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    NovaGold Resources fourth-quarter loss widens to $38 million, revenues slip

    VANCOUVER - Gold miner NovaGold Resources Inc. (TSX:NG) says both its fourth-quarter and full year 2011 losses widened.

    The Vancouver-based company said Wednesday it lost $38 million, or 16 cent per share, during the fourth quarter of 2011, widening a loss of $21.5 million, or 12 cents per share, during the year-earlier period.

    The loss included an impairment charge on the Galore Creek project of $8.3 million related to equipment and $2.7 million in compensation costs related to a corporate reorganization.

    Revenues for the quarter ended Nov. 30 fell to $111 million from $172 million in the 2010 period.

    For the full year, the company's loss narrowed to $153 million, or 65 cents per share, from $203.5 million, or 95 cents per share, in 2010. That included a non-cash asset impairment charge of $116.4 million related to its Rock Creek project.

    Full year revenues slipped to $401 million from $599 million in 2010.

    Expenses for the year grew to $107.9 million compared to $70.3 million in 2010 as work increased at its Galore Creek and Ambler projects.

    Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse stepped aside from the top job at NovaGold Resources in January to lead NovaCopper, leaving an exploration company just steps away from becoming a producer.

    Its partner on the Donlin project in Alaska, Barrick Gold, is on the verge of making a decision on whether or not to go ahead with construction. NovaGold is also looking for a buyer for its stake in the Galore Creek project which is shared with Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B).

    Greg Lang, who took over the CEO role in January, said the fourth quarter of 2011 represented a turning point for the company.

    Lang, most recently president of Barrick Gold's (TSX:ABX) North American subsidiary, was responsible for the gold miner's operations in the United States, Canada and the Dominican Republic, including its 50 per cent stake in the Donlin project.

    "With the substantial de-risking of our asset base over the past year, a healthy balance sheet, and a renewed focus on a unique and pure gold flagship property at Donlin at a time when we and our shareholders' share a strongly-held long term view of the both the gold market as well as the market for scarce great gold assets, we believe that we are exceptionally well-positioned to continue to build great value for all our stakeholders," he said in a statement.

    At the end of November, the company had $66.8 million in cash and cash equivalents and working capital of $37.3 million.

    A conditional budget of US$37.2 million has been approved at the company's joint venture Donlin Gold project, of which the company's 50 per cent contribution will amount to US$18.7 million.

    At the Ambler project, held by NovaCopper, NovaGold has approved a US$4 million interim budget to support exploration and development activities.

    NovaGold (TSX:NG) shareholders still need to approve the plan that will see the Ambler assets spun off into a separate company at a meeting expected this month and a financing will need to be completed.

    A budget of $35.4 million has been approved at its Galore Creek joint venture, of which the company's 50 per cent share is about $17.7 million, but is dependent on the timing and success of its attempt to sell all or part of its stake in the project.


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