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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 21:21 EDT

NovaCopper Announces Positive Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Arctic Open-Pit Polymetallic Project

July 30, 2013

        --  Estimated pre-tax NPV8% of $928 million and 23% IRR for the
            Project at base case long term metal prices

TSX, NYSE-MKT

Symbol: NCQ

VANCOUVER, July 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – NovaCopper Inc. (TSX, NYSE-MKT: NCQ) (“NovaCopper” or the “Company”) is pleased to
announce the positive results of its independent National Instrument
43-101-compliant Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) for its Arctic
Copper-Zinc-Lead-Silver-Gold Project (the “Project”) in the Ambler
mining district of Northwestern Alaska. The PEA was prepared by Tetra
Tech of Vancouver, Canada and the full technical report will be filed
on SEDAR and EDGAR within 45 days of this news release. The PEA
describes the potential technical and economic viability of
establishing a conventional open-pit copper-zinc-lead-silver-gold
mine-and-mill complex for the Project. The base case scenario utilizes
long-term metal prices of $2.90/lb for copper, $0.85/lb for zinc,
$0.90/lb for lead, $22.70/oz for silver and $1,300/oz for gold. The PEA was prepared on a 100% ownership basis and all amounts are
stated in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted
.

Highlights of the PEA( )study are as follows:

        --  Initial capital expenditure of $717.7 million and sustaining
            capital of $164.4 for total estimated capital expenditures of
            $882.1 million over the estimated 12-year mine life. In
            addition, closure and reclamation costs are estimated at $81.6
            million.
        --  Pre-tax Net Present Value (NPV)8% of $927.7 million calculated
            at the beginning of the two-year construction period and an
            Internal Rate of Return ("IRR") of 22.8% for the base case.
        --  After-tax NPV8% of $537.2 million and after-tax IRR of 17.9%
            for the base case.
        --  Estimated, pre-tax, payback of initial capital in 4.6 years and
            5.0 years after-tax.
        --  Minimum 12-year mine life supporting a maximum 10,000
            tonne-per-day conventional grinding mill-and-flotation circuit
            to produce copper, zinc and lead concentrates containing
            significant gold and silver by-products.
        --  Life of mine strip ratio of 8.39 to 1.
        --  Average annual payable production projected to be 125 million
            pounds of copper, 152 million pounds of zinc, 24 million pounds
            of lead, 29,000 ounces of gold and 2.5 million ounces of silver
            for life of mine. On a copper equivalent basis, equates to 210
            million pounds of copper per year.
        --  A capital intensity ratio on initial capital of $6,995 per
            tonne of average annual copper produced.
        --  Estimated cash costs of $0.62/lb of payable copper (C1 cash
            costs include on-site mining and processing costs, road tolls,
            transport, royalties and is net of by-product credits).
        --  Total "all-in" cash costs (initial/sustaining capital,
            operating, transportation, treatment and refining charges, road
            toll, and by-product metal credits) estimated at $1.26/lb of
            payable copper.
        --  Economic indicators justify moving forward with a
            pre-feasibility study.

The PEA should not be considered to be a pre-feasibility or feasibility
study, as the economics and technical viability of the Project has not
been demonstrated at this time. The PEA is preliminary in nature and
includes Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative
geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that
would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves. Furthermore,
there is no certainty that the PEA will be realized.

NovaCopper will host a conference call on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at
8:00am (Pacific Time) or 11:00am (Eastern Time) to discuss these
results. Call-in information is provided at the end of this news
release.

“The results of the PEA show that the Arctic Deposit has positive
economics even in today’s low metal price environment.  The Project has
excellent margins with annual average payable production of
approximately 125 million pounds of copper at an average cash cost of
$0.62 per pound of copper net of by-product credits.  On that basis,
once in production as contemplated by the PEA, Arctic would be in the
lowest quartile among copper producers in terms of cash costs.” said
Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, NovaCopper’s President and Chief Executive
Officer. “While the economics of the Project are positive, I believe
that some of the Project parameters, such as metallurgical recoveries,
capital and operating costs, can be improved, and we will continue to
focus on these aspects going forward. We are looking forward to working
with the Alaska Industrial Development Export Authority (“AIDEA”) to
advance the Arctic Project and bring significant economic benefits to
the people of the Northwest Arctic Borough and the people of Alaska.
AIDEA is the lead proponent for the permitting, financing and
construction of an industrial access road to the Ambler mining district
and the completion of this PEA provides further impetus for AIDEA to
move forward on the permitting and construction of the Ambler access
road.”

“The Arctic Project is advancing at a time of ever increasing resource
nationalism, particularly prevalent in major copper producing regions
in the world,” added Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyse. “I believe that NovaCopper’s
time-tested relationship with Alaska’s major stakeholders in the
Project, the Native Corporations as well as the Government of Alaska,
will serve as a sound foundation for a stable long-term economic
development in this important region.”

Preliminary Economic Assessment – Mining and Processing:

The PEA is based on a conventional truck-and-shovel, open-pit mine
design at a single pit with milling and sulphide concentration
resulting in the production of copper, zinc and lead concentrates. 
Based on the preliminary metallurgical work on the sulphide
mineralization, the average recoveries are projected to be 87.1% for
copper, 86.8% for zinc, 74.0% for lead, 80.4% for silver and 64.7% for
gold. The mineralized material at the Project will be processed through
conventional milling and flotation for an estimated mine life of 12
years. The PEA contemplates the metallurgical flow sheet to consist of
a conventional mill with a talc pre-float followed by a bulk
copper-lead flotation and zinc flotation followed by a separation of
the copper and lead. Most of the precious metals will report to the
copper and lead concentrates.  Total processing is based on a 10,000
tonne-per-day operation. Key parameters and assumptions used for the
PEA study are discussed below and summarized in Tables 1 through 3 on the following pages.

Table 1 – Mining rates and volumes of mined material 

     _____________________________________________________________________
    |                    |           |   Avg   |         Avg      | Total |
    |Type of Mining      |Total Years|Tonnes/yr|      Tonnes/day  |Tonnes |
    |                    |           | (000's) |                  |(000's)|
    |____________________|___________|_________|__________________|_______|
    |Open-pit mineralized|           |         |                  |       |
    |material (Years 0 - |      12   |   2,973 |         8,146    |35,681 |
    |12)                 |           |         |                  |       |
    |____________________|___________|_________|__________________|_______|
    |Open-pit waste      |      12   |  24,946 |         68,346   |299,354|
    |(Years 0 - 12)      |           |         |                  |       |
    |____________________|___________|_________|__________________|_______|
    |                    |                                        |       |
    |                    |________________________________________|_______|
    |                    |Total material mined                    |335,036|
    |                    |________________________________________|_______|
    |                    |Average strip ratio for the life of mine|8.39:1 |
    |____________________|________________________________________|_______|

Table 2 – Projected payable metal production

     _________________________________________________________
    |Metal |Total Payable Production|Average Annual Production|
    |      |                        |      Life of Mine       |
    |______|________________________|_________________________|
    |      |lbs (000's)|    Tonnes  |lbs (000's)|     Tonnes  |
    |______|___________|____________|___________|_____________|
    |Copper| 1,500,678 |   680,696  |   125,056 |     56,725  |
    |______|___________|____________|___________|_____________|
    |Zinc  | 1,821,895 |   826,398  |   151,825 |     68,866  |
    |______|___________|____________|___________|_____________|
    |Lead  |   289,246 |   131,200  |   24,104  |     10,933  |
    |______|___________|____________|___________|_____________|
    |      |             Ounces     |              Ounces     |
    |______|________________________|_________________________|
    |Silver|          30,491,812    |            2,540,984    |
    |______|________________________|_________________________|
    |Gold  |            349,094     |              29,091     |
    |______|________________________|_________________________|

Table 3 – Base case head grades, recoveries, metal prices, and other
data


    Head Grades                                                          

    Copper                             %                             2.28

    Zinc                               %                             3.13

    Lead                               %                             0.53

    Silver                             g/t                           36.91

    Gold                               g/t                           0.50

    Metal
    Recoveries                                                           

    To Copper
    Concentrate                                                          

     -     Copper                      %                             87.1

     -     Silver                      %                             40.2

     -     Gold                        %                             57.9

    To Zinc
    Concentrate                                                          

     -     Zinc                        %                             86.8

    To Lead
    Concentrate                                                          

     -     Lead                        %                             74.0

     -     Silver                      %                             40.2

     -     Gold                        %                              6.8

    Payables                                                             

    Payable Copper                     %                             96.55

    Payable Zinc                       %                             85.71

    Payable Lead                       %                             94.00

    Payable Silver                     %                               90

    Payable Gold                       %                               95

Table 3 Continued – Base case head grades, recoveries, metal prices, and
other data


    Concentrate grades - Copper                                     

    Copper                                   %                  29.0

    Silver                                   g/t                 217

    Gold                                     g/t                 4.2

    Concentrate grades - Zinc                                       

    Zinc                                     %                  56.0

    Concentrate grades - Lead                                       

    Lead                                     %                  50.0

    Silver                                   g/t                1,887

    Gold                                     g/t                 4.3

    Metal Prices                                                 

    Copper                                   $/lb               2.90

    Zinc                                     $/lb               0.85

    Lead                                     $/lb               0.90

    Silver                                   $/oz               22.70

    Gold                                     $/oz               1,300

    Other Parameters                                             

    Life of mine                             Years                12

    Fuel price                               $/l                1.182

    Electrical power - diesel generators     $/kWhr             0.322

    NANA NSR                                 % Net Revenues      1.0

Preliminary Economic Assessment – Project Economics:

The results of a discounted cash flow analysis for the Project are
presented in Table 4 below. NPV, IRR and payback values are estimated for both pre-tax and
after-tax scenarios. The base case scenario utilizes the long-term
metals prices outlined in Table 3 and a discount rate of 8%. IRR and NPV values are calculated for a
range of copper prices from $2.50 to $3.50.

Under the Exploration Agreement and Option to Lease (“NANA Agreement”)
between NovaCopper and NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (“NANA”), NANA
has the right, following a construction decision, to elect to purchase
a 16% to 25% direct interest in the Project or, alternatively, to
receive a 15% Net Proceeds Royalty (“NPR”).  This PEA was carried out
on a 100% ownership basis and does not include the impact on NovaCopper
if NANA elects to purchase an interest in the Project under the NANA
Agreement or, alternatively, the impact on NovaCopper and the Project
if the NPR becomes applicable.  The PEA does include the 1.0% Net
Smelter Royalty (“NSR”) to be granted to NANA under the NANA Agreement
in exchange for a surface use agreement. Additional information on the
NANA Agreement is included in NovaCopper’s 2012 Annual Report on Form
10-K, which contains a detailed discussion of the NANA Agreement, and
is available on SEDAR and EDGAR.

Table 4 – Pre-tax discounted cash flow estimates for varying copper
prices

     _____________________________________________________________
    |                     |Copper Price                           |
    |Pre-Tax NPV*         |($/lb)                                 |
    |($ million)          |_______________________________________|
    |                     |     |       |Base Case|       |       |
    |                     |2.50 |  2.75 |  2.90   |  3.25 |  3.50 |
    |_____________________|_____|_______|_________|_______|_______|
    |        |5%          |963.1|1,206.7| 1,352.9 |1,694.0|1,937.7|
    |Discount|____________|_____|_______|_________|_______|_______|
    |rates   |Base Case 8%|618.9| 811.9 |   927.7 |1,198.0|1,391.0|
    |        |____________|_____|_______|_________|_______|_______|
    |        |10%         |443.7| 610.2 |   710.1 | 943.2 |1,109.7|
    |________|____________|_____|_______|_________|_______|_______|
    |                                                             |
    |_____________________________________________________________|
    |IRR     |%           |18.5 |  21.2 |   22.8  |  26.3 |  28.7 |
    |________|____________|_____|_______|_________|_______|_______|
    |Payback |Years       | 5.1 |   4.8 |    4.6  |   4.3 |   4.1 |
    |________|____________|_____|_______|_________|_______|_______|

*Assumes base case metals prices of $0.85/lb zinc, $0.90/lb lead,
$22.70/oz silver and $1,300/oz gold

Table 4 Continued – After-tax discounted cash flow estimates for varying
copper prices

     ___________________________________________________________
    |                     |Copper Price                         |
    |After-Tax NPV*       |($/lb)                               |
    |($ million)          |_____________________________________|
    |                     |     |     |Base Case|       |       |
    |                     |2.50 |2.75 |  2.90   |  3.25 |  3.50 |
    |_____________________|_____|_____|_________|_______|_______|
    |        |5%          |562.2|738.5|   844.2 |1,083.5|1,246.1|
    |Discount|____________|_____|_____|_________|_______|_______|
    |Rates   |Base Case 8%|312.4|453.0|   537.2 | 727.6 | 857.3 |
    |        |____________|_____|_____|_________|_______|_______|
    |        |10%         |186.0|307.7|   380.6 | 545.4 | 657.8 |
    |________|____________|_____|_____|_________|_______|_______|
    |                                                           |
    |___________________________________________________________|
    |IRR     |%           |14.0 |16.5 |   17.9  |  20.9 |  22.9 |
    |________|____________|_____|_____|_________|_______|_______|
    |Payback |Years       | 5.6 | 5.2 |    5.0  |   4.6 |   4.4 |
    |________|____________|_____|_____|_________|_______|_______|

*Assumes base case metals prices of $0.85/lb zinc, $0.90/lb lead,
$22.70/oz silver and $1,300/oz gold

As seen in Table 5, average life of mine cash costs for the Project, which include on-site
operating costs, treatment and refinement charges, transportation, road
toll charges, royalties and by-product credits (zinc, lead, silver and
gold), are estimated to be $0.62/lb of payable copper. If the total
capital costs (initial plus sustaining and closure costs) of $963.7
million are included, then the total “all-in” cash cost is estimated to
be $1.26/lb of payable copper.

Table 5 – Summary of estimated cash costs

     _________________________________________________________________
    |Cash Costs                                       |Average Life of|
    |($/lb Cu payable)                                |     Mine      |
    |_________________________________________________|_______________|
    |C1 (delivered metal - net of by-product credits) |        0.62   |
    |_________________________________________________|_______________|
    |Total Cash Costs (opex, TC/RCs, capex, sustaining|               |
    |capex, closure)                                  |        1.26   |
    |_________________________________________________|_______________|

This PEA was developed on the basis of up-to-date macro-economic and
technical assumptions related to the Arctic Project and supersedes the
previous PEA completed in 2011.

Capital Costs

The PEA estimates the initial development capital expenditure at $717.7
million during the proposed two-year construction period. With
sustaining (deferred and working) capital over the life of the mine
estimated at $164.4 million, the expected total capital investment is
expected to be $882.1 million over the estimated 12-year mine life. In
addition, closure costs are estimated to be $81.6 million. All
estimates, which are shown in Table 6, are based on budget quotations
and Tetra Tech’s database/experience with similar projects and are not
definitive estimates based on vendor quotations.

Table 6 – Capital estimate summary

     ____________________________________________________
    |Initial Capital Estimate                      |     |
    |($ million)                                   |     |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Overall Site                                  |82.5 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Open Pit Mining                               |119.7|
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Mineralized Material Handling                 |17.4 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Process Plant                                 |122.2|
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Tailings and Water Management                 |21.0 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |On Site Infrastructure                        |49.1 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Airstrip                                      |14.2 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |External Access Roads                         |27.2 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Temporary Services                            |23.1 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Subtotal                                      |476.4|
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Indirect Costs                                |130.9|
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Owner's Costs                                 |18.6 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Contingency                                   |91.9 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Initial development capital                   |717.7|
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Sustaining Capital Estimate                   |     |
    |($ million)                                   |     |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Mining Equipment                              |45.6 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Tailings                                      |112.8|
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Other Equipment                               | 6.0 |
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Total sustaining capital                      |164.4|
    |______________________________________________|_____|
    |Total capital expenditure for the life of mine|882.1|
    |______________________________________________|_____|
        --  Rounding as required by reporting guidelines may result in
            apparent summation differences

Infrastructure

The Arctic Project will require 15 MW of peak load for 10,000
tonne-per-day operation demand.  Power will be generated by five
self-contained 3.6 MW prime diesel generators.  Four units will be in
service with the fifth unit reserved for maintenance.  Onsite power
costs using diesel are estimated to be $0.322/kWh, assuming a diesel
price of $1.182/l.

There is currently no developed surface access to the Project area. 
Access to the Project is proposed to be via a road approximately 340 km
(211 miles) long, extending west from the Dalton Highway where it would
connect with the proposed Project area.  Although the capital costs of
the road are not yet known, NovaCopper has been in discussions with
ADIEA. The working assumption in this PEA study is that AIDEA would
arrange financing in the form of a public-private partnership to
construct and arrange for the construction and maintenance of the
access road. AIDEA would charge a toll to multiple mining and
industrial users (including NovaCopper’s Arctic Project) in order to
pay back the costs of financing the AMDIAR. This model is very similar
to what AIDEA undertook when the Red Dog Road and Port facilities were
constructed during the 1980s. The amount paid in tolls by any user will
be affected by the cost of the road, its financing structure, and the
number of mines that would use the AMDIAR to ship concentrates to a
port in Alaska.  For the purposes of this PEA study it has been assumed
that a toll would be paid based on a $150-million 30-year bond at a 5%
interest rate, which would result in the Arctic Open Pit Project paying
approximately $9.7 million each year for its 12-year mine life. The
toll payments are assumed in the PEA to commence when the Project has
reached commercial production.

Operating Costs

The Project is projected to produce approximately 125 million pounds of
payable copper per year at an estimated average C1 cash operating cost
of $0.62/lb Cu over the estimated 12-year mine life. These estimated
cash costs are net of zinc, lead, gold and silver byproducts and
include onsite operating costs, transport, road tolling, smelting and
refining charges and royalties. Maintenance parts and repairs are
estimated based on industry standard factors for these costs. Mining
costs are estimated at $3.02 per tonne of material mined, at a strip
ratio of 8.39 which equates to $28.40 per tonne of material processed.
Details of the estimated operating costs, and other charges, are
presented in Tables 7 and 8 below.

Table 7 – Operating costs


    Estimated Operating Cost
    (as indicated)

    Mining                              $/tonne processed       28.40

    Processing                          $/tonne processed       19.86

    General and Administrative          $/tonne processed       8.92

    Plant Services                      $/tonne processed       3.48

    Road Toll                           $/tonne processed       3.27

    Total on-site operating costs       $/tonne processed       63.91

Table 8 – Concentrate transportation, treatment and refining charges


    Estimated Operating Cost
    (as indicated)                        

    Concentrate Transportation charges   $/wmt concentrate      147.98

    Treatment charges - Copper           $/dmt concentrate      70.00

    Treatment charges - Zinc             $/dmt concentrate      260.00

    Treatment charges - Lead             $/dmt concentrate      180.00

    Refinement charges - Copper          $/lb of payable copper  0.07

    Refinement charges - Silver          $/oz of payable silver  0.60

    Refinement charges - Gold            $/oz of payable gold   10.00
        --  wmt: wet metric tonne  dmt: dry metric tonne

Mineral Resource Estimate

The mineral resource estimate, as seen in Table 9 and which formed the
basis of the PEA, was completed by Mr. Michael F. O’Brien, M.Sc.,
Pr.Sci.Nat, FGSSA, FAusIMM, FSAIMM and an independent Qualified Person
as set forth by National Instrument 43-101. The overall effective date
of this resource estimate is July 30, 2013. The mineral resource
estimate prepared by Tetra Tech considers diamond drill holes drilled
by different operators during the period 1965 to 2011.  The majority of
the drilling has been completed in recent years by NovaCopper and its
previous parent company NovaGold Resources Inc. (“NovaGold”). The
mineral resource for the Arctic Project is supported by 43 core holes
(approximately 13,500 m) drilled by NovaGold and 92 core holes
(approximately 17,600 m) drilled by previous owners Kennecott, and/or a
Kennecott subsidiary. The geological and assay database have been
reviewed and audited by Tetra Tech. Tetra Tech is of the opinion that
the current drilling information is sufficiently reliable to interpret
with confidence the boundaries for VMS mineralization and that the
assay data are sufficiently reliable to support mineral resource
estimation.

Leapfrog(TM) software (version 2.5.1) was used to review and verify the
resource estimation domains, prior to being imported into Isatis(TM)
software (version 2012.1) to prepare assay data for geostatistical
analysis, variography, block model construction, metal grade estimation
and mineral resource tabulation. Mineral Resources were estimated into
five massive-sulphide and six semi-massive sulphide lenses, and then
combined with waste for an overall grade for the 10x10x5m block.
Extreme lead and gold assays were capped prior to compositing. Ordinary
Kriging (“OK”) and inverse distance to a power of two (“ID2″) estimates
were run, with OK used for resource reporting and ID2 used for
validation. Search parameters were constrained within each mineralized
domain and required an optimum number of 15 composites, minimum number
of 5 composites, minimum number of 2 drill holes, and maximum search
distance range of 200 metres. In general, blocks categorized as
Indicated were supported by at least 2 drill holes within a 75 metre
search radii, and blocks categorized as Inferred were supported by at
least 2 drill holes within a 150 metre search radii.

Differences between the previously reported mineral resource estimate
(as reported in the Technical Report dated April 24, 2012) are
primarily related to additional drilling, updated geological
interpretation, additional specific gravity determinations, and
reporting of grades within whole blocks designed to support an open pit
mine plan.

Additional information about the resource modeling methodology will be
documented in the upcoming 43-101 technical report.

Table 9 – Resource estimate for the Arctic Project (NSR cut off of $35/tonne)

     _________________________________________________________________________
    |Category |   Mt | Cu | Zn | Pb | Au  | Ag  | Cu  | Zn  | Pb  | Au  | Ag  |
    |         |      |(%) |(%) |(%) |(g/t)|(g/t)|(Mlb)|(Mlb)|(Mlb)|(Moz)|(Moz)|
    |_________|______|____|____|____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|
    |Indicated|23.848|3.26|4.45|0.76|0.71 |53.2 |1,713|2,338|400.9|0.55 |40.8 |
    |_________|______|____|____|____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|
    |Inferred |3.363 |3.22|3.84|0.58|0.59 |41.5 | 239 | 285 |43.2 |0.60 | 4.5 |
    |_________|______|____|____|____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

Notes

      1. These resource estimates have been prepared in accordance with NI
         43-101 and the CIM Definition Standards. Mineral resources that
         are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic
         viability. Inferred resources have a great amount of uncertainty
         as to their existence and whether they can be mined legally or
         economically. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of the
         Inferred resources will ever be upgraded to a higher category. See
         "Cautionary Notes Reserve and Resource Estimates".
      2. Mineral Resources are contained within an Indicated and Inferred
         pit design using an assumed copper price of $2.90/lb, zinc price
         of $0.85/lb, lead price of $0.90/lb, silver price of $22.70/oz,
         and gold price of $1,300/oz.
      3. Appropriate mining costs, processing costs, metal recoveries and
         inter ramp pit slope angles were used to generate the pit design.
      4. Mineral Resources have been estimated using a constant NSR cut-off
         of $35.01/tonne milled The $35.01/tonne milled cutoff is
         calculated based on a process operating cost of $19.03/t, G&A of
         $7.22/t and Site Services of $8.76/t. NSR equals payable metal
         values, based on the metal prices outlined in Note 2 above, less
         applicable treatment, smelting, refining costs, penalties,
         concentrate transportation costs, insurance and losses and
         royalties.
      5. The estimated life of mine strip ratio is 8.39:1.
      6. Rounding as required by reporting guidelines may result in
         apparent summation differences between tonnes, grade and contained
         metel content.
      7. Tonnage and grade measurements are in metric units. Contained
         copper, zinc and lead pounds are reported as imperial pounds,
         contained silver and gold ounces as troy ounces.

Project Sensitivities

Project cash flow is highly sensitive to changes in the price of copper
as indicated in Table 4. The project is also sensitive to variations in capital and operating
costs as indicated in Table 10 below. This table shows the effect of increasing or decreasing the
capital expenditure and operating expenditure estimates for the project
by +/-10%.

Table 10 – Project sensitivity to variations in capital and operating
expenditure on a Pre-Tax basis

     _____________________________________________________________________
    |NPV                  |Capex Estimate Variance|Opex Estimate Variance |
    |Pre-Tax              |_______________________|_______________________|
    |($ million)          |  +10% |  Base |  -10% |  +10% |  Base |  -10% |
    |                     |       |  Case |       |       |  Case |       |
    |_____________________|_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|
    |Discount|5%          |1,274.8|1,352.9|1,431.0|1,196.9|1,352.9|1,508.9|
    |Rates   |____________|_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|
    |        |Base Case 8%| 854.6 | 927.7 |1,000.9| 801.0 | 927.7 |1,054.4|
    |        |____________|_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|
    |        |10%         | 639.9 | 710.1 | 780.3 | 599.0 | 710.1 | 821.3 |
    |________|____________|_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|
    |                                                                     |
    |_____________________________________________________________________|
    |        |IRR%        |  20.9 |  22.8 |  24.9 |  20.9 |  22.8 |  24.7 |
    |________|____________|_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|_______|

Risks and Opportunities

The PEA noted a number of areas that will require further investigation
as the Project advances towards the pre-feasibility and feasibility
stages. Specifically, the Project requires further detailed
geotechnical and hydrological investigations including work on: pit
slopes, tailings dam, road, site facilities and the airstrip. 
Additional Acid-Base Accounting (ABA) test work will also be required
in order to evaluate the potential for acid rock drainage and metal
leaching within the Project area. Other risks include work efficiencies
in harsh arctic climatic conditions and the costs associated with mine
closure requirements. The Company will also be looking further into the
permitting timeline of the Project. All of these areas, which will be
investigated in future studies, have the potential to have a material
impact on the economics of the Project.

The PEA study also identified a number of opportunities to improve the
economics of the Project. Areas of the project that will be
investigated to further enhance the Project include:

        --  More metallurgical test work to improve copper recoveries;
        --  Potential reduction in the capital cost of the AMDIAR based on
            work being carried out by AIDEA;
        --  Investigating the density (specific gravity) of waste material
            (Company management believes that the specific gravity of the
            waste material is likely overestimated), which could result in
            a reduction in the amount of waste material that has to be
            mined and moved;
        --  Enhanced and more efficient mine plan which could include a
            larger capacity mining fleet for waste material early on in the
            mine life which could result in a quicker mine ramp up.
            Stockpiling of low grade material will also be evaluated as a
            mechanism to enhance project economics;
        --  Operating the power plant using natural gas instead of diesel
            as a source of fuel. AIDEA is currently conducting a
            feasibility study on building a Liquefied Natural Gas ("LNG")
            plant on the North Slope of Alaska where there is ample gas
            available at the well-head.  As envisioned by AIDEA, LNG
            produced on the North Slope would be trucked to Fairbanks for
            the generation of electricity. Assuming that the AMDIAR is
            constructed, the Arctic Project could potentially also be a
            customer for the North Slope LNG plant with site power
            generation then being fueled by gas;
        --  Reduce moisture content of the concentrates trucked to Port
            McKenzie; and
        --  Possible synergies between the Arctic Project and the Bornite
            Copper Projects and other potential projects within the
            Company's Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects.

Qualified Persons and NI 43-101 Technical Report

The PEA for the Project summarized here was completed by Tetra Tech
(contributors listed in Table 11); and will be incorporated in a National Instrument  43-101 compliant
Technical Report which will be available on SEDAR and Edgar within 45
days of this news release.

Table 11 – PEA Contributors

     _____________________________________________________________________
    |Qualified Person                |Scope of Responsibility             |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|
    |John Huang, Ph.D., P.Eng.       |Mineral Processing and Metallurgical|
    |Tetra Tech                      |Testing and                         |
    |                                |Recovery Methods, Market Studies and|
    |                                |Contracts,                          |
    |                                |Processing, Tailings Storage  SG&A  |
    |                                |Operating Costs,                    |
    |                                |Tailings Storage Facility Cost      |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|
    |Michael F. O'Brien, M.Sc.,      |Mineral Resource Estimates          |
    |Pr.Sci.Nat, FGSSA, FAusIMM,     |                                    |
    |FSAIMM                          |                                    |
    |Tetra Tech                      |                                    |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|
    |Sabry Abdel Hafez, Ph.D., P.Eng.|Mining Methods, Mining Operating    |
    |Tetra Tech                      |Cost Estimate,                      |
    |                                |Economic Analysis                   |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|
    |Mike Chin, P.Eng.               |Infrastructure                      |
    |Tetra Tech                      |                                    |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|
    |Graham Wilkins, P.Eng.          |Infrastructure                      |
    |EBA                             |                                    |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|
    |Jack Willms, P.Eng.             |Infrastructure                      |
    |Tetra Tech                      |                                    |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|
    |Hassan Ghaffari, P.Eng.         |Infrastructure, Water Treatment,    |
    |Tetra Tech                      |Construction Camp                   |
    |                                |Accommodation, Communications       |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|
    |Marvin Silva, Ph.D., P.Eng.     |Tailings Storage Facility           |
    |Tetra Tech                      |                                    |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|
    |Jack DiMarchi, CPG              |Environmental Studies, Permitting,  |
    |Tetra Tech                      |and Social or                       |
    |                                |Community Impact                    |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|
    |Harvey Wayne Stoyko, P.Eng.     |Capital Cost Estimate               |
    |Tetra Tech                      |                                    |
    |________________________________|____________________________________|

The PEA is preliminary in nature and includes the use of Inferred
Resources, which are considered too speculative geologically to have
the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to
be categorized as Mineral Reserves. Mineral Resources do not have
demonstrated economic viability and future in-fill drilling and
scoping, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies will determine what
percentage of the inferred resource can be placed into the mineable
category. Thus, there is no certainty that the production profile
concluded in the PEA will be realized. Actual results may vary, perhaps
materially. The Company is not aware of any environmental, permitting,
legal, title, taxation, socio-political, marketing or other issue which
may materially affect this estimate of mineral resources. The
projections, forecasts and estimates presented in the PEA constitute
forward-looking statements and readers are urged not to place undue
reliance on such forward-looking statements. Additional cautionary and
forward-looking statement information is detailed at the end of this
press release.

Qualified Person

Erin Workman, Director of Technical Services for NovaCopper Inc., is a
Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101.  Ms. Workman
has reviewed the technical information in this news release and
approves the disclosure contained herein. Sabry Abdel Hafez, Ph.D.,
P.Eng. Jianhui Huang, Ph.D., P.Eng., Michael F. O’Brien, M.Sc.,
Pr.Sci.Nat, FGSSA, FAusIMM, FSAIMM, Hassan Ghaffari, M.Sc., P.Eng., and
H. Wayne Stoyko, P.Eng. of Tetra Tech, have also reviewed the technical
information in this news release and approve the disclosure contained
herein as Qualified Persons as defined by National Instrument 43-101.

About NovaCopper

NovaCopper Inc. is a base metals exploration company focused on
exploring and developing the Ambler mining district in Alaska.  It is
one of the richest and most-prospective known copper-dominant districts
located in one of the safest geopolitical jurisdictions in the world.
It hosts world-class VMS deposits that contain copper, zinc, lead, gold
and silver, and carbonate replacement deposits which have been found to
host high-grade copper mineralization. Exploration efforts have been
focused on two deposits in the Ambler district – the Arctic VMS deposit
and the Bornite carbonate replacement deposit. Both deposits are
located within NovaCopper’s land package that spans approximately
143,000 hectares. NovaCopper has an agreement with NANA Regional
Corporation, Inc. (NANA), an Alaskan Native Corporation that provides a
framework for the exploration and potential development of the Ambler
mining district in cooperation with the local communities. Our vision
is to develop the Ambler mining district into a premier North American
copper producer.

Conference Call

Call-in details for the conference call to be held on July 30, 2013 at
8:00am (Pacific Time) or 11:00am (Eastern Time) are:

North American toll-free: 1-866-212-4491

Standard International Dial-in: 1-416-800-1066

Listeners can also access the live webcast of the conference call at

http://pragmatic.adobeconnect.com/arctic-pea/

A replay of this conference call will be available from Tuesday, July 30
until Friday, August 30 and will be posted on NovaCopper’s website at www.novacopper.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes certain “forward-looking information” and
“forward-looking statements” (collectively “forward-looking
statements”) within the meaning of applicable Canadian and United
States securities legislation including the United States Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than
statements of historical fact, included herein, without limitation,
statements relating to the future operating or financial performance of
NovaCopper and the Project, are forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified
by words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”,
“estimates”, “potential”, “possible”, and similar expressions, or
statements that events, conditions, or results “will”, “may”, “could”,
or “should” occur or be achieved. These forward-looking statements may
include statements regarding perceived merit of properties; exploration
results and budgets; mineral reserves and resource estimates; work
programs; capital or operating expenditures; timelines; market prices
for precious and base metals; or other statements that are not
statements of fact. Forward-looking statements involve various risks
and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will
prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ
materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors
that could cause actual results to differ materially from NovaCopper’s
expectations include the uncertainties involving the need for
additional financing to explore and develop properties and availability
of financing in the debt and capital markets; uncertainties involved in
the interpretation of drilling results and geological tests and the
estimation of reserves and resources; the need for cooperation of
government agencies and native groups in the development and operation
of properties; the need to obtain permits and governmental approvals;
risks of construction and mining projects such as accidents, equipment
breakdowns, bad weather, non-compliance with environmental and permit
requirements, unanticipated variation in geological structures, ore
grades or recovery rates; unexpected cost increases, which could
include significant increases in estimated capital and operating costs;
fluctuations in metal prices and currency exchange rates; and other
risk and uncertainties disclosed in NovaCopper Inc.’s Annual Report on
Form 10-K dated February 12, 2013, filed with the Canadian securities
regulatory authorities, the United States Securities and Exchange
Commission and in other NovaCopper reports and documents filed with
applicable securities regulatory authorities from time to time.
NovaCopper’s forward-looking statements reflect the beliefs, opinions
and projections on the date the statements are made. NovaCopper assumes
no obligation to update the forward-looking statements or beliefs,
opinions, projections, or other factors, should they change, except as
required by law.

Cautionary Note to United States Investors

This press release has been prepared in accordance with the requirements
of the securities laws in effect in Canada, which differ from the
requirements of U.S. securities laws. Unless otherwise indicated, all
resource and reserve estimates included in this press release have been
prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 Standards of
Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101″) and the Canadian
Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum Definition Standards on
Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves. NI 43-101 is a rule developed
by the Canadian Securities Administrators which establishes standards
for all public disclosure an issuer makes of scientific and technical
information concerning mineral projects. Canadian standards, including
NI 43-101, differ significantly from the requirements of the United
States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), and resource and
reserve information contained herein may not be comparable to similar
information disclosed by U.S. companies. In particular, and without
limiting the generality of the foregoing, the term “resource” does not
equate to the term “reserves”. Under U.S. standards, mineralization may
not be classified as a “reserve” unless the determination has been made
that the mineralization could be economically and legally produced or
extracted at the time the reserve determination is made. The SEC’s
disclosure standards normally do not permit the inclusion of
information concerning “measured mineral resources”, “indicated mineral
resources” or “inferred mineral resources” or other descriptions of the
amount of mineralization in mineral deposits that do not constitute
“reserves” by U.S. standards in documents filed with the SEC. Investors
are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of mineral deposits in
these categories will ever be converted into reserves. U.S. investors
should also understand that “inferred mineral resources” have a great
amount of uncertainty as to their existence and great uncertainty as to
their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or
any part of an “inferred mineral resource” will ever be upgraded to a
higher category. Under Canadian rules, estimated “inferred mineral
resources” may not form the basis of feasibility or pre-feasibility
studies except in rare cases. Investors are cautioned not to assume
that all or any part of an “inferred mineral resource” exists or is
economically or legally mineable. Disclosure of “contained ounces” in a
resource is permitted disclosure under Canadian regulations; however,
the SEC normally only permits issuers to report mineralization that
does not constitute “reserves” by SEC standards as in-place tonnage and
grade without reference to unit measures. The requirements of NI 43-101
for identification of “reserves” are also not the same as those of the
SEC, and reserves reported by the Company in compliance with NI 43-101
may not qualify as “reserves” under SEC standards. Accordingly,
information concerning mineral deposits set forth herein may not be
comparable with information made public by companies that report in
accordance with U.S. standards.
 

SOURCE NovaCopper Inc.


Source: PR Newswire