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exploration targets within the land package, which he called the quintessential “elephant country”. “The next Donlin could well be at Donlin. Congratulations.” Within a couple of years, we had sorted out the various messes that had been leading NOVAGOLD to collapse before 2009, and by 2010 the equity had returned to the price it had been during the Barrick takeover attempt.
2 How has your investment thesis changed since you became involved with the company, and what is your current sentiment about NOVAGOLD?
In the eleven years since we made our first share purchase, our already high level of conviction has not just maintained itself – it has literally mushroomed. Indeed, it has risen exponentially with the confluence of events that include, among others, the company’s unbroken progress stewarding the rare asset that is Donlin, the jurisdictional safety that allows us to enjoy sleeping well at night, and the macro and micro trends that render gold – and hence Donlin’s optionality – that much more attractive.
Our affection for NOVAGOLD therefore doesn’t just revolve around the reality that the company enjoys a half share in an incredibly sizable asset. It is also driven by the fact that – seldom in any industry, but most particularly in our own – management has actually done everything right. The executive team hasn’t made any stupid decisions that impaired shareholder value, broken any promises, left unchecked any box on their business plan, or forsaken any partner either legally or ethically. They’ve also been blessed with the benevolence of la fortuna, a key attribute of any successful company in our space. Whatever could have gone wrong has not. And whatever could have gone right for NOVAGOLD has
– from having truly decent people as counterparts, to the diligent work of the various government permitting agencies, to delivering with our partners at Barrick better-than-expected drill results in 2018, to having fabulous and lucky management.
Indeed, in the case of NOVAGOLD at least, the Electrum Group’s state of mind is not only unfatigued, but remains the complete antithesis to a “stale long.” If anything, our sentiment has been mightily reinforced by the miserable predicament of the gold industry itself, which I’m almost (but truth be told, not quite) sad to say actually favors our company and its future share trajectory.
I reckon many more investors will own NOVAGOLD in due course. The only question is at what price they purchase their shares, as we become a scarce go-to stock boasting the most highly rated undeveloped property in the gold space. High valuation is our objective, for Electrum will only make money to the extent that our co-investors will. And we want to make a lot of money.
   Top Long-Term Shareholders Who Share Our Investment Thesis
25.8% Electrum Strategic Resources LP & affiliates 7.5% Fidelity Management & Research Company 6.7% Paulson & Co. Inc.
5.5% BlackRock Institutional Trust & affiliates 4.2% Van Eck Associates Corporation
2.5% First Eagle Investment Management
2.4% The Vanguard Group 45.4% Other
market cap
    * Market Capitalization based on 328.3 million shares issued and outstanding and NOVAGOLD share price of $9.12 as of January 31, 2020. Shareholder positions are based on the latest 13-D, 13-F or 13-G filings as of December 31, 2019.
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