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IAMGOLD receives federal approval for the Côté Gold Project

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Global Mining Review,

IAMGOLD Corp. confirms that it has received approval for its application under Section 36 of the Fisheries Act (Canada) for the Côté Gold Project, a key milestone in attaining permits relating to impacts on fish habitats and tailings management. Final publication of the amended Schedule 2 of the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations is expected on 8 July 2020.

Côté, located in northern Ontario, Canada, is a 70/30 Joint Venture (JV) with Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM), demonstrating potential to produce 460 000 oz of gold annually at low all-in sustaining costs of approximately US$700/oz in the first 6 years of production with a 16-year mine life. The JV has been very active in de-risking the project since the feasibility study was published in late 2018. As of the end of May 2020, the company provides the following updates on the project:

Project development:

  • Completed additional resource and geotechnical studies and advanced mine planning.
  • Completed over 60% of detailed project engineering, including the tailings facility.
  • This level of engineering has enabled the project to obtain firm bids and secure prices on all major equipment. To date, 55% of project cost has firm pricing, further reducing technical and cost risks for the project leading to a refinement in costs and metrics as we work toward a construction decision. The company's share of the anticipated go-forward range for capital is US$875 - 925 million.
  • Completed a pre-construction camp on the adjacent Chester site.
  • Completed all tree clearing needed for initiating construction; work was carried out with a First Nations partner firm earlier in 2020, before standing down in respect of the global COVID-19 crisis.
  • Carried out detailed implementation studies on technology, including automated truck haulage and drilling and commenced discussions with regulators regarding the use of automated equipment.
  • Advanced development of construction protocols in consideration of COVID-19.
  • Completed 4700 m of drilling at the Gosselin Zone, a potential satellite pit 1.5 km northeast of Côté.

Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Signed impacts and benefits agreement with First Nations partners.
  • Approved environmental assessment and closure plan.
  • Advanced permitting:
    • Received approval under the Federal Fisheries Act - Section 36, Schedule 2.
    • Other permitting underway.

"A key part of the future of IAMGOLD is our organic growth pipeline, starting with the Côté Gold Project in northern Ontario," stated Gordon Stothart, IAMGOLD President and CEO, "The transformative impact of Côté Gold on IAMGOLD's production profile and global cost structure, in addition to its long mine life in an attractive jurisdiction, establishes clear and compelling reasons for this project to proceed. Our current financial position supports our proposed growth plans, with over US$800 million in cash on hand, access to a currently undrawn US$500 million committed revolving credit facility, and expected stronger operating cash flows from our current mining operations, including anticipated contributions from Saramacca at Rosebel and steady performance from Essakane and Westwood."

A formal decision on the construction of the Côté Gold Project will be made in conjunction with IAMGOLD's partner, SMM, given a satisfactory environment for construction to proceed with appropriate work protocols in light of COVID-19 and without risk of interruption. The company is currently working with SMM toward a formal decision. A decision in the coming months would allow construction to commence later this year with a targeted completion date of mid-2023.

Addressing the Boto Gold Project, Stothart commented: "In Senegal, we are actively engaged in advancing Boto through a disciplined, staged approach, building essential initial infrastructure to secure access to the site, and further de-risking the Project as we have successfully done for Côté."

Stothart continued: "These projects, together with our existing operations, will position IAMGOLD as a leading intermediate gold producer, boasting a growing production profile and declining cost structure, together with a greater geographic diversification across North and South America and West Africa."

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