Iamgold reported in late December 2009 that it is planning $102 million in capital expenditures during 2010 at its Westwood underground gold mine project near its Doyon and Mouska mines in the Doyon-Bousquet–La Ronde gold mining camp in Quebec. Production is scheduled to begin in early 2013. Capital expenditures to bring the mine into production, including funds already spent, are expected to total $401 million.
The Westwood mine is expected to produce an average of 191,000 oz/y of gold during its first five years of operation at average cash costs of $352/oz; and over a projected mine life of 16 years, based on current resources, the mine is expected to produce an average of 186,000 oz/y of gold at average cash costs of $358/oz. The deposit remains open both at depth and along strike on the three main zones that have been identified to date. Preliminary mine planning anticipates that 77% of the resources will be mined by a longitudinal long-hole mining method, on 15-m sublevels. High-lift and cut-and-fill mining methods are expected to be applied to 15% and 7% of the resources, respectively.
The Westwood ore will be processed at the Doyon mill, 2.5 km from the mine. The Doyon mill has 3,500 mt/d of processing capacity, at 95% plant availability, well above the estimated 2,300 mt/d that will be required for Westwood.
Iamgold advanced site preparation and construction of infrastructure at Westwood during 2009. Shaft sinking began in July and was expected to reach a depth of 500 m by year-end. The exploration ramp was extended by more than 2,200 m during the year and will provide better drilling access to the upper part of the deposit above the 14th level exploration drift, as well as providing future production access. The Bousquet fault was successfully crossed by an exploration drift on the 14th level, significantly improving drilling access to resources to the east of the fault. A total of 1,400 m of development was achieved during the year.
Work during 2010 will include continuation of raise boring for ventilation that began in 2009. Shaft sinking is expected to reach a depth of 1,300 m by year-end 2010. Development work will include 11,000 m of lateral and vertical excavation.