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Scope of Resources at IAMGOLD’s Côté Gold Project Continues to Expand

Apr 20, 2021

President and CEO, Gord Stothart and his development team are prepping the property for a major influx of employees in Q4 of this year.

By Kevin Vincent

    In fact, the pre-production is ahead of schedule. Companies such as Northec, Fournier & Fils, NAC, and Nuna Logistics have been in place for several months now. “Earthworks began in January,” says Stothart. “We started ahead of schedule on the earthworks as a result of pro-active planning and executing critical path items well.”
   The company is facing very few challenges in the development stage. “We were fortunate to have done significant de-risking and advanced engineering prior to the construction decision, so most challenges have been mitigated. We also had a relatively mild winter and low snow cover.”
    The company says camp capacity has been challenging, given that they were ahead of schedule in other areas, but camp capacity should catch up to the advanced schedule in the second quarter.
   IAMGOLD says as expected, COVID-19 has presented challenges, but they have made adjustments and have robust protocols in place.
   “At Côté, we have taken what we’ve learned from our operating sites and also incorporated ideas from our partner Sumitomo, our main engineering and construction firm, Wood, as well as ideas from some of the contractors who have been navigating this for a while,” said Stothart.  “We’ve established robust testing and operating protocols to protect both the local communities and the workforce.”
   PCR tests are mandatory for all workers entering site with follow-up testing throughout rotations. Recently, they have also added antigen (rapid) testing to the mix.
   “Development at the Côté Gold Project is progressing well,” Stothart adds. “We have had to make adjustments like everyone else, but earthworks started ahead of schedule and things are still moving at a good pace. We have a very strong team and, like many others around the world, they are getting on with the job, working from home if required and adjusting to the changes as a result of the pandemic.”

Wood, a global engineering and consulting company, is managing procurement and construction on the Côté Gold Project, and will manage open-pit mining until the handover to IAMGOLD.  “Wood has been a great partner and are working in an integrated team with IAMGOLD. We have done great work to optimise our planning and refine our execution as we progress and are continuously seeking out opportunities to improve on cost and time as well as Health and Safety.
   During the development, the company is also busy exploration-testing the Gosselin Zone of the project and the numbers look encouraging.
   “We are very pleased with Gosselin’s success and this will get integrated into our planning process once the resource work firms up. We are hoping to prove that up over the next little while and are targeting a potential increase by 20% to 35% above the current resources we have already declared. We hope to have more detail on that later this year.  There is obviously a lot of work beyond that to bring that potential ore into the mine plan, but I would hope that it provides a good opportunity to eventually extend the life well beyond the current projected 18 years.”

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   The next steps include plant construction as well as tailings pond construction. “A major effort will be made this summer and fall on the fish relocation program and watercourse realignment which will allow us to accelerate the pre-stripping, or initial mining in the pit.
   “Fish relocation is important because to build the mine we will need to remove or alter lakes, rivers and other smaller waterbodies. This results in a loss of fish habitat and potential harm to fish within these areas. The avoidance and mitigation of loss of fish habitat and potential harm to the fishery is an important part of the design and engineering of the Project.

The fish relocation program was a key part of the environmental permitting and approvals process for Côté Gold.

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   At IAMGOLD we are aware that, as a mining company, our activities have an environmental impact. We have an organisational commitment to sustainability and Zero Harm®. We pursue our Zero Harm® vision throughout our operations and we have a long history of sustainability-oriented operations. We are continuing to work on procurement for the major operations equipment.”

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   The entire project has been a huge boost to the two local First Nations groups, Flying Post and Mattagami. “We have a robust and honest relationship with First Nation partners Mattagami First Nation and Flying Post First Nation. From day one, back in 2012, we have strived to develop a close relationship with our host communities in a respectful and transparent manner; and we have been privileged to work with communities that engaged with us in the same spirit.
   “Our First Nation partners have played a major role in development of the Project through their participation in, and support of, our permitting process and working with us to optimise our land use and environmental impacts. They have also provided guidance on how we can develop processes so they can enhance opportunities the mine brings.”
   Stothart says IAMGOLD is also meeting regularly with First Nation partners through an established Environmental Management Committee and have established a Socio-economic Management and Monitoring Plan (SEMMP). The plan provides a structure to monitor and influence the social and economic impacts of the mine on its neighbouring communities.
   “As with any relationships there are learnings and improvements, but we are walking this road together. I believe we are enjoying very good success in developing business relationships that will stand the test of time.”
   The cities of Sudbury and Timmins have also been benefactors of the project. Stothart says the company has been welcomed by the Sudbury and Timmins communities and their ongoing support for the project is important. “We have bus terminals in Timmins and Sudbury. Once we ramp-up operations recruitment we are hoping to source most, if not all, of our workforce from northern Ontario. As a well-established mining region, we know there are skilled and experienced people in the area. We are using some advanced technology at Côté so it is our hope that those who are curious about mining technology and open to different and new ways of doing things will apply for those jobs when we post them.”
  The company is on schedule to start the first wave of recruitment for operations later this year, then gradually ramp-up recruitment through 2022 and 2023.
   Wood and other contractors have been managing their recruitment needs for the construction phase of the Project.
   Timmins is also a source of supply for good and services. The company isn’t doing a lot of operations procurement yet, but when they start they are hoping to receive competitive bids from local companies.
   The company expects to have an operations supply chain manager in place later this year with a view to ramping-up operations procurement early 2022.
    IAMGOLD is a mid-tier mining company with three gold mines on three continents, including the Essakane mine in Burkina Faso, the Rosebel mine in Suriname, and the Westwood mine in Canada. A solid base of strategic assets is complemented by the Côté Gold construction project in Canada, the Boto Gold development project in Senegal, as well as greenfield and brownfield exploration projects in various countries located in West Africa and the Americas. IAMGOLD aims to become a million-ounce gold producer as it executes on its growth strategy, including bringing Côté Gold, its fourth mine, online.
IAMGOLD is committed to maintaining its culture of accountable mining through high standards of Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) practices and employs approximately 5,000 people.

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Tags: Northern Ontario / Operational Updates / Gold / All Articles