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File photo of Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, CEO of NovaGold.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

NovaGold Resources Inc. shook up its operations Wednesday with plans to sell its stake in the Galore Creek project and spin off its Ambler project in Alaska into a new company led by NovaGold's current president and chief executive officer.

Shares in the company were up $1.13 or about 13 per cent at $10.10 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the announcement.

Under the plan, Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse will leave NovaGold to head NovaCopper Inc., which will be spun off to NovaGold shareholders.

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NovaCopper will own the Ambler project and any mining project in the recently consolidated 180,000-hectare property located in the Ambler district of northwestern Alaska.

Gregory Lang, most recently president of Barrick Gold's North American subsidiary, will become president of NovaGold, effective in January.

NovaGold also said it will look to sell all or part of its 50 per cent stake in the Galore Creek project, which the company is developing with Teck Resources.

The company also announced that Thomas Kaplan, chairman and chief executive of the Electrum Group, a privately held resource investment firm, and NovaGold chief operating officer Gil Leathley have joined the firm's board.

Mr. Kaplan was also named NovaGold chairman.

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