Canada’s IAMGOLD Corp. (TSX IMG), (NYSE: IAG) has kicked off a feasibility study for its Côté Gold Project, located in the Abitibi gold belt in Ontario, and said a construction decision should be made in the first half of 2019.
Last year, the Toronto-based miner sold a 30% interest in the proposed open pit mine to Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining, the Asian nation’s No. 1 gold producer, but it remained as the operator.
Production at Côte Gold is scheduled to start in 2021, with an expected average annual output of 320,000 ounces of gold over its 17-year life.
The company anticipates the project will create as many as 1,200 jobs during the first two years and, once in operations, it will employ 400 to 500 people.
The news comes as the company announced a substantial increase in its reserves base in 2017. IAMGOLD said it had 14.5 million ounces of gold at the end of 2017. This reflect an 86% growth from the previous year, when the mid-tier producer said it owned about 7.8 million ounces of the yellow metal in proven and probable reserves.
“We were able to crystallize significant gains in reserve ounces within the company, carrying on from our great work in 2016 to advance our high potential targets,” the company’s President and CEO Steve Letwin said in the statement. “All of our owner-operated mines reported year-on-year increases in reserves after depletion,” he added.
A big chunk of the addition (6.7 million ounces) was a result of converting resources to reserves at Côté Gold and at the Boto gold project, in eastern Senegal, following positive results from pre-feasibility studies, coupled with the previously announced reserve increase at the Rosebel gold mine, in Suriname.