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the premier takeover candidate in gold. I may disagree with the strategy, but I won’t be disagreeing with all of the M&A activity around us. The ultimate outcome would be beyond my control, as a 50% interest in Donlin would be tantalizing to anyone inclined to remain in our industry.
f Barrick could be proactive and approach us to merge. The problem here would be that the virtues that make NOVAGOLD a unique pure-play vehicle would be diluted by the broader Barrick portfolio. Barrick could, of course, offer to buy us for cash, but I would ask you: Where else would one be able to deploy the money so exquisitely in a pure play on what we feel represents the best of the best, and the safest, that this industry has to offer? Unless we are really paid for the future, it would make no sense. Barrick could attempt a hostile takeover (as it did in 2006), but I really don’t believe they’d go down that route for many reasons, including the fact that we proved to be a most loyal partner during Barrick’s darkest times, not to mention that the ethics of the matter would be fraught. Do ethics matter in today’s world? I believe they do. And in any event, enough of our shareholders are a fiercely independent lot.
In essence, no matter how one games this out, we believe that NOVAGOLD and its shareholders emerge as the winners. Our ideal scenario is for Barrick – or anyone else that steps into their shoes – to continue optimizing Donlin and prepare the project for the day we all decide to make a construction decision. Under that scenario, which we consider likely, gold prices should be significantly higher. It would be reasonable to expect that our
share price in that case would likewise be a lot higher. We would hope that the shares of our partner would be a lot higher as well, while their shareholders, feeling more comfortable about balance sheets,
will by then be reaching for high-quality growth in the one part of the world in which nobody has experienced problems of resource nationalism or instability. And we will all own a mine throwing off dividends for generations.
Such a remarkable positioning clearly did
not happen in a vacuum. In readying ourselves
to be able to survive the worst and outperform during the good times to come, I wish to express my personal appreciation to all of those who
make this journey so rewarding. To everyone who contributed to achieving an incredibly smooth outcome on permitting, you have my deepest thanks. I am especially grateful to Calista and TKC for their steadfastness in working so constructively
with Barrick and the Donlin Gold team during this process. But the thanks extend as well to all of the state government entities – from the Governor’s office down to the local level – that have been so helpful in assisting the Corps and the BLM in their task. In the successful conclusion of the sale of Galore to a fine company, Newmont, we were blessed to have great collaborators such as Teck Resources Ltd. and the Tahltan Nation, with whom we kept faith by delivering an equally excellent partner. For a fruitful drill program at Donlin, and all individuals working on the optimization work, I am grateful to Barrick and the Donlin Gold team. Lastly, on
a more personal note, I wish to invoke Aristotle’s maxim that “Friendship is like a partnership” and thank my friends and partners – the management team led by Greg Lang, the board of NOVAGOLD, and our wonderfully supportive and value-adding shareholders – for making the role of Chairman a joy rather than a duty, as together we take up the value chain the single most exciting asset in the gold space.
 Dr. Thomas Kaplan
Chairman, Board of Directors February 11, 2019
   Long-term shareholders who understand and share our investment thesis.
     $1.2B* market cap
26.2% Electrum Strategic Resources LP & affiliates
7.5% Fidelity Management & Research Company
6.8% Paulson & Co. Inc. 5.5% Van Eck Associates
4.2% The Baupost Group, L.L.C.
2.2% Tocqueville Asset Management, LP
2.1% First Eagle Investment Management, L.L.C.
     4 5.5%
 * Market Capitalization based on 325.1 million shares issued and outstanding and NG share price of $3.64 as of January 25, 2019. Shareholder positions are based on the latest 13-D, 13-F or 13-G filings as of September 30, 2018.

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