How has IAMGOLD Corporation evolved over the years, and what are its main focuses today?
IAMGOLD is a mid-tier gold producer with over 30 years of experience in West Africa, South America, and Eastern-Central Canada. We have three operating mines: the Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso, producing since 2010, and with a life span to 2030. Second, the Rosebel mine in Suriname also has a LOM going into the 2030s and we foresee potential expansions as we acquired a satellite deposit at Saramacca back in 2016. Although we are yet to define the reserves there, in Q1 2020 we completed the connecting road between Rosebel and Saramacca. Our third mine is the Westwood underground project in Québec. Additionally, IAMGOLD has different growth opportunities together with several pipeline projects, our exploration footprint being, in fact, larger than our production footprint. Our key development projects are the Côté Gold project in northern Ontario and the Boto project in southeast Senegal.
IAMGOLD received approval to start construction at its Côté Gold project in northern Ontario. Could you walk us through some of the upcoming milestones for this project?
In July 2020, we announced that we will proceed with the construction of the Côte project, which we expect to begin in Q4 of 2020, to bring the asset into production by the second half of 2023. IAMGOLD owns 70% of the project, having sold the remaining 30% to Japanese Sumitomo Metal Mining back in 2017, who has proven a great partner involved across the whole process to date.
This is an exceptional project that meets Tier-1 criteria, located between two communities with a long history in mining: Timmins and Sudbury. In terms of the scale of the mining operation, Côte will be producing nearly 500,000 oz yearly for the first five or six years, at an AISC of US$600/oz. Across the full LOM of 18 years, the average production guideline is closer to 300,000 oz/year. The resource measures about 10.2 million oz, of which 4 million oz are inferred resource defined at much lower gold prices than what we are currently witnessing. The design for our reserves was at a gold price of US$1,200, and for our resources at US$1,500.
Besides, we defined two adjacent targets, Gosselin at 1.5 km east of the main property, and Young-Shannon in between. We planned to announce resources at these targets in 2020, but the exploration program was slowed by Covid-19 and we could not complete all the planned drilling. However, we think we can define a resource next year, and our target is for another 3 to 4 million oz, to take the existing 18 LOM to 25 years. We contemplated a future expansion plan that could see us adding 20% to the current plant-which has a total capacity of 36,000 tons per day-without any major modifications.
The next milestones would be to announce a major earthmoving contract, which will see many people mobilizing on-site to begin the earthworks in Q1 or Q2 of next year. This summer, we have worked on establishing camps, clearing camping areas, and developing protocols. We are also looking at signing equipment purchases, and we already pre-negotiated many of the contracts at around 55% of the total spend estimate through bids that helped us de-risk the project.