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Gogama's Côté mine project has more gold to give

Discoveries at IAMGOLD's Gosselin Zone provide the grades to potentially extend the mine's longevity beyond 18 years
IAMGOLD Cote aerial
Aerial photo of the site of IAMGOLD's Côté Gold open-pit mine project (Supplied)

IAMGOLD is finding more gold near its Côté Gold open-pit mine project, now under construction at Gogama.

The mining company is seeing encouraging results from exploration drilling at its Gosselin Zone, a new gold discovery found 1.5 kilometres northeast of where the Côté Gold open-pit is being carved out.

Assay results were released from a 13,735-metre diamond drilling program at Gosselin that's been underway since the fourth quarter of 2019. The drills were placed on lake ice on Three Ducks Lake, on a floating barge or from shore positions.

The company said it's finding broad zones of gold mineralization at grades similar to the nearby Côté deposit.

One of the better drill holes yielded 5.57 grams per tonne (g/t) gold over 86 metres, including 14.70 g/t over 30.35 metres.

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The Côté Gold Project is located 130 kilometres southwest of Timmins and 200 kilometres northwest of Sudbury. It's a joint venture with Sumimoto Metal Mining.

Construction began in early September after the official groundbreaking. The operation will employ 450 once commercial production begins in the second half of 2023.

Eventually all this drill data will be integrated into models to guide future exploration drilling on its 540-square-kilometre property, just west of Highway 144.

This year, IAMGOLD has 14,500 metres of drilling queued up to infill and expand the existing gold zone and evaluate other promising targets in the gap of ground between the Côté deposit and the Gosselin zone.

IAMGOLD said it's seeing "upside potential" with gold mineralization running a "number of directions," particularly at depth to the northwest and along strike to the east and southwest.

All these results will be folded into a first-time resource estimate for both its Gosselin and Young-Shannon Zones due out later this year.

At this point, Côté has an 18-year mine life based on gold reserves of 7.3 million ounces, plus 10.2 million ounces more in the measured and indicated category.

But the company said the property is ripe for growth with district-scale mining potential.

"With the many challenges faced by the exploration team in 2020, the completion of this diamond drilling campaign was a significant achievement and has clearly brought into focus and confirmed the importance of this new discovery," said Craig MacDougall, IAMGOLD's executive vice-president of growth, in a Jan.21 news release.

"The program was completed with outstanding safety performance while working cooperatively to coordinate with the numerous activities of the Côté mine site construction team. We are looking forward with anticipation to the completion of a maiden resource estimate later this year."