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Construction of Côté Gold project more than 43% completed

Mar 3, 2022

By Kevin Vincent
Northern Ontario’s newest gold producer kicked off 2022 with news of a change at the top of the company. IAMGOLD announced in January that longtime President and CEO Gordon Stothart had stepped down and was resigning from the Board of Directors.  
In the interim, Daniella Dimitrov, the CFO and Executive Vice President Strategy and Corporate Development, was appointed President and Interim Chief Executive Officer. In a news release, the company said, “Ms. Dimitrov brings significant industry and leadership experience and is well-positioned to advance the Company’s strategy through the period of leadership transition, with the support of the Board of Directors and senior leadership team.”
Don Charter, Chair of the Board of Directors, stated, “Gord joined the Company in 2007 as our COO and became the President and CEO in March of 2020. He has played a key role in the evolution of the company over 15 years and in particular the championing of our Côté Gold project. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I thank Gord for his years of service to IAMGOLD and wish him the very best in the future.”
Charter added, “The Board intends to immediately conduct a thorough search for the company’s next CEO. In the interim, Daniella brings extensive mining industry and capital markets experience to the Interim CEO position. Stothart remains with the company in an advisory capacity as required to support the transition as well as the development of Côté Gold.
In the meantime, the Côté Gold project is more than 43% of the way to its 2023 Q3 production start. The billion dollar gold mine just south of Timmins.
“IAMGOLD finished with a strong quarter bringing production for the year to the upper end of revised guidance as we strive to deliver on our commitments,” said Gordon Stothart prior to stepping down. “Looking ahead, we are fully focused on bringing Côté Gold into production and we remain on track to commence commercial production in the second half of 2023. Operationally, we expect continued strong performance at Essakane, following a record year of production in 2021, supporting the turnaround at Rosebel and continued ramp up of Westwood. At the same time, we will continue our review to ensure we focus on value generating assets, maximizing net free cash flow, and prudent management of IAMGOLD’s capital - towards our goal of becoming a leading high-margin gold producer.”
The company expects to spend between $590 and $620 million USD on Côté in 2022.
In December 2021, the company announced the appointment of Jerzy Orzechowski as Executive Project Director for Côté Gold. Orzechowski is a senior executive specializing in project development, management, engineering, construction and strategic planning with 40 years of experience working in various project execution strategies and in all phases of large capital projects implementation and execution.
In a news release the company said his wealth of experience with large projects will be invaluable in bringing Côté Gold through construction completion to production. The management of the project now reports to Orzechowski and he reports directly to the CEO and is involved in the oversight by the Côté Project Review Committee of the Board.
As of December 31, 2021, detailed engineering reached approximately 92.2% with plant civil and concrete deliverables principally completed and mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation continuing into the first quarter of 2022. Overall, the Côté Project was approximately 43.4% complete.

PROJECT ON TRACK but closely monitors global logistic risks
Overburden pre-stripping in the Côté pit is advancing and during the period access to fresh rock was achieved to the east. The first ore blast was taken in October 2021 in the southern area of the pit and mining activities broke through elevation 382 throughout several areas of the pit - a significant milestone achieved for the project.
Processing facility structural steel erection, which commenced in mid-October, has completed all major lifts with only a minor part of in-fill steel remaining to be erected for the high-bay grinding section of the building. Wall panel cladding installation has started with approximately 32% completed at quarter end. The company remains on track for process building enclosure by the end of the first quarter of 2022. Other civil works associated with the processing facility including the HPGR/secondary crusher building and primary crushing building were completed during the quarter. The primary crusher feeder frames, chutes and associated supports are now on site. Fabrication of conveyors is progressing well with delivery as sections are completed. Major components of the ball mill such as motor, chillers and shells are progressing well, and elements have started shipping.
Permanent camp commissioning is complete providing, along with the construction camp, a total of 1388 rooms. The project averaged approximately 800 workers at site prior to the ramp down for the holidays. The permanent potable water treatment plant has been commissioned and the camp is planning to switch to grid power early in the new year. Work on the 42 kilometer 115KV power line has started with tree clearing.
Equipment delivery is ongoing and inventory on site continues to increase. We continue to closely monitor global logistics risks and, at this time, are not expecting material impacts on the project schedule, although challenges in the global supply chain persist which may be amplified by impacts from the current Omicron wave.
The company secured a number of key operations phase permits during the quarter, including the provincial Environmental Compliance Authorization for operations, the key remaining permit, the permit to take water and permits required to support the construction of the transmission line. Community consultations and ongoing implementation of the impact benefit agreements signed with indigenous partners continue. Remaining, non-critical path, minor permits are expected to be received during the remainder of the project.
Operational readiness mainly focused on organizational design, and hiring, and initiation of training programs which are expected to ramp up in the first quarter of 2022. Other key activities included the ongoing work related to the identification of spare parts requirements for critical equipment and procurement strategies for key consumables.

Confidence in Gosselin resource continues to build

On January 27, 2022 IAMGOLD announced additional assay results from its delineation diamond drilling program at the Gosselin zone discovery, centered approximately 1.5 kilometres northeast of the Côté Gold construction project. The Gosselin delineation drilling program is being undertaken as part of the Côté Gold 70:30 joint venture between IAMGOLD, as the operator, and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd.

Highlights include:

  • 355.5 meters (“m”) at 0.78 grams per tonne gold (“g/t Au”) in drill hole GOS21-94 from 128.5 m including 96.6 m at 1.50 g/t Au from 383.4 m;
  • 256.0 m at 2.05 g/t Au in drill hole GOS21-98 from 156.0 m including 1.0 m at 101.0 g/t Au from 284.0 m; and 1.0 m at 197.0 g/t Au from 321.0 m;
  • 357.5 m at 0.55 g/t Au in drill hole GOS21-101 from 65.5 m including 48.5 m at 1.03 g/t Au from 65.5 m, and 111.0 m at 0.86 g/t Au from 312.0 m;
  • 173.0 m at 0.70 g/t Au in drill hole GOS21-95 from 228.0 m including 102.0 m at 0.95 g/t Au from 273.0 m;
  • 87.9 m at 1.30 g/t Au in drill hole GOS21-102 from 335.1 m, including 1.0 m at 60.20 g/t from 383.5 m.

Craig MacDougall, Executive Vice President, Growth for IAMGOLD, stated: “Our confidence in the Gosselin resource continues to build and these latest results compare well with predicted grades from the resource block model and in some cases have extended the mineralization outside of the resource boundaries of the mineralization model. Our planned drilling program in 2022 will target areas with potential for resource expansion.”
The Gosselin zone discovery is located immediately adjacent to the northeast of the Côté Gold deposit and is accessible by construction roads on the developing mine property.
A significant milestone was reached on October 18, 2021 with the announcement of an initial mineral resources estimation of the Gosselin deposit, comprising 3.35 million ounces in an indicated category and a further 1.71 million ounces in an inferred category at overall grade similar to the Côté Gold deposit. The mineral resources estimate for the Gosselin zone incorporates assay results from 163 diamond drill holes totaling 54,775 metres, including 95 drill holes holes totaling 38,398 metres completed by IAMGOLD as part of its delineation drilling program. The addition of the Gosselin deposit to the total mineral resources inventory in the Côté District represents a 33% increase in ounces in the measured and indicated resources categories and a 45% increase in ounces in the inferred resources category.

IAMGOLD Reports Fire-Related Incident at Côté Batch Plant

A fire occurred overnight on February 24th, 2022, in the concrete batch plant at the Company's Côté Gold project, located in Ontario, Canada.

On-site emergency responders were deployed and immediately initiated response procedures, working in conjunction with the local fire department. The fire was extinguished and no injuries were reported. Activities at site resumed in the early morning and the cause of the fire is being investigated. The project team is assessing the situation and evaluating potential mitigation measures to determine the impact this event may have to ongoing construction activities. The Company will provide further updates as appropriate.

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