Iamgold‘s 70%-owned Côté gold project in northern Ontario has received a key federal permitting approval, taking it one step closer to a construction decision.
The approval, under the Fisheries Act, is related to impacts on fish habitats and tailings management for the site, located 20 km southwest of Gogama.
Iamgold says it’s working toward a construction decision with Sumitomo Metal Mining, its 30% partner at Côté and that the ability to construction to proceed with appropriate covid-19 protocols in place and without the risk of interruption will play into the decision.
If a positive decision is made in the next few months, the partners could begin construction this year with work completed in mid-2023.
In the meantime, the company has completed advanced mine planning and additional resource and geotechnical studies; 60% of detailed project engineering, including the tailings facility; a preconstruction camp; all tree-clearing required to begin construction; and advanced development of construction protocols during the covid-19 pandemic.
It’s also carried out detailed implementation studies on technology, including automated truck haulage and drilling.
“A key part of the future of Iamgold is our organic growth pipeline, starting with the Côté gold project in northern Ontario,” said Gordon Stothart, Iamgold’s president and CEO, in a release.
“The transformative impact of Côté Gold on Iamgold’s production profile and global cost structure, in addition to its long mine life in an attractive jurisdiction, establishes clear and compelling reasons for this project to proceed. Our current financial position supports our proposed growth plans, with over C$800 million in cash on hand, access to a currently undrawn C$500 million committed revolving credit facility, and expected stronger operating cash flows from our current mining operations, including anticipated contributions from Saramacca at Rosebel and steady performance from Essakane and Westwood.”
A feasibility study for Côté released in 2018 showed the project could produce 367,000 gold annually at an average all-in sustaining cost of $694 per oz. over a 16-year mine life. The initial capex was pegged at $1.2 billion.
Iamgold expects it would be responsible for $875-925 million.
Côté has an approved environmental assessment and closure plan in place, as well as Impact Benefits Agreements with First Nations partners.
Iamgold’s stock was trading up 1.4% at Monday’s close on the TSE. The company has a C$2.3 billion market capitalization.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)