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Toronto, Ontario–(- October 23, 2023) – IAMGOLD Corporation (NYSE: IAG) (TSX: IMG) (“IAMGOLD” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce an update for the Côté Gold project highlighting the construction progress in the third quarter, alongside additional assay results from its continuing diamond drilling program at the Gosselin zone discovery located immediately adjacent to the Côté Gold deposit. The advancement of Côté Gold and the Gosselin delineation drilling program is being undertaken as part of the Côté Gold joint venture between IAMGOLD, as the operator, and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. (“SMM”). Côté Gold is located in Ontario, Canada and is currently under construction with production expected to commence in early 2024.
Highlights of Q3 2023 Côté Gold Construction Progress
Highlights of the Gosselin drilling program
Renaud Adams, President and Chief Executive Officer of IAMGOLD, stated: “It is an exciting time for IAMGOLD as we near the finish line of construction at Côté and start a new chapter at IAMGOLD. This is a project that is critical for the repositioning of this company, as when Côté Gold comes online, the Company will have a significantly higher production base and lower cost profile, providing a strong foundation of cashflow and growth opportunities in Canada. We have seen remarkable progress and transformation of the project and we are excited to host our investor and analyst tour at site tomorrow to allow for the group to not only see the advancement of the asset but to have the opportunity to see the confidence of the team on the ground as we approach commissioning and the ramp up of production next year.”
Commenting on the Gosselin drilling program, Craig MacDougall, Executive Vice President, Growth for IAMGOLD, stated: “This diamond drilling program has strategically targeted the expansion potential of the Gosselin deposit at depth, specifically below the East and newly discovered West hydrothermal breccia bodies, the gap area between these breccia’s, and also along the southern edge of the deposit. The assay results confirmed the extension of gold bearing altered and mineralized hydrothermal breccia and associated tonalite intersected in numerous drill holes up to 400 metres vertically below the previous resource pit shell over an approximate one-kilometer strike length. The results are very encouraging and indicate that the Gosselin deposit, subject to the completion of further delineation drilling, has potential to expand in size similar to the adjacent Côté deposit.”
Côté Gold Project Progress in Q3 2023
As of September 30, 2023, on an overall project progress basis, Côté Gold was estimated to be 90.6% complete, with construction progress approximately 92% complete. The following provides an update on project activities:
|Health and safety||Total project hours worked of 13.2 million hours with a project-to-date DARTFR of 0.06 and a TRIFR of 0.68.|
|Labour and workforce||In September, the project workforce averaged between 1,800 and 1,900 workers on site. Activities at site have started the shift from major construction to finalization and commissioning. Labour availability and turnover continues to be a primary focus for Côté management.|
|Earthworks activities||The TMF east starter dam reached the Phase 1 elevation of 396, and the West starter dam is substantially complete at its final elevation of 410.5 EL. These milestones enable filling the TMF with water to store the 1.1M-1.5M m3 required for commissioning. At the end of September, 0.8M m3 of water has been accumulated in the TMF.
Bulk fill for the Phase II TMF has reached target elevation; sand bedding and liner work is being completed in the fourth quarter.
The primary earthworks contractor demobilized during the quarter, successfully handing off pit, dewatering, pioneer drilling and overburden stockpile activities to IAMGOLD operations teams.
|Processing plant||Progress for both the dry and wet areas of the process facility advanced well in the quarter. It is anticipated bulk construction will end in October, ushering in the finishing and completion stages.
The HPGR and secondary crushing building progressed well in the quarter, with the installation of most of the secondary crusher components. All conveyors have been erected for the HPGR and secondary crusher building marking a major milestone.
In the coarse ore area, the triodetic dome cladding was substantially complete at quarter end. Conveyors and interconnecting electrical has been turned over to the Pre-commissioning team. The screen building saw the installation of the screens, conveyors and belts. The fine ore bin area is substantially complete, with walkdowns completed for most subsystems.
Installation of ball mill liners is complete, and motors and motor soleplates were set. The alignment on the ring gear for the ball mill was found to be out of tolerance. The OEM service team is on site to address the problem.
Leach and CIP tank installation continues to be a primary focus with final completion expected early in the fourth quarter. Leak testing of leach tanks and thickeners commenced in October. Construction sequence has been adjusted to prioritize critical tanks for commissioning to mitigate potential delays on the overall schedule.
|Infrastructure||Commissioning of the main electrical substation and the connection to the provincial hydro grid and the substation was completed in the quarter. The substation was energized successfully and connections throughout the site are ongoing.
Installation of underground services and utilities continued to progress. Fuel distribution and storage, including the refueling station, has been commissioned and completed.
Truck shop building A was completed in the quarter, followed by building B in the fourth quarter. All cranes are commissioned with OH doors installed, and fire proofing started in building B. The installation of the electrical room for the assay lab is ongoing with handover to operations planned in October.
|Procurement||Heavy mobile equipment continues to arrive on site with fourteen CAT 793F haul trucks, two 6060 electrical shovels, three 994 loaders and three D10 dozers having been delivered by the end of September.
Commissioning of the first electric shovel is ongoing, awaiting completion of electrification in order to be deployed for in-pit activities.
|Operational readiness||Commissioning and Pre-commissioning teams are working with construction teams to coordinate the overlapping of pre-operation activities with construction. Operational readiness continues in multiple areas with a focus on ramping up mining activities, hiring and training of process plant personnel, development and standardization of mine, mill and site maintenance processes and systems, and preparation for the transition of site services contracts.
Autonomous hauling continued to ramp up. During the third quarter 2023, up to ten CAT 793F haul trucks have begun operating in autonomous mode and a total of fourteen haul trucks have been commissioned. Autonomous drilling began in the quarter with four Pit Vipers now in operation. The operations team are continuously improving haulage roads and dumping location to achieve improved autonomous haulage efficiency and cycle times.
Mining activities advanced, progressing down to the 364 m EL bench grade in the south area, and starting of mining to the same level in the east. Owner mining has progressed well with nearly 1.6 million tonnes mined in the third quarter 2023. The ore stockpile has approximately 3.7 million tonnes of material on track to the target build-up of 5.0 million tonnes by the end of the year. The IAMGOLD mine operations team started operating 24/7 effectively in July and is at full complement as of quarter end.
The 2022/2023 48,000 m RC drill program de-risking the first year of the mine plan was completed. A new 30,000 m contract has been awarded with drilling commenced at the end of the quarter.
|Permitting and sustainability||All critical permitting and sustainability work is complete with non-critical path work ongoing and expected to be received during the remainder of the project.
Community consultation and the implementation of the IBA with Indigenous partners continue. The health, safety and environmental programs and the emergency response plan are in development along with standard operating procedures.
Upcoming Milestones and Schedule Summary
Côté Gold is expected to commence production in the first quarter of 2024. Construction of the project commenced in the third quarter 2020 and major earthworks commenced in the first quarter 2021. Recently achieved milestones and those remaining of note are as follows: