverage to the gold market. Our share price has increased more than 55% year to date on NYSE-AMEX compared to 6% for the Dow Jones Index, 8% for the S&P/TSX Composite Index and 5% for the S&P 500. Indeed, the leverage inherent in a development-stage company has allowed the juniors to outperform the senior gold companies year to date, with a 42% increase for the Junior Gold Miners Index compared to just 28% for the Gold Miners Index.

NovaGold is focused on ONE GOAL: becoming a low-cost million-ounce-a-year gold producer. The Company's core properties, Donlin Creek and Galore Creek, are advancing toward that production objective, with significant news expected from both properties in 2011: A pre-feasibility study at Galore Creek; a feasibility revision at Donlin Creek to incorporate the natural gas pipeline; and then the important milestone of filing permit applications at Donlin Creek by year-end 2011. Rising metals prices are also reflected in an expansion of reserves and resources as well as enhanced future cash flow models at our projects, two value-adding achievements that will be announced with the updated technical studies at Donlin Creek and Galore Creek. 

To achieve the objective of advancing our core properties, we are soliciting offers to sell our Rock Creek project to provide more information to NovaGold's Board of Directors and maximize value from this asset. While the project could bring good value in the right portfolio, Rock Creek is no longer the right fit for our business model. NovaGold is also considering options to maximize the value of our high-grade Ambler copper-zinc-gold-silver deposit. Following our business model, we plan to advance the project to pre-feasibility study to add reserves, and then sell all or a portion of the project to a senior producer or potentially spin the project out as a separate base metals investment vehicle. NovaGold's primary focus at its non-core properties is bringing value that will help advance Donlin Creek and Galore Creek toward construction and production.

The macroeconomic picture certainly indicates support for continued strong gold prices. Governments are responding to economic concerns with policies to stimulate growth, while sovereign debt and currency concerns continue to push investors toward gold as a store of wealth and hedge against inflation and currency fluctuations. Investment demand remains strong for both gold equities and physical gold through gold coins and bars, jewelry and gold ETFs. A significant shift has seen central banks become net buyers over the last year, with India alone increasing their gold reserves by more than 50%. Gold supply continues to lag behind demand and is expected to decline in coming years. There have been few significant gold discoveries — approximately 75% of global gold deposits contain less than one million ounces of gold — and longer timelines to permit new mines and bring them into production means mine supply is slow to respond to rising gold prices.

In this environment of rising prices and rising demand for both gold and copper, we look forward to reporting on progress at our properties as we advance toward our objective of becoming a low-cost gold producer.

Description of business

NovaGold is a precious metals company engaged in the exploration and development of mineral properties in Alaska, U.S.A. and British Columbia, Canada. The Company conducts its operations through wholly-owned subsidiaries, partnerships, limited liability companies and joint ventures. Since 1998, the Company has assembled a world-class portfolio of projects, with 50% interests in two of the world's largest undeveloped gold and copper-gold projects — Donlin Creek and Galore Creek — 100% of the Ambler copper-zinc-gold-silver deposit and other exploration-stage properties. The Company is primarily focused on gold properties, some of which also have significant copper, silver and zinc resources. NovaGold has reduced some of the development risk at its two core projects by leveraging the construction and operating expertise of its senior operating partners, Barrick Gold and Teck Resources. In addition, all of NovaGold's core properties are located in Alaska and British Columbia, regions with low geopolitical risk that have a long history of mining, established permitting standards and governments supportive of resource development.

Approach to business

NovaGold is focused on advancing its two core properties, Donlin Creek and Galore Creek, with the objective of becoming a low-cost million-ounce-a-year gold producer. NovaGold's business model focuses on four main steps: Identifying high-quality assets and make strategic, timely acquisitions; using exploration expertise to expand existing deposits; advancing the projects to a feasibility level to bring reserves to the Company and value to shareholders; and creating strong partnerships with well-respected senior producers to advance the projects to production. By systematically executing this four-step business model, NovaGold has three world-class assets in its portfolio, two of which are advancing toward production with senior partnerships in place, and one that provides an exciting exploration opportunity for NovaGold's team. NovaGold will continue to leverage its exploration and development expertise to bring additional resources and value to shareholders. The Company also recognizes the value of strong partnerships and a strong team, and looks for opportunities to acquire or partner in new projects that can bring value to NovaGold shareholders.

Responsible mining and community collaboration continues to be a trademark of NovaGold's business strategy at all of its projects. NovaGold published its first sustainability report in May 2010 with the objective of providing an overview of its commitment and approach to sustainability and its goals for future years. The report demonstrates the Company's commitment to responsible mining and transparent disclosure and will allow NovaGold to more effectively monitor progress as it strives for continuous improvement and best practices in responsible mining. NovaGold believes that long-lasting social and economic benefits can flow to the communities in which it operates. Through continuous collaboration with Alaskan Native and BC First Nation groups from the outset at each project, NovaGold considers the long-term impacts and benefits of operations for stakeholders when developing its projects.

Recent developments

During the third quarter of 2010, the Company received $6.7 million in cash from the exercise of warrants. Combined with the US$175.0 million in cash raised from a non-brokered equity offering during the second quarter of 2010, NovaGold is financed to meet its existing obligations at its core projects for the next two years, with the additional flexibility to consider other opportunities that could bring value to shareholders.

In September, NovaGold appointed long-time Director Gerry McConnell as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse continues as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and as a Director on the Board. The appointment in July of Dr. Marc Faber and Mr. Igor Levental to NovaGold's Board of Directors brought additional experience and expertise to NovaGold's Board.

Dr. Faber has over 35 years of experience in the finance industry and is the Managing Director of Marc Faber Ltd., an investment advisory and fund management firm. He is an advisor to a number of private investment funds and serves as a Director of Ivanhoe Mines and Sprott Asset Management. Dr. Faber publishes a widely read monthly investment newsletter entitled The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report and is the author of several books including Tomorrow's Gold – Asia's Age of Discovery. A renowned commentator on global market trends and developments, he is also a regular contributor to several leading financial publications around the world, including Barron's, where he is a member of the Barron's Roundtable. Dr. Faber received his PhD in Economics magna cum laude from the University of Zurich.

Mr. Levental is President of the Electrum Group of Companies, a leading privately-owned mineral exploration and development group with strategic holdings in private and public precious metals companies, including NovaGold. Mr. Levental is a Director of Gabriel Resources Ltd., which is engaged in the development of major precious metals deposits in Romania; he is also a Director of Taung Gold Limited, a South African-based private gold exploration and development company. With more than 30 years of experience across a broad cross-section of the international mining industry, Mr. Levental has held senior positions with major mining companies including Homestake Mining Company and International Corona Corporation, where he played a major role in these companies' corporate development and merger and acquisition activities. Mr. Levental is a Professional Engineer with a BSc in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Alberta.

Property review

Donlin Creek

Donlin Creek is one of the world's largest known undeveloped gold deposits, with a feasibility study completed and pre-permitting activities underway. Donlin Creek is operated by Donlin Creek LLC, a limited liability company that is owned 50% by NovaGold and 50% by Barrick Gold U.S. Inc. ("Barrick"), a subsidiary of Barrick Gold Corporation. Located entirely on private, Alaskan Native-owned land, the 80,600 acre (32,600 hectare) property hosts a gold deposit currently estimated at 33.6 million ounces of proven and probable reserves averaging 2.2 grams per tonne gold, 4.3 million ounces of measured and indicated resources and an additional 4.4 million ounces of inferred resources. With estimated production of more than one million ounces of gold annually for approximately 25 years, Donlin Creek would be one of the world's largest gold-producing mines. Donlin Creek LLC continues to review the mine plan in light of prevailing gold prices. Additional exploration potential remains in the Donlin Creek district.

For 2010, Donlin Creek LLC has approved a budget of approximately US$47.0 million, with US$29.4 million spent during the nine months ended August 31, 2010. During the third quarter of 2010, expenditures at the Donlin Creek project totaled approximately US$15.8 million, with 50% contributed by NovaGold. The 2010 work program will complete the majority of the environmental and engineering studies required to review the option of using natural gas as the primary power source. Donlin Creek LLC will consult with stakeholders as the gas pipeline studies proceed and solicit feedback from local communities and its Alaskan Native partners as well as State and Federal regulatory agencies. The Board of Donlin Creek LLC has approved a supplemental budget to proceed with revisions to the feasibility study to include the natural gas option. The feasibility revisions will provide operating costs using natural gas rather than diesel as the primary power source at site, and will also use more recent gold prices and capital inputs to provide updated capital and cash flow estimates. The feasibility revision is expected to be completed by mid-2011, positioning the project to file permit applications by the end of 2011.

Due to the accounting rules under Accounting Guideline-15, NovaGold continues to record its interest in the Donlin project as an equity investment, which results in all of NovaGold's funding being recorded in the income statement as exploration expenses and any unspent funding to Donlin Creek LLC on the balance sheet on the equity investment line.

Galore Creek

Galore Creek, a large copper-gold-silver project located in northwestern British Columbia, is held by a partnership in which NovaGold and Teck Resources Limited ("Teck") each own a 50% interest and is managed by Galore Creek Mining Corporation ("GCMC"). The 298,840 acre (118,900 hectare) property holds a large and good-grade undeveloped porphyry-related copper-gold-silver deposit. A resource estimate for the Galore Creek project totals measured and indicated resources of 8.9 billion pounds of copper, 7.3 million ounces of gold and 123 million ounces of silver, with additional inferred resources of 3.5 billion pounds of copper, 3.3 million ounces of gold and 61 million ounces of silver. GCMC has initiated a pre-feasibility study to provide guidance on mining parameters, reserves, capital costs and operating costs based on an optimized mine plan and using higher copper and gold prices than in previous studies, with completion targeted for the first half of 2011.

The Canadian Federal and British Columbia Provincial Governments have pledged to build a high-capacity 287 kV transmission line ("NTL") in northwestern British Columbia. The NTL has completed its public comment period with an overwhelmingly positive response, including support from the Tahltan First Nation. Based on the British Columbia Transmission Corporation website, construction of the NTL is expected to start in late 2010 with completion targeted for 2013. The NTL will provide a secure interconnection point for clean generation projects, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enabling communities now relying on diesel generation to connect to the grid, and supply clean electricity to support industrial and resource projects in the area, including the Galore Creek project.

GCMC has budgeted $20.0 million for 2010, with $10.0 million spent during the nine months ended August 31, 2010. During the third quarter of 2010, expenditures at the Galore Creek project totaled approximately $2.6 million. Under the terms of the Galore Creek Partnership agreement, Teck is funding all costs for the project until it completes its earn-in obligations, and NovaGold expects to have no near-term funding obligations for the Galore Creek project. At August 31, 2010, the Galore Creek Partnership had cash of $3.8 million and Teck had approximately $18.0 million remaining in project contributions to earn its 50% interest in the project. Certain road construction equipment and facilities are being recovered and sold as the road progresses. The proceeds from the sales directly fund the project's activities and do not reduce Teck's required contributions.

Due to accounting rules under Accounting Guideline-15 for Variable Interest Entity accounting, NovaGold continues to consolidate 100% of the activities of GCMC on the income statement, and the Galore Creek asset and a non-controlling interest for Teck's contributions on the balance sheet.

Nome Operations

NovaGold's Nome Operations comprises three properties: Rock Creek, Big Hurrah and Nome Gold. The properties are located on the Seward Peninsula in Alaska, an area with historical gold production and well-maintained roads and infrastructure. The most advanced property is Rock Creek, which is currently in care and maintenance. Rock Creek includes a substantially constructed gold mine and hosts 320,000 ounces of gold reserves, 290,000 ounces of indicated resources and 20,000 ounces of inferred resources.

NovaGold is soliciting offers for sale of the Rock Creek project to provide additional information to the Board to maximize value from this asset and to allow the Company to focus its time and resources on its core projects. NovaGold will continue to assess the value of its other assets in the Nome area, which include Big Hurrah, Nome Gold, a sand-and-gravel business and a considerable land package. Big Hurrah hosts 190,000 ounces of gold reserves, 80,000 ounces of indicated resources and 20,000 of inferred resources, while Nome Gold hosts 1,560,000 ounces of measured and indicated resources with an additional 250,000 ounces of inferred resources.

The Company has assessed the estimated recoverability of the Rock Creek project resulting in an asset impairment of $116.2 million and a remaining value of nil. The impairment adjustment was calculated using a probability weighted approach considering various sales and closure scenarios where the sales scenarios were evaluated based upon the present value of the estimated future cash flows. Major assumptions incorporated into the present value calculation include long term gold prices, operating costs, start-up capital and gold recovery percentages. Sensitivity analyses were prepared and scenarios of sale and closure were probability weighted. Another consideration was the cost of start-up and the availability of critical parts. The expected cash flow approach was used to determine fair value as there were uncertainties both in the timing and amount of the cash flows. The impairment loss was allocated proportionately to construction in progress, mining and milling equipment, and mineral properties and development costs. There can be no assurances that the subsequent decision to sell or reclaim the project would result in a material gain on sale or accrual of closure costs which would be incurred when a decision is made.

On July 16 and 17, 2010, the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary Alaska Gold Company ("AGC") received 20 citations and orders from the Mine Safety Health Administration ("MSHA") alleging certain violations of U.S. Federal mine safety laws at the Rock Creek project. There were 12 citations and orders issued by MSHA under Section 104(a) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (the "Mine Safety Act"). There were 8 citations and orders issued by MSHA under Section 104(d) of the Mine Safety Act. On or about September 9, 2010, MSHA proposed a penalty in the amount of $4,254 addressing 8 of the Section 104(a) citations and orders. To date, MSHA has not proposed penalties for the remaining 12 citations. AGC has accrued a provision for potential penalties associated with these citations and orders; however, the final aggregate amount of proposed penalties may vary from this amount. AGC has notified MSHA of its intent to contest all of these citations and any proposed penalties. Concurrently, AGC has taken rapid steps to address allegations contained in these citations and orders. AGC remains fully committed to employee safety and safe operations at the Rock Creek project.

The Company has made significant improvements to its water management processes at the Rock Creek project. On July 2, 2009, AGC received a Notice of Violation ("NOV") from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation ("ADEC"). In the NOV, ADEC alleged that AGC violated the terms of its State Waste Management Permit at the Rock Creek project by failing to comply with the water treatment and injection requirements of the project's Temporary Closure Plan. On October 6, 2009, AGC entered into a Compliance Order by Consent ("COBC") with ADEC resolving the NOV. As part of the COBC, AGC treated, injected and applied water at an increased rate to reduce water levels behind the mine's tailings storage facility ("TSF") dam. On March 26, 2010, the Company notified ADEC that the water elevation in the mine's TSF had been brought below 140 feet above sea level, an achievement required to terminate the COBC. On April 1, 2010, ADEC notified the Company of ADEC's agreement that AGC had completed all required tasks under the COBC, and that the COBC was terminated effective April 2, 2010.

On February 22, 2010, the Company submitted its updated Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan ("SWPPP") to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and ADEC. On March 12, 2010, the Company received an Information Request from EPA pursuant to the Federal Clean Water Act Section 308. The Information Request directed AGC to submit a storm water sampling plan for the mine to EPA and ADEC, to provide certain reports and information and to monitor storm water around the mine until December 31, 2010. The Company continues to implement its updated SWPPP and provide information to EPA and ADEC in accordance with the Information Request.

On December 31, 2009, AGC received a renewed temporary Certificate of Approval to Operate a Dam ("COA") from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources ("ADNR"). The COA authorizes AGC's continued operation of the mine's TSF dam. The current term of the renewed COA expires on November 24, 2011. The renewed COA contains conditions AGC must follow to ensure dam safety including the requirement to treat, inject and apply water to manage water levels behind the mine's TSF dam. The renewed COA also requires that AGC notify ADNR by November 1, 2010 of AGC's preliminary, future intentions concerning the mine site which may include entering permanent closure or requesting an extension of the temporary closure period. The COA terminated an NOV that had been issued by ADNR in December 2008.

The Company worked diligently in 2009 and 2010 to improve the project's water management structures to ensure the project continues to meet its permit requirements and environmental responsibilities. NovaGold has budgeted US$19.1 million at Rock Creek for 2010, with US$13.5 million spent in the nine months ended August 31, 2010. During the third quarter of 2010, expenditures at the Rock Creek project totaled approximately US$3.5 million. Work at the property is focused on preparing the project for winter and continuing to meet permit requirements and environmental responsibilities.

Ambler

On January 7, 2010, the Company purchased 100% of the Ambler project, which hosts the high-grade copper-zinc-gold-silver Arctic deposit. To complete the purchase, the Company issued 931,098 common shares with a market value of approximately US$5.0 million, with a commitment for future cash payments to the vendor of US$12.0 million each on January 2011 and January 2012. The vendor retained a 1% net smelter return royalty that the Company can purchase at any time for a one-time payment of US$10.0 million.

Ambler is an exploration-stage property located in Alaska comprising 90,614 acres (36,670 hectares) of Federal patented and unpatented mining claims and State of Alaska mining claims, covering a major portion of the precious-metal-rich Ambler volcanogenic massive sulfide belt. A resource estimate for the Arctic deposit shows a 30 million tonne deposit grading 4% copper and 6% zinc for contained metal totaling indicated resources of 1.5 billion pounds of copper, 2.2 billion pounds of zinc, 450,000 ounces of gold, 32 million ounces of silver and 350 million pounds of lead, with additional inferred resources of 937 million pounds of copper, 1.3 billion pounds of zinc, 260,000 ounces of gold, 19 million ounces of silver and 210 million pounds of lead. NovaGold has a solid record of identifying exploration opportunities and bringing value to shareholders by expanding resources through exploration success. The Company feels there is excellent potential to expand the existing resources at the Arctic deposit and locate new high-quality resources in nearby areas, as well as identify new exploration targets in the district.

The Company has budgeted US$1.5 million at Ambler for 2010, with US$1.3 million spent year to date and expenditures of US$1.2 million during the third quarter of 2010. Work at the property during 2010 was focused on initiating the environmental and engineering studies necessary to complete a pre-feasibility level study to assess project economics. With the Ambler camp now closed for winter, project activities for the remainder of 2010 will focus on community engagement and opportunities to consolidate NovaGold's land package in the district.

Other properties

The Company holds a portfolio of earlier-stage exploration projects that have not advanced to the resource definition stage. The Company also earns $1.0 to $3.0 million annually from the sale of sand, gravel and land and royalties from placer gold production, largely from its holdings around Nome, Alaska.

Additional information concerning reserves and resources can be found in Appendix – Reserve and Resource Table.

Results of operations
in thousands of Canadian dollars, except for per share amounts
    Three months ended August 31, 2010   Three months ended August 31, 2009   Nine months ended August 31, 2010   Nine months ended August 31, 2009
     $    $    $    $
Project care and maintenance   6,506   8,587   19,865   24,064
Exploration expense   13,674   3,766   21,619   14,561
Foreign exchange (gain) loss   134   109   (3,043)   (11,453)
General and administrative expenses   1,086   2,403   3,225   4,642
Interest and accretion   3,912   3,446   11,341   15,841
Salaries, severance and payroll taxes   1,282   986   5,483   3,146
Asset impairment   116,231   -   116,231   -
Inventory write down   7,537   -   7,537   -
Loss for the period after taxes   (147,598)   (18,113)   (182,068)   (51,364)
Basic and diluted loss per share   (0.66)   (0.10)   (0.87)   (0.30)

For the three-month period ended August 31, 2010, the Company reported a net loss of $147.6 million (or $0.66 basic and diluted loss per share) compared to a net loss of $18.1 million (or $0.10 basic and diluted loss per share) for the corresponding period in 2009. This variance was mainly due to the non-cash asset impairment cost of $116.2 million and $7.5 million of inventory written down at the Rock Creek project with no comparable amount in 2009. The impairment adjustment was calculated using a probability weighted approach considering various sales and closure scenarios where the sales scenarios were evaluated based upon the present value of the estimated future cash flows.

For the nine-month period ended August 31, 2010, the Company reported a net loss of $182.1 million (or $0.87 basic and diluted loss per share) compared to a net loss of $51.4 million (or $0.30 basic and diluted loss per share) for the corresponding period in 2009. This variance is mainly due to the $116.2 million impairment charge and $7.5 million inventory write down recorded over the nine months ended August 31, 2010 with no comparable amount in 2009. This was offset by the interest and accretion reduction for the nine months ended August 31, 2010 of $11.0 million, compared with $16.0 million over the same period in 2009. This reduction was due to the conversion of the bridge loan in 2009, resulting in no comparable charge in 2010.

Net revenue for the three-month period ended August 31, 2010 was $0.3 million compared to $0.3 million for the corresponding period in 2009.

Net revenue for the nine-month period ended August 31, 2010 was $0.5 million compared to $1.0 million in the corresponding period in 2009. The decrease was primarily due to higher land and gravel sales in 2009.

Expenses for the three-month period ended August 31, 2010 were $28.2 million compared to $20.9 million for the same period in 2009. This was primarily due to a higher exploration expense of $13.7 million compared to $3.8 million for the same period in 2009 as the result of the gas pipeline studies at the Donlin Creek project and an increase in exploration activities at the Galore Creek and Ambler projects. There was also lower project care and maintenance for the three-month period ended August 31, 2010 of $6.5 million compared to $8.6 million for the same period in 2009, mainly due to the decreased level of activity required for the tailings pond and water treatment plant at Rock Creek.

Expenses for the nine-month period ended August 31, 2010 were $65.0 million compared to $61.9 million for the same period in 2009. This was primarily due to the large foreign exchange gain of $11.5 million the Company experienced during the nine-month period ended August 31, 2009 compared to the $3.1 million foreign exchange gain for the same period in 2010. The reduction in gain in 2010 is mainly a result of the decrease in currency fluctuations during 2010 between the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar on U.S. dollar-denominated convertible notes and the Donlin Creek promissory note. There was also lower project care and maintenance in 2010 of $19.8 million compared with $24.1 million in 2009, mainly due to the level of activity required to manage spring break-up from higher snowfall levels during the 2008/2009 winter at Rock Creek. This was offset by the increase in exploration expense in 2010 of $21.6 million compared to $14.6 million in 2009, due to the gas pipeline studies at the Donlin Creek project and the increase in exploration activities at the Galore Creek and Ambler projects.

For the three-month period ended August 31, 2010, the Company recorded a future income tax recovery of $0.8 million, which resulted mainly from exploration expenditures incurred in Canada and the benefit of an income tax reduction on long-term tax rates in British Columbia.

Outlook

At August 31, 2010, the Company had consolidated cash and cash equivalents of $172.8 million and working capital of $150.0 million. Of this cash amount, $3.8 million was held by GCMC for Galore Creek related activities.

The Company's material projects are Donlin Creek and Galore Creek. The Company's share of the Donlin Creek 2010 budget is approximately US$14.0 million, part of which will be incurred for permitting activities at the project. During the second quarter of 2010, Donlin Creek approved a supplemental budget of US$18.7 million (the Company's share: US$9.4 million) to complete the majority of the environmental and engineering studies required to review the natural gas pipeline option. As at August 31, 2010, US$17.2 million of the budget remains to be spent to the end of the year. The gas pipeline studies have advanced as planned. The majority of the field work is complete and data are being collected and analyzed by Barrick Energy on behalf of Donlin Creek LLC. Donlin Creek LLC plans to incorporate the gas pipeline study into a revised feasibility study replacing diesel with natural gas as the main source of power. The feasibility revision is scheduled for completion by mid-2011, preparing the project to file permit applications by the end of 2011.

The budget for care and maintenance and optimization studies for 2010 at the Galore Creek project is $8.0 million, with a supplementary 2010 budget of $12.0 million for the pre-feasibility study. As at August 31, 2010 $8.7 million of the budget is forecasted to be spent to the end of the year. Qualified independent engineering firms are progressing through the final layout of the project's infrastructure. Work is well underway for a pre-feasibility study to be released by mid-2011. The pre-feasibility study will provide guidance on mining parameters, reserves, capital costs and operating costs. Under the partnership agreement, Teck is funding 100% of these costs and the Company is not required to fund any project costs until Teck has completed its financial earn-in at the project.

The Rock Creek project is in care and maintenance with a 2010 budget of approximately US$19.1 million. During the quarter ended August 31, 2010, management made a decision to not restart operations at this project. The Company is soliciting offers for the sale of this asset to provide additional information to the Board to maximize value and to allow the Company to focus its time and resources on its core projects.

About NovaGold

NovaGold is a precious metals company engaged in the exploration and development of mineral properties in Alaska, U.S.A. and British Columbia, Canada. The Company is focused on advancing its two core properties, Donlin Creek and Galore Creek, with the objective of becoming a low-cost million-ounce-a-year gold producer, and offers superior leverage to gold with one of the largest reserve/resource bases of any junior or mid-tier gold company. NovaGold has a strong track record of expanding deposits through exploration success and forging collaborative partnerships, both with local communities and with major mining companies. The Donlin Creek project in Alaska, one of the world's largest undeveloped gold deposits, is held by a limited liability company owned equally by NovaGold and Barrick Gold U.S. Inc. The Galore Creek project in British Columbia, a large copper-gold-silver deposit, is held by a partnership owned equally by NovaGold and Teck Resources Limited. NovaGold also owns a 100% interest in the high-grade Ambler copper-zinc-gold-silver deposit in northern Alaska and has other earlier-stage exploration properties. NovaGold trades on the TSX and NYSE-AMEX under the symbol NG. More information is available at www.novagold.net or by emailing info@novagold.net.

To view accompanying table, please click on the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/ng1014.pdf

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein including, without limitation, plans for and intentions with respect to the company's use of proceeds from the sale of Securities and NovaGold's future operating or financial performance, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from NovaGold's expectations include the uncertainties involving the need for additional financing to explore and develop properties and availability of financing in the debt and capital markets; uncertainties involved in the interpretation of drilling results and geological tests and the estimation of reserves and resources; the need for continued cooperation with Barrick Gold and Teck Resources in the exploration and development of the Donlin Creek and Galore Creek properties; uncertainty as to the completion of the purchase of a 100% interest in the Ambler property; the need for cooperation of government agencies and native groups in the development and operation of properties; the need to obtain permits and governmental approvals; risks of construction and mining projects such as accidents, equipment breakdowns, bad weather, non-compliance with environmental and permit requirements, unanticipated variation in geological structures, ore grades or recovery rates; unexpected cost increases; fluctuations in metal prices and currency exchange rates; the outcome of litigation pending against the company; and other risk and uncertainties disclosed in NovaGold's Annual Information Form for the year ended November 30, 2009, filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities, and NovaGold's annual report on Form 40-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and in other NovaGold reports and documents filed with applicable securities regulatory authorities from time to time. NovaGold's forward-looking statements reflect the beliefs, opinions and projections on the date the statements are made. NovaGold assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements of beliefs, opinions, projections, or other factors, should they change.

Cautionary Note Regarding Reserve and Resource Estimates

This press release has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the securities laws in effect in Canada, which differ from the requirements of U.S. securities laws. Unless otherwise indicated, all resource and reserve estimates included in this press release have been prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") and the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Classification System. NI 43-101 is a rule developed by the Canadian Securities Administrators which establishes standards for all public disclosure an issuer makes of scientific and technical information concerning mineral projects. Canadian standards, including NI 43-101, differ significantly from the requirements of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), and resource and reserve information contained herein may not be comparable to similar information disclosed by U.S. companies. In particular, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the term "resource" does not equate to the term "reserves". Under U.S. standards, mineralization may not be classified as a "reserve" unless the determination has been made that the mineralization could be economically and legally produced or extracted at the time the reserve determination is made. The SEC's disclosure standards normally do not permit the inclusion of information concerning "measured mineral resources", "indicated mineral resources" or "inferred mineral resources" or other descriptions of the amount of mineralization in mineral deposits that do not constitute "reserves" by U.S. standards in documents filed with the SEC. U.S. investors should also understand that "inferred mineral resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an "inferred mineral resource" will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Under Canadian rules, estimated "inferred mineral resources" may not form the basis of feasibility or pre-feasibility studies except in rare cases. Investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an "inferred mineral resource" exists or is economically or legally mineable. Disclosure of "contained ounces" in a resource is permitted disclosure under Canadian regulations; however, the SEC normally only permits issuers to report mineralization that does not constitute "reserves" by SEC standards as in-place tonnage and grade without reference to unit measures. The requirements of NI 43-101 for identification of "reserves" are also not the same as those of the SEC, and reserves reported by the Company in compliance with NI 43-101 may not qualify as "reserves" under SEC standards. Accordingly, information concerning mineral deposits set forth herein may not be comparable with information made public by companies that report in accordance with U.S. standards.

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