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Iamgold announces leadership succession, 2019 production

Kitco News

(Kitco News) Iamgold Corp. (TSX: IMG) made a series of major announcements Thursday, including a leadership succession at the top of the company, 2019 preliminary output that was near the bottom end of guidance, and output projections for the next two years.

Chief executive officer Stephen J.J. Letwin plans to retire following a decade at the helm of Iamgold, and he will be succeeded by P. Gordon Stothart, currently president and chief operating officer, effective March 1, the company said. Stothart will also join the board of directors.

The company said the two men have worked closely together over the last decade, which should mean a seamless transition of leadership.

Don Charter, chair of the Iamgold board of directors, said Letwin’s “active, hands-on approach to government relations set him apart in this industry and was key to our ability to operate and expand in the countries in which we are located.” The company has an “enviable pipeline of development and exploration projects,” Charter said.

Stothart joined Iamgold in late 2007 and has over 20 years of mining industry experience.

“His deep knowledge of both the company and the mining industry, combined with his collaborative leadership style and adaptability to new challenges, will serve him and the company well,” Charter said.

2019 output approaches low end of guidance

Gold production was 762,000 ounces in 2019, approaching the low end of guidance of 765,000 to 810,000 ounces, Iamgold said. Fourth-quarter production was 192,000 ounces. The company said all-in sustaining costs are expected at the top end of guidance of $1,090 to $1,130 per ounce sold.

Stothart said the company was able to deal with “a number of challenges in 2019 head-on and still deliver a solid year of gold production, with the expectation that we will achieve within 1% of the range on key metrics on a consolidated basis.”

The company said output at Essakane was 12,000 ounces below guidance due to several factors. Officials cited an extended maintenance shutdown in the fourth quarter, higher grades not being realized in a satellite pit, mine sequencing, and slightly lower recoveries due to graphitic ore content.

Meanwhile, the company said that on Oct. 31, it delivered the first ore from the Saramacca open pit to the mill at the Rosebel Gold Mine. Meanwhile, project development advanced within budget at Boto Gold and Côté Gold.

For 2020, Iamgold projected gold production between 700,000 and 760,000 ounces, with no expected output at Sadiola. All-in sustaining costs were projected to be between $1,100 and $1,150 per ounce sold, trending downward in the second half of the year.

Capital expenditures were put at around $315 million, including sustaining capital of $120 million and non-sustaining capital of $195 million.

“Our 2020 guidance reflects a year of transition as we build for the future of Essakane and Rosebel, continue development of Westwood and bring Saramacca up to full production, leading to an improvement in the forecast for 2021,” Stothart said.

Iamgold looks for 2021 production to rise to a rage of 760,000 to 840,000 ounces, while all-in sustaining costs are expected to fall. Rosebel is expected to have higher ore availability and higher grades in 2021, Iamgold said. Essakane is expected to have another high stripping year with slightly lower production but slightly better grades.

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