Alaskan dual ends in stalemate

One of the more heated disputes between two mining companies in the past year has ended with a whisper as Barrick Gold and NovaGold decided it was time to bury the hatchet and work together to develop the Donlin Creek project in Alaska, according to a Mineweb report.

A little more than a year ago, the two companies were slugging it out in dueling news conferences, takeover battles, in court and before Canadian regulators. On Thursday last week, however, NovaGold and Barrick announced they will form a 50-50 limited liability company to convert Donlin Creek into a project, the report said.

While NovaGold has insisted for quite some time that Barrick would be unable to complete a feasibility study on Donlin Creek by a November 12 deadline, in reality, Barrick completed its work on the feasibility study last month.

Barrick CEO Greg Wilkins told analysts during a conference call in August 2007 that the world’s largest gold miner wasn’t interested in boosting its former 30% interest in Donlin Creek if the project was not a decent project.

NovaGold Vice President Doug Nicholson has been appointed the initial general manager of the Donlin Creek project until December 31, 2009. Wilkins said "Barrick and NovaGold will work together in a constructive manner, focusing on what’s best for the project. Resolving these disputes is in the best interests of all our stakeholders."