Shares in Iamgold Corp. fell 14.6 per cent Thursday – their steepest drop in nearly five years – as the Canadian miner faces heavy criticism for its alleged poor disclosure over the death of a miner at a South American mine site.
Last week, the Toronto-based company suspended mining at its second-biggest mine, Rosebel in Suriname, after an “unauthorized” artisanal miner was killed, following a confrontation with police. Iamgold said the fracas, which involved an unspecified number of artisanal miners, also caused equipment damage. The company said there are continuing security concerns for its staff at Rosebel.
Artisanal mining is common in Africa and South America, often involving impoverished locals mining by hand. While occasionally legal, artisanal miners often trespass on concessions controlled by international mining companies.
Iamgold didn’t disclose how many miners were involved in the incident, the extent of the equipment damage or the reasons for the security threat. No information was provided on how long mining would be shut down.
“In some of these countries these things rise up, and need to be settled and need to be settled in the right way, and that takes time,” Stephen Letwin, chief executive officer of Iamgold, said in a conference call with analysts on Thursday, after the release of its second-quarter results.
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