HomeGoldEssakane ahead of schedule

Essakane ahead of schedule

Joseph Conway,
President & CEO,
Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 17 June 2009 – Canadian-based and listed Iamgold Corporation says construction progress at its Essakane gold project in Burkina Faso is ahead of schedule and on budget, with initial production now expected in August 2010.

Revealing this in a statement released here, the company said Essakane would contribute up to an estimated 375 000 ounces of gold in its first 12 months at lower than life of mine production costs. The company was working on a new mining schedule and operating cost estimate based on the new block model and pit design.

The statement added that project expenditures to date had been US$177 million (R1.4 billion) with outstanding commitments of US $59 million (R470 million). The company expected total capital expenditures of approximately US$219 million (R1.75 billion) in 2009 and US$131 million (just over R1 billion) in 2010, with a total capital cost for the project of US$422 million(R3.4 billion).

Iamgold also released an updated gold reserve and resource statement for the Essakane gold project. It said probable reserves had increased by 8% or 245 000 ounces, to 3.37 million ounces, and an additional 201 000 ounces of in-pit indicated resources from the nearby Falagountou deposit had also been defined.

President and CEO Joseph Conway commented, “Since acquiring Essakane in February this year and assuming control of the project, we have been working hard on evaluating opportunities for improvement. We are very pleased with construction progress to date, and are projecting an earlier startup than previously announced. To be able to announce an 8% increase in probable gold reserves, plus over 200 000 additional in-pit resource ounces at Falagountou at this early stage, demonstrates the ongoing growth and potential of this world class gold camp,” he added.

Iamgold also revealed that work had started on a US$2.3 million (R18.5 million) exploration programme at Essakane that marks the beginning of a multi-year initiative. This programme was independent of the mine construction and capital investment, and considered part of the company’s near-mine exploration programmes.

Regional exploration work will commence on the 1 248 squ km concession block in Q4 of 2009, starting with 10 000m of air-core drilling on the projected extensions of known mineralised trends, and expanded regional survey coverage. A full complement of exploration professionals and support staff is already on site.