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What is IAMGOLD Doing to Control Costs at Its Rosebel Mine?

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Rosebel mine

IAMGOLD’s (IAG) Rosebel mine is located in northeastern Suriname, South America. This mine started commercial production in 2004.

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Higher production

Rosebel’s attributable production for 2Q16 was 73,000 ounces, a 2.8% growth year-over-year (or YoY). This is, however, mostly flat quarter-over-quarter. The small increment YoY was due to higher throughput.

The company mentioned during its 2Q16 earnings call that while the proportion of hard rock in the mill feed has increased by 50% YoY, the commissioning of a new flex power drive, larger grinding area, and change to linear configuration led to higher throughput.

The company also mentioned that it is on track to install a secondary crusher in 4Q16. This will help the Rosebel site, as the proportion of hard rock is expected to increase going forward.

Cash costs fell

Rosebel’s cash costs also fell by 11.5% YoY to $765 per ounce in 2Q16. This fall was mainly attributable to lower fuel prices, the devaluation of the Surinamese dollar against the US dollar (UUP) (USDU), and lower labor costs following the reduction of the labor force in 2015.

IAG’s all-in sustaining costs (or AISC) also fell in line with a reduction in cash costs. Rosebel reported AISC of $1,051 per ounce in 2Q16 compared to $1,104 per ounce in 2Q15. Lower operating costs were partially offset by higher sustaining costs.

Going forward, the installation of secondary crusher should help lower the costs. In addition, the operation is also focused on securing soft rock from in and around its operations.

The company is also shifting its focus toward more technology-based processes such as high-precision detonation in its drill and blast operations and high-precision GPS (global positioning system) loading unit control. These will help the company to control costs.

Overall, IAMGOLD has been less successful in controlling costs than its peers (GDX) such as Newmont Mining (NEM), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM), and Goldcorp (GG).

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