New Milestone Achieved as Permitting Commenced on Donlin Gold

New Milestone Achieved as Permitting Commenced on Donlin Gold Project 
- With Permitting Underway, Donlin Gold is Advancing Up the Value
Chain 
- Calista Leadership and NovaGold Affirm Views on Donlin Gold 
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 08/07/12 -- All
figures are in US dollars except where noted and shown on a 100%
Project basis, of which NovaGold holds a 50% interest. 
NovaGold Resources Inc. (TSX:NG)(NYSE MKT:NG) ("NovaGold" or "the
Company") is pleased to announce that Donlin Gold LLC, owned equally
by wholly-owned subsidiaries of NovaGold and Barrick Gold Corporation
("Barrick Gold"), has commenced permitting of the Donlin Gold Project
("Donlin Gold" or the "Project") located in Alaska. This announcement
follows the Donlin Gold LLC Board of Directors recent approval of the
Project's Updated Feasibility Study. Barrick Gold and NovaGold have
expressed that they are committed to advance the project through
permitting. 
Donlin Gold submitted a Plan of Operations and the Wetlands Permit
Application under Section 404 of the U.S. Clean Water Act to the
federal and state regulators, formally initiating the permitting
process. This permit application is the driver for the start of the
environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy
Act ("NEPA") leading to the development of an Environmental Impact
Statement ("EIS"). Over the next few months, the notice of intent for
the EIS is expected to be prepared and published by the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers and followed by public scoping for the NEPA
process. 
"This is a major milestone towards moving the world's most
significant undeveloped gold project up the value chain," said
Gregory Lang, NovaGold's President and Chief Executive Officer.
"Permitting is expected to take about three to four years, a very
small percentage in comparison to the Project's life cycle of
approximately 27 years planned under the Updated Feasibility Study.
The permitting costs are modest, with our share of expenditures
expected to be approximately $20 million per year. During permitting,
we will have opportunities to optimize costs and, by extension, the
Project's economics to further increase Donlin Gold's value. We
believe we can do so. With $300 million in cash, we have sufficient
financial resources to advance Donlin Gold through permitting." 
"We also believe we will enjoy the benefits of a rising gold price.
NovaGold and its shareholders strongly believe that the secular bull
market in gold will continue for many years and appreciate the
enormous leverage to gold that this project brings." 
That leverage is indeed very significant. Donlin Gold's after-tax Net
Present Value ("NPV"), using the three-year trailing average of
approximately $1,200 per ounce-gold and a 5% discount rate, was
estimated at $547 million, as per the NovaGold news release
announcing the results of the Donlin Gold updated feasibility study.
This number rises to $6.2 billion if undiscounted. Importantly, the
resultant NPV sensitivity analysis showed a more than eight-fold
increase in value to $4.6 billion at $1,700 per ounce of gold ($14.6
billion if undiscounted), and then nearly a 50% further increase in
NPV to $6.7 billion at $2,000 per ounce of gold. At the zero discount
rate at which we believe North American assets may once again be
rated, as they were not so long ago, that number rises to more than
$19 billion. 
Mr. Lang added: "Donlin Gold is well-positioned to evolve into a
model next-generation gold mine which will deliver significant
benefits to all its stakeholders, including the State of Alaska and
our Alaska Native Corporation partners. This exceptionally large,
long-life and geo-politically safe gold deposit provides its
stakeholders with a unique opportunity for substantial wealth
generation which should be accomplished in a socially and
environmentally responsible fashion. Furthermore, with its strong and
time-honored relationship with Calista Corporation and The Kuskokwim
Corporation, who own the mineral and surface rights to Donlin Gold,
our Project team can continue strengthening its well-established
track record of social engagement and environmental stewardship in
the community." 
June MacAtee, Calista Corporation's Vice President, Land and Natural
Resources commented on this important milestone: "Calista Corporation
owns the subsurface lands that make up the Donlin Gold project.
Calista identified the presence of lode gold mineralization at Donlin
Creek more than twenty years ago. After more than 16 years of
geologic exploration and environmental baseline studies, the Donlin
Gold project has submitted its permit application to the Army Corps
of Engineers and Alaska Department of Natural Resources to construct
a mine. The permit application is a significant first step for the
project in the permit process and Calista is encouraged by the
progress that has been achieved thus far."  
"Calista supports responsible resource development projects.
Approximately 100 state and federal permits will be required before
construction can begin. The federal National Environmental Policy Act
requires that there be opportunities for the public to give input on
a proposed project during the permitting process. This process will
take several years. Calista supports this process and encourages our
Shareholders, Descendants and people living in our Region to educate
themselves about the proposed project, and then, make their voices
heard so that all issues are addressed."  
"The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 mandated the
establishment and operation of Calista as a for-profit business, but
also with very unique responsibilities. Calista was empowered to
select and receive lands for subsistence and natural resource use; as
well as, the obligation to create and build economic assets for its
Shareholders. The corporation operates as a business generating
profits for its owners--today and long into the future. But Calista
must also protect the lands and resources, because our owners depend
upon this land for subsistence foods, materials and year-round
sustenance."  
"Calista Corporation will meet its duties and responsibilities
through responsible and safe development of its lands. The Donlin
Gold project presents us with an opportunity for tremendous economic
potential right in our Region. As shown by the long pre-permitting
stage, this large-scale project will be undertaken with careful
consideration and research. Calista is committed to analyzing and
monitoring each step of the process, because we understand what is at
stake. Resource development can only proceed if it meets high
standards of environmental protection, minimal impact on subsistence
resources and promotion of economic opportunities for our people." 
Thomas Kaplan, NovaGold's Chairman, commented: "Commencement of
permitting is a material and tangible milestone along the value chain
for any major mining project and its stakeholders. Donlin Gold,
however, is not just 'any' project. We firmly believe that Donlin
Gold is poised to be seen by the investment community as the most
important pure gold project in the world for all the right reasons:
its extraordinary size, grade, production profile, mine life,
exploration upside, strong local partnerships...and last, but by no
means least, jurisdictional safety. It is unique in our industry." 
"It is for these reasons that we believe NovaGold represents one of
the best value propositions in the gold space today. Putting aside
our strong cash position and a half interest i
n Galore Creek, which
is projected to be Canada's largest copper mine, our share of Donlin
Gold is a truly extraordinary asset. Notwithstanding the
misinterpretation of Barrick Gold's quarterly report last week, as it
relates to Donlin Gold, the simple fact remains that nothing -
literally nothing - has changed with regard to the Project itself. As
Barrick Gold affirmed, and as we are reaffirming today, permitting is
going ahead, and at a very reasonable cost to the co-owners. Once
Donlin Gold is permitted several years from now, the co-owners of
this project will have the first real opportunity to make a
construction decision." 
"We all wish we could know exactly how the investment climate will
appear in four years' time. Thinking back on just how much the world
has changed since 2008 is proof enough that we live in unpredictable
times. For reasons ranging from this same unpredictability to more
fundamental reasons of simple supply and demand, we are, however,
confident of one long-term theme, and one theme alone: that the case
for gold is strong, and getting stronger all the time. This
unambiguously bullish commitment to gold, and only gold, underpins
our corporate strategy...and the firm belief that Donlin Gold is on
the path to being built into one of the world's biggest and best gold
mines. Experienced observers will note that sentiment is like the
seasons, and many who are presently espousing 'hunker down' in the
gold industry will be clamoring, when the next leg in the bull market
unfolds, to seek out projects with 'leverage and growth'. In an era
defined by asset scarcity, NovaGold provides one of the few
institutional-quality ways to gain exposure to both." 
"Donlin Gold's exponential leverage to gold is clear. Yet, at its
initial projected production of 1,500,000 ounces a year, as a growth
story the Project is in a league of its own. In addition to its size,
grade, exploration potential, and mine life, Donlin Gold will be only
one of three million-plus ounce gold producers to be located in North
America, one of the world's safest geopolitical jurisdictions." 
"It's hard to overstate the importance of this last point, for we
believe that investors are beginning to grasp the increasingly
'existential' nature of jurisdictional safety and will soon recognize
what a jewel Donlin Gold represents. Resource nationalism and an
accelerating unreliability in the political landscape in many of the
world's most prolific mining districts are evolving aggressively, and
will likely continue to develop very unpleasantly, into the single
greatest challenge for mining companies and their investors. We
believe even topical subjects such as capital expenditures will pale
into relative insignificance when compared with the apprehension
created by investments being held hostage to the whims and
uncertainties of difficult jurisdictions. Thus, while great assets in
the gold industry are very rare and, as seen by declining grades in
the large-scale projects and a lack of new discoveries, getting rarer
still... the truly great assets like Donlin Gold, which resides in a
safe country which adheres to the rule of law and enjoys political
stability in a world characterized by disturbing trends away from
both of these virtues, is rarer still. The permitting procedure in
the United States may take a bit longer than it does in some of the
more exotic mining jurisdictions, but the flip side of this process
is that when it is finalized and if ultimately the mine goes into
production, the investors have peace of mind knowing that when they
wake up in the morning, they will still own the mine and its profits.
Seeing the world through this prism, we believe that Donlin Gold is
uniquely attractive, and that, despite recent market turbulence, a
pure play on the Donlin Gold asset should be seen to be a 'must own'
value and growth stock for those who want to have the leverage of a
safe, pure gold developer in their portfolio. To put it simply, the
value proposition for NovaGold is about having all the leverage to
gold one could want...but also, of equal importance, to have it
located in a jurisdiction that will allow one to keep the dividends
of that leverage for decades and decades to come." 
"That we are embarking upon the permitting process with Greg Lang on
our side of the table can give us confidence in what the future will
bring. He has an impeccable track record of building major mines
on-budget and on-time and operating them cost-efficiently with a
great attention to safety and social responsibility. While Greg's
move to NovaGold was statement enough as to his belief in Donlin
Gold, it is indeed hard to find people more qualified than Greg Lang
to represent NovaGold's share of the project as we take it along the
value chain. With today's announcement, a new chapter in this
exceptional story has just begun." 
About NovaGold 
NovaGold is a well-financed precious metals company engaged in the
exploration and development of mineral properties in North America.
The Company's flagship asset is its 50%-owned Donlin Gold project in
Alaska, one of the safest jurisdictions in the world. With
approximately 39 million ounces of gold in the Measured and Indicated
resource categories (541 million tonnes at an average grade of
approximately 2.2 grams per tonne), Donlin Gold is regarded to be one
of the largest, and most prospective known gold deposits in the
world. According to the Updated Feasibility Study, once in
production, Donlin Gold should average approximately 1.5 million
ounces of gold per year for the first five years, followed by decades
of more than one million ounces per year. Donlin Gold has substantial
exploration potential beyond the designed footprint which currently
covers only three kilometers of an approximately eight-kilometer
strike length of the property. A significant milestone was recently
achieved with the commencement of permitting at Donlin Gold, which is
expected to take between three to four years. NovaGold also owns 50%
of the Galore Creek copper-gold-silver project located in northern
British Columbia. According to the 2011 Pre-Feasibility Study, Galore
Creek is expected to be the largest copper mine in Canada, a tier-one
jurisdiction, when it is put into production. NovaGold is currently
evaluating opportunities to sell all or a portion of its interest in
Galore Creek and will apply the proceeds toward the development of
Donlin Gold. NovaGold has a strong track record of forging
collaborative partnerships, both with local communities and with
major mining companies. 
Scientific and Technical Information 
Scientific and technical information contained herein with respect to
Donlin Gold is derived from the "Donlin Gold Project NI 43-101
Technical Report" compiled by AMEC, Kirk Hanson, P.E., Technical
Director, Open Pit Mining, North America, (AMEC, Reno), Gordon
Seibel, R.M. SME, Principal Geologist, (AMEC, Reno), Tony Lipiec,
P.Eng. Manager Process Engineering (AMEC, Vancouver) are the
Qualified Persons responsible for the preparation of the independent
technical report, each of whom are independent "qualified persons" as
defined by NI 43-101. 
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements 
This press release includes certain "forward-looking information" and
"forward-looking statements" (collectively "forward-looking
statements") within the meaning of applicable securities legislation,
including the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical fact,
included herein including, without limitation, the timing of
permitting and potential development of the Project, statements
relating to NovaGold's future operating and financial performance,
outlook, and the potential sale of all or part of NovaGold's interest
in Galore Creek are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking
statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such
as "expects", "anticipates", "believes", "intends", "estimates",
"potential", "possible", and similar expressions, or statements that
events, conditions, or results "will", "may", "could", or "should"
occur or be achieved. These forward-looking statements may include
statements regarding perceived merit of properties; exploration
results and budgets; mineral reserves and resource estimates; work
programs; capital expenditures; timelines; strategic plans;
completion of transactions; market prices for precious and base
metals; intended use of proceeds; or other statements that are not
statements of fact. 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
Corporation and Teck Resources Limited for the continued exploration
and development of the Donlin Gold and Galore Creek properties; 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, which could include significant increases in
estimated capital and operating costs; fluctuations in metal prices
and currency exchange rates; and other risk and uncertainties
disclosed in NovaGold's Annual Information Form for the year-ended
November 30, 2011, 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, except as required by law. 
Contacts:
NovaGold Resources Inc.
Melanie Hennessey
Vice President, Corporate Communications
604-669-6227 or 1-866-669-6227 
NovaGold Resources Inc.
Erin O'Toole
Analyst, Investor Relations
604-669-6227 or 1-866-669-6227
www.novagold.net