IAMGOLD recalls workers to Quebec gold mine

IAMGOLD’S Westwood gold mine 40 km east of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. Source: IAMGOLD Corp.

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IAMGOLD Corp [IMG-TSX; IAG-NYSE] said Thursday April 22 that it has started a staged recall of employees back to its 100%-owned Westwood Gold Mine 40 km east of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec.

The move comes almost six months after a seismic event in the underground mine forced the company to suspend operations at Westwood. At the time of the incident all employees were safely brought to surface.

On Thursday, IAMGOLD said activities are focused on training and rehabilitation work. The company is expecting to make a decision in the second quarter with respect to a possible targeted safe restart in the second half of the year. The restart would commence with the East Zone and progress to the other zones in a staged manner.

When IAMGOLD released its 2020 results on February, 17, 2021, it said mill feed this year is being sourced from the Grand Duc satellite open pit nearby the Westwood mill complex. That ore is expected to be supplemented by underground material from the Westwood mine.

The company said a further update would be provided in its first quarter operating and financial results on May 3, 2021. Meanwhile, IAMGOLD said guidance for Westwood is maintained at 45,000 to 65,000 ounces for 2021.

IAMGOLD is an intermediate gold producer with four operating mines in Burkina Faso (Essakane), Suriname (Rosebel), Canada (Westwood). The company is also engaged in a 41% joint venture in Mali (Sadiola).

Westwood is currently the smallest mine in a portfolio that is expected to produce 630,000 to 700,000 ounces of gold this year.

Westwood began production in Q1 of 2013. The mine reached the commercial production stage in July, 2014, producing 70,000 ounces in the first two quarters with an average diluted grade of 7.98 grams gold per tonne.

Measured and indicated resources at Westwood currently stand at 1.55 million ounces, grading 10.2 g/t gold plus an inferred resource of 1.8 million ounces, grading 8.6 g/t.

IAMGOLD has been utilizing excess mill capacity at Westwood with supplemental material feed from the adjacent Grand Duc open pit satellite deposit.  Grand Duc was expected to provide ore feed at a rate of 40,000 tonnes per month until mid-2021 at grades of 1.0 g/t gold.

On Thursday, IAMGOLD shares eased 2.1% or $0.09 to $4.22. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of $7.07 and $3.61.

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