IAMGOLD has released its latest quarterly results, highlighting the significant progress it has made on its majority-owned Côté gold project in northeastern Ontario, Canada.
The company is the majority owner and operator of Côté, with the next biggest stake owned by Sumitomo Metal Mining. Côté has a mine life of 18 years, and will produce an average of 365,000 oz/y over this term. Some 236 Mt of ore will be mined, along with 568 Mt of waste, with an average processed grade of 0.96 g/t Au.
In the latest results, IAMGOLD said the project was estimated to be 85.7% complete as of the end of June. Since commencement of construction, $2.23 billion ($1.56 billion at the 70% held by IAMGOLD) of the planned $2.965 billion ($2.08 billion at 70%) of project expenditure has been incurred.
Autonomous operations have been incorporated into the Côté mine design with a focus on early operations readiness. The Autonomous Control Room equipped for Caterpillar Command for hauling was completed in mid-September and the project achieved a major milestone in January with the initial deployment of the autonomous 231 t Cat 793F CMD haul trucks working with Toromont Cat. On January 22, the mine saw the safe operation of a full load, haul, and dump cycle using autonomous dump trucks.
During the June quarter 2023, up to seven Cat 793F haul trucks have begun operating in autonomous mode and a total of 14 haul trucks have been commissioned. Autonomous drilling with two Epiroc Pit Vipers began in this quarter, with a third nearing commissioning completion. In total, the company is expected to operate six autonomous Epiroc Pit Viper 231 blasthole drill rigs, complemented by two Epiroc D65 SmartROC crawler rigs, which will be remote operation ready.
In addition it will deploy electric Caterpillar hydraulic shovels – namely two 6060FS units, AC-powered via tethered cable.
The company said owner mining has progressed well with nearly 1.1 Mt mined in the June quarter. The stockpile has approximately 2 Mt of material on track to the target build-up of 5 Mt by the end of the year. The IAMGOLD mine operations team started operating 24/7 effectively in July.
The project timeline remains in place, with production expected to commence in early 2024.