The capital cost of $6.7 billion, which was approximately $300 million lower than the guidance provided in September 2011, now includes the construction of a 500-kilometer natural gas pipeline that, at a cost of approximately $1 billion, which would deliver natural gas from the Cook Inlet to the mine site, and $984 million of contingencies. The change to utilizing natural gas was previously described as an upside case for the updated feasibility study. Its confirmation of viability is indeed an important modification that is believed to improve numerous project parameters including lowering operating costs; improving environmental management and socialFrom the NovaGold website this nugget (LINK), Quote:
infrastructure; providing flexibility for future operational modifications; and facilitating potential increases in the scale of operations in this geologically prospective district. The Company believes that the long-life nature of the Donlin Gold Project offers the potential to lower the capital expenditures through long-term off-take with third-party providers, including supply of natural gas. The Company now anticipates the Project permitting to commence in the first half of 2012.
Natural gas will be delivered to site by a 500-kilometer-long 12-inch-diameter pipeline. It will serve as the energy source for on-site power generation. This natural gas pipeline is a lower-cost alternative to the previously considered barging of diesel fuel. Operating costs include importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) by ship to Anchorage and total delivery costs to site which includes ship based regasification of the LNG and delivery from Anchorage to the Donlin Gold project via the pipeline. There may be an opportunity in the future to source natural gas from within Alaska.Maybe this gas line is GO. I'm still hunting a link to the actual study, I'll post a link when I find it. (UPDATE - Found the file. Go to LINK then click on "View this company's public documents" and search for "Technical Report (NI 43-101)" dated Jan 12 2012). (Better link on the company website LINK).
Sounds like the NovaGold study is based on $13.33/MMBTU LNG from outside Alaska with the possibility of obtaining gas from within Alaska at some point in the future. Their approach is a good one - Project cost are independent of the outcome of the larger Alaska Gas Pipeline debate / projects.
Good luck NovaGold - Best wishes for a safe and productive project.