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IAMGOLD and Sumitomo Win PDAC’s Viola McMillan Award

By Frank Giorno

Mar 29, 2018

IAMGOLD Corporation and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd.  were jointly honoured with the 2018 Viola R. MacMillan Award by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada on March 6 at their 86th annual convention

This award, named in honour of PDAC's longest serving president, is given to an individual or organization demonstrating leadership in management and financing for the exploration and development of mineral resources.

IAMGOLD and SMM were presented the award by PDAC for significantly striving to develop Côté Gold project in Ontario by forming a joint venture, which enables them to engage in a joint project that mitigates the risk.

 Côté Gold, southwest of Timmins and northwest of Sudbury will greatly contribute to local economy in the northeastern part of Ontario and in Canada.

It is the first time for a Japanese company or a Japanese individual to be a recipient of an award by PDAC.

Mr. Hiroshi Asahi, SMM's Director, Executive Officer and General Manager of Mineral Resources Division, received the award together with Mr. Donald K. Charter, the Chairman of IAMGOLD, on behalf of both companies at the award ceremony held on the evening of Tuesday March 6, 2018 at Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada.


Viola R. MacMillan Award honours PDAC’s longest serving president and is given to an individual or organization demonstrating leadership in management and financing for the exploration and development of mineral resources.

PDAC founded in 1932, has 7,500 individuals and members of corporate groups worldwide. 

The annual PDAC Convention is regarded as the premier international event for the mineral industry. It has attracted more than 25,000 people from 125 countries in recent years.

In 2018, its annual convention was held at Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Canada from Sunday March 4 to Wednesday March 7 with many trade shows and investor exchange events.

In June 2017 Sumitomo Metal Mining purchased a 30% interest in the Côté Gold project in northeastern Ontario from IAMGOLD for US$195 million. The investment and subsequent 70-30 joint venture agreement was a breakthrough, allowing IAMGOLD to proceed toward development of a major gold project in a challenging financing environment. Côté Gold would be the first new major open pit gold mine developed in northern Ontario in over five years and is expected to produce an average of 320,000 ounces of gold per year over a 17-year life span when it enters production in 2021.

The initial development proposal for Côté Gold came at a time when gold prices were declining. By envisioning a smaller project and reconfiguring the proposed surface facilities, IAMGOLD was able to halve the capital cost to just over US$1 billion and produce a much more compelling preliminary economic assessment (PEA). The company also secured environmental approval from both provincial and federal ministries. Combined with a strengthening gold price environment, these achievements paved the way for joint venture discussions between IAMGOLD and Sumitomo.

A subsequent preliminary feasibility study (PFS) sealed the strategic partnership by confirming Côté Gold’s potential. With proven and probable reserves of 5.9 million ounces, the project has an after-tax net asset value of US$703 million, an internal rate of return of 14% and a payback period of 4.5 years. In an industry challenged by reserve replacement, the mine will become one of IAMGOLD's most productive assets and boost Sumitomo’s annual gold output to nearly 18 tonnes from 15 tonnes.

Côté Gold will benefit northeastern Ontario, a region suffering declines in both population and employment, and Canada as a whole. The project offers an estimated 19 years of employment through construction, operation and closure and will procure hundreds of millions worth of goods and services during the construction and operation phases. Federal and provincial revenues are expected to total more than $1 billion through direct and indirect economic activity. Engagement with surrounding Indigenous communities continues.

The joint venture is a success story because it mitigates the risk of the Côté Gold project by giving IAMGOLD access to Sumitomo’s considerable financial resources and mine building and operating expertise. Together, the two companies are confident they can begin construction as early as 2019 and achieve commercial production by 2021 while ensuring a net positive impact on local and regional communities.

Other winners of PDAC 2018 Awards

Bill Dennis Award

NexGen Energy Ltd.

Distinguished Service Award

Ted Reeve

Environmental & Social Responsibility Award

Golden Star Resources

Skookum Jim Award

Lana Eagle

Special Achievement Award

Jean Descarreaux

Thayer Lindsley Award

Don Taylor, Arizona Mining Inc.