Mineralization was discovered on the Galore Creek property in the mid-1950s and extensive exploration work was carried out by major mining companies prior to NOVAGOLD acquiring the property in 2003. NOVAGOLD completed a feasibility study and environmental assessment (EA) application in 2006. EA approvals were received in 2007 from the governments of Canada and British Columbia for a project configuration in which the mine, process plant, tailings and mine rock storage were all located in the Galore Valley.
In August 2007, Teck purchased a 50% interest in the project, at which point Galore Creek Mining Corporation (GCMC) was created. GCMC commenced procurement, construction and detailed engineering in 2007. Development activities were suspended in November 2007 due to an escalating cost estimate and construction schedule concerns.
GCMC carried out an optimization study in 2008 to assess different project configurations to improve the economics of the project. However, the economic downturn in 2008 resulted in the project being placed on care and maintenance. Since the suspension of project construction, GCMC has continued to collect baseline data to meet all EA commitments and permit conditions, as well as carry out studies to determine the optimal project configuration.
In 2010, GCMC initiated a prefeasibility study (PFS) to evaluate a revised project configuration that locates the plant site and tailings management facility in the upper West More Valley, connected to the mine area in the Galore Valley via a tunnel. The PFS, completed in 2011, confirmed the technical and economic viability of the project and identified opportunities to increase mineable mineral resources and extend the mine life.