In 2013, IAMGOLD held out a lot of promise for its Côté Gold project near Gogama, acquired a year earlier from Trelawney Mining. But then the price of gold dropped, and the project was put on the backburner.
“As with most mining companies, we just tried to survive,” said Steve Woolfenden, IAMGOLD’s director of environment, during an April 21 talk in Sudbury to kick off that city’s Modern Mining and Technology Week. “We’ve managed through that downturn.”
In the background, IAMGOLD was still chipping away at the environmental assessment (EA) process, and today, the company has emerged with a renewed optimism about the project, although the plan has been amended from its earlier version.
The Côté Gold project is located almost halfway between Timmins and Sudbury, about five kilometres west of Highway 144. In its previous iteration, the proposal called for a 15-year mine life, a mill rate of 60,000 tonnes per day, and a requirement of 1,200 employees — 500 for construction alone.
“At the time, we thought bigger was better,” Woolfenden said. But the company is now considering a scaled-back footprint for the proposed operation. The project has earned both its federal and provincial EA certificates, and in February IAMGOLD announced the completion of a positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA), indicating it would start work on a prefeasibility study.
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