Iamgold reported on June 29 that a localized seismic event that took place on May 26 at its Westwood gold mine in southwest Quebec would reduce the mine’s expected full-year 2015 production to a range of 60,000–75,000 oz of gold, down from a previous forecast of 110,000–130,000 oz. The company was still assessing the cost impact of the incident, but said the lower production guidance is expected to adversely impact Westwood’s production costs.
No employees were injured by the fall of ground, and all employees in the mine were evacuated. Nine people were in the area when the event occurred, and, once the fallen material was removed, they were able to exit the mine safely.
Westwood mine management, working with external experts, has put together a rehabilitation and recovery plan for the zones affected. Mining continues in unaffected areas.
Iamgold declared commercial production at Westwood on July 31, 2014. Regarding current operations at the mine, Iamgold President and CEO Steve Letwin said, “Safety is our No. 1 priority. We and the other companies mining underground in the region know that this district is prone to seismic activity, and we are taking the necessary measures to keep our excellent safety record intact. Westwood is still in its infancy, and, similar to other mines in the area, we expect it to have growing pains as we gain operational experience in this mining environment.
“Our current focus is to invest further in the development of the mine to ensure a safe operation and to optimize Westwood’s long-term production profile. I am confident that we have the experience and the quality of mine management in place to develop Westwood’s high-grade potential to become our lowest-cost mine and a strong contributor to Iamgold’s long-term future.”
As of year-end 2014, Westwood had 2.37 million mt of proven and probable reserves grading 7 oz/mt gold for 539,000 oz of contained gold, plus more than 11 million mt in measured, indicated, and inferred resources at grades of about 11 oz/mt for more than 4 million oz of contained gold. Mine life is forecast at about 20 years.
The Westwood mine is located 2.5 km east of the former Doyon gold mine, approximately 40 km east of Rouyn-Noranda and 80 km west of Val d’Or, Quebec.