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Iamgold halts Westwood mine following earthquake

Westwood gold mine in Canada. (Image courtesy of IAMGOLD)

Canada’s Iamgold (TSX IMG), (NYSE: IAG) said on Monday it had suspended operations at its Westwood underground mine in southwestern Québec, Canada, following a seismic event at the operation last week.

The Toronto-based miner said the movement occurred at around 2:30 pm Eastern time on Friday October 30th, adding that it was looking into the incident’s cause.

All employees present at the time of the unspecified seismic event had been safely brought above ground, the company said.

Iamgold said that all employees present at the time of the unspecified seismic event had been safely brought above ground

Westwood mine and mill operations are currently suspended while the company mulls a business recovery plan for the operation.

Iamgold has been reviewing Westwood for months. In February, it booked a $395 million charge on the mine, which has operated at reduced capacity after another earthquake, which happened in late 2019.

“We have adopted a cautious and empirical based approach that reflects current operational reality, with significant opportunities to improve on the base case,” president and chief executive Gordon Stothart said in August.

Before Friday’s event, Iamgold expected Westwood to produce between 100,000 to 125,000 ounces of gold a year during a three to four year ramp-up period. After that, the mine was expected to churn out 130,000 to 145,000 ounces of gold annually.

The miner has said the asset’s total attributable reserves sit at 0.6 million ounces, grading 7.1g/t gold.

Measured and indicated resources, inclusive of reserves, increased by 6% to 1.56 million ounces grading 10.2g/t, and inferred by 4% to 1.77 million ounces at 8.6g/t.

Iamgold said it would provide a further update along with third-quarter results after markets close on Wednesday, November 4.