For years, Toronto-based Iamgold Corp. had been studying the cost of building its Côté mine in northeastern Ontario, but many shareholders often pushed back because of the high price tag associated with construction, estimated around $1.1 billion.
Last August, then-chief executive Stephen Letwin said construction costs made it “just a non-starter.” “I would say, the message has been loud and clear from our shareholders,” Letwin said during a conference call at that time. “We want smaller projects, less capital-intensive projects” than Côté.
Less than a year later, the project’s back on the table and looking more likely as the price of gold surges above US$1,800 per ounce — an altitude that has almost never been reached, save for about a roughly month-long period in 2011, when it hit an all-time high of US$1,917.90.
In Canada, because of the favourable currency exchange rate, the price of gold stands at $2,407 per ounce — the highest ever on record. Spot gold was up 0.6 per cent to US$1,808.75 per ounce on Monday.
The steady rise for gold, which began a year ago means that across Canada, gold projects that investors long shrugged off, met with nonchalance or ignored, such as Côté, are suddenly back in reach for chief executives, and the country could see a wave of new gold mines built in the coming months and years.