IAMGOLD Corp. [IMG-TSX, IAG-NYSE] on Wednesday February 28 released an update form its Phase 11, 2017 drilling program at the Saramacca Project, located 25 km southwest of its Rosebel Gold Mine in Suriname, South America.
The announcement comes six months after the company reported an initial resource estimate for the Saramacca deposit.
It comprises 14.4 million tonnes of indicated resources averaging 2.20 g/t gold for 1,022,000 ounces, and 13.6 million tonnes of inferred resources averaging 1.18 g/t gold, for 518,000 ounces.
Approximately 60% of the resources are contained within shallow, softer laterite and saprolite-hosted mineralization. The Saramacca deposit is thought to have significant potential for expansion, the company has said.
Following the disclosure of the initial resource estimate, the company re-commenced drilling operations and completed a further 97 diamond drill holes totalling 24,282 metres to continue to delineate the Saramacca deposit.
The primary focus of the program was to increase confidence in the resource and to target resource expansion immediately adjacent to the initial resource pit shell.
In 2018, 50,000 metres of diamond and RC drilling are planned to continue infill drilling of the Saramacca deposit to improve resource classification, declare reserves and advance mine design studies ahead of production, which is still scheduled for 2019.
In the latest result, there were a handful of high-grade intercepts (+10 g/t) but generally the grades were in line with the resource grades of 1.2-2.2 g/t gold.
“Most of the expansion holes were focused below the existing resource pit shell, while the three other expansion holes (along strike, and to the north of the resource shell) did not encounter significant mineralization,’’ noted Scotiabank analyst Tanya Jakusconek in a research report.
These results will be incorporated into an updated resource which IMG expects to be the basis for the maiden reserve declaration in the second half of 2018.
An environmental and social impact study (ESIA) is underway and preliminary engineering work is advancing on mine design and various infrastructure elements such as ore transport options, access roads, waste rock disposal.
Comprehensive metallurgical testwork has also commenced at that site.
“The completion of our phase 11 delineation drilling program has continued to deliver strong results and allow us to refine our resource model,” said Craig MacDougall, Senior Vice-President, Exploration at IAMGOLD. “As we have previously stated, we are continuing to advance towards production in 2019,” he said.
On Wednesday, IAMGOLD shares advanced 1.63% or $0.11 to $6.84. The 52-week range is $8.87 and $4.54.