Iamgold-Sumitomo JV Will Develop Ontario Gold Project
Côté is one of Canada’s largest undeveloped gold deposits, with proven and probable reserves totaling 5.9 million ounces (oz) in 196 million metric tons (mt) grading 0.94 grams/mt of gold. Along with its announcement of the Sumitomo agreement, Iamgold reported positive results from a prefeasibility study (PFS) of the Côté project and said it will proceed with a feasibility study, which is planned for completion in the second half of 2018.
The PFS describes a project producing 320,000 oz/y of gold over a mine life of 17 years. Initial capital expenditures are estimated at about $1 billion. Life-of-mine average total cash costs are estimated at $605/oz, and life-of-mine all-in sustaining costs are estimated at $689/oz.
The study identified the preferred development option as a conventional truck-and-shovel, open-pit mining operation, with a life-of-mine strip ratio of 2.85:1. Processing is planned at a rate of 32,000 mt/d through a circuit incorporating primary crushing, secondary crushing, tertiary high-pressure grinding rolls, ball milling, gravity concentration, and cyanide leaching, followed by gold recovery using carbon-in-pulp, stripping, and electrowinning. Metallurgical recoveries are estimated at 91.8%.
The planned crushing-grinding circuit is more energy efficient than a standard SAG mill or pre-crush circuit and uses less crushing and grinding media. A thickened tailings management facility is included in the planning. A 44-km tap line connection to Hydro One’s Shining Tree substation will provide power to the mine site.
Iamgold President and CEO Steve Letwin said, “The robust project economics generated from the prefeasibility study further validate our view that Côté is an exceptional organic growth project, particularly when our industry faces a shortage of undeveloped gold deposits in attractive mining jurisdictions with surrounding infrastructure.... Additionally, Côté has significant exploration upside potential, with more than 500 km2 of exploration-rights held property surrounding the deposit. We are looking forward to working with Sumitomo to advance the Côté gold project toward development.”
The Côté project PFS was completed jointly by Iamgold, Amec Foster Wheeler and Roscoe Postle Associates, with inputs from technical studies completed by other consultants.