EX-99.1 2 dex991.htm NI 43-101 TECHNICAL REPORT ON EXPANSION OPTIONS AT THE NIOBEC MINE, QUEBEC NI 43-101 Technical Report on Expansion Options at the Niobec Mine, Quebec

Exhibit 99.1

 

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TECHNICAL REPORT ON

EXPANSION OPTIONS AT THE

NIOBEC MINE, QUÉBEC, CANADA

PREPARED FOR IAMGOLD

CORPORATION

REPORT FOR NI 43-101

Rev. 0

Authors:

Graham Clow, P.Eng.

Bernard Salmon, ing.

Marc Lavigne, M.Sc., ing.

Barry McDonough, P.Geo.

Pierre Pelletier, ing.

Daniel Vallières, ing.

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June 17, 2011


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Document Title    Technical Report on Expansion Options at the Niobec Mine, Québec, Canada
  
Client Name & Address   

IAMGOLD Corporation

401 Bay Street, Suite 3200

Toronto ON M5H 2Y4

Canada

                 
Document Reference    Project #1692   

Status &

Issue No.

  

Final

Version

   0
  
Issue Date    June 17, 2011      

 

Lead Author   

Marc Lavigne

Barry McDonough

Pierre Pelletier

Daniel Vallières

       

(Signed)

(Signed)

(Signed)

(Signed)

              
Peer Reviewer   

Graham Clow

 

 

 

      (Signed)
              
Project Manager Approval   

Bernard Salmon

 

 

 

      (Signed)
              
Project Director Approval   

Graham Clow

 

 

 

      (Signed)

 

Report Distribution    Name    No. of Copies
           
  

Client

 

RPA Filing

   1 (project box)

Roscoe Postle Associates Inc.

55 University Avenue, Suite 501

Toronto, Ontario M5J 2H7

Canada

Tel: +1 416 947 0907

Fax: +1 416 947 0395

mining@rpacan.com


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     PAGE  

1 SUMMARY

     1-1   

Executive Summary

     1-1   

Technical Summary

     1-12   

2 INTRODUCTION

     2-1   

3 RELIANCE ON OTHER EXPERTS

     3-1   

4 PROPERTY DESCRIPTION AND LOCATION

     4-1   

5 ACCESSIBILITY, CLIMATE, LOCAL RESOURCES, INFRASTRUCTURE AND PHYSIOGRAPHY

     5-1   

6 HISTORY

     6-1   

7 GEOLOGICAL SETTING

     7-1   

Regional Geology

     7-1   

Property Geology

     7-4   

8 DEPOSIT TYPES

     8-1   

9 MINERALIZATION

     9-1   

10 EXPLORATION

     10-1   

11 DRILLING

     11-1   

12 SAMPLING METHOD AND APPROACH

     12-1   

13 SAMPLE PREPARATION, ANALYSES AND SECURITY

     13-1   

14 DATA VERIFICATION

     14-1   

15 ADJACENT PROPERTIES

     15-1   

16 MINERAL PROCESSING AND METALLURGICAL TESTING

     16-1   

Mineral Processing

     16-1   

Ore Characteristics

     16-2   

Current Process Description

     16-4   

Process Selection

     16-10   

Design Criteria

     16-12   

Plant Modifications

     16-12   

Metallurgical Testing

     16-15   

17 MINERAL RESOURCE AND MINERAL RESERVE ESTIMATES

     17-1   

Mineral Resources

     17-1   

IAMGOLD Mineral Resource and Reserve Estimation

     17-1   

2010 RPA Estimate (Pit Shell Constrained)

     17-19   

Mineral Reserves

     17-21   

18 OTHER RELEVANT DATA AND INFORMATION

     18-1   

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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Current Mining Operations

     18-1   

Underground Mining Options

     18-4   

Open Pit Expansion Option

     18-10   

Markets

     18-28   

Contracts

     18-29   

Taxes

     18-39   

Capital and Operating Cost Estimates – Open Pit

     18-40   

Economic Analysis

     18-49   

19 INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS

     19-1   

20 RECOMMENDATIONS

     20-1   

21 REFERENCES

     21-1   

22 DATE AND SIGNATURE PAGE

     22-1   

23 CERTIFICATE OF QUALIFIED PERSONS

     23-1   

24 APPENDIX 1

     24-1   

Variograms

     24-1   

LIST OF TABLES

 

          PAGE  

Table 1-1

   Pre- and After-Tax Cash Flow Summary      1-7   

Table 1-2

   Block Caving Versus Open Pit      1-10   

Table 1-3

   After-Tax Sensitivity Analysis      1-12   

Table 1-4

   RPA Independent Updated Mineral Resources – April 1, 2011      1-16   

Table 1-5

   Capital Cost Summary      1-30   

Table 1-6

   Capital Costs – Sustaining      1-31   

Table 1-7

   LOM Average Unit Operating Cost Summary      1-32   

Table 1-8

   Manpower Summary      1-32   

Table 2-1

   IAMGOLD 2009 Production      2-2   

Table 4-1

   Niobec Land Tenure      4-2   

Table 6-1

   Niobec Historic Production      6-3   

Table 6-2

   IAMGOLD 2009 Mineral Resource Estimate      6-5   

Table 6-3

   BSI 2009 Mineral Resource Estimate      6-6   

Table 6-4

   IAMGOLD 2009 Mineral Reserve Estimate      6-8   

Table 8-1

   Global Carbonatite Deposits by Age Range      8-1   

Table 10-1

   Historical Reserves at Niobec Mine      10-2   

Table 11-1

   Historic Exploration and Definition Drilling at Niobec Mine To 2010      11-3   

Table 16-1

   Niobec Mine FeNb Production (1998 to 2010)      16-2   

Table 16-2

   Mineral Composition      16-3   

Table 16-3

   Chemical Composition of Minerals      16-4   

Table 16-4

   Process Design Criteria      16-12   

Table 17-1

   RPA Independent Updated Mineral Resources – April 1, 2011      17-1   

Table 17-2

   IAMGOLD 2010 Mineral Resource Estimate      17-3   

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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Table 17-3

   IAMGOLD 2010 Mineral Reserve Estimate      17-5   

Table 17-4

   Statistical Summary of Sample Assay Data (Non-Zero)      17-6   

Table 17-5

   Block Model Coding      17-10   

Table 17-6

   Summary Statistics of Original (Non-Zero) Assays by Mineralized Zone      17-11   

Table 17-7

   Block Model Attributes      17-12   

Table 17-8

   Block Model Geometry      17-14   

Table 17-9

   Lithological Characteristis and Expected Metallurgical Recoveries      17-16   

Table 17-10

   Comparison of Niobec Resource Estimations      17-21   

Table 18-1

   Niobec Life of Mine Production Schedule      18-18   

Table 18-2

   Mining Fleet      18-19   

Table 18-3

   Capital Cost Summary      18-40   

Table 18-4

   Capital Costs – Mine      18-41   

Table 18-5

   Capital Costs – Ore Processing      18-42   

Table 18-6

   Capital Costs - Infrastructure      18-43   

Table 18-7

   Capital Costs – Waste Rock Dump Water Management      18-43   

Table 18-8

   Capital Costs – Tailings and Process Water Management      18-44   

Table 18-9

   Capital Costs - Indirects      18-44   

Table 18-10

   Capital Costs – Sustaining      18-45   

Table 18-11

   LOM Average Unit Operating Cost Summary      18-46   

Table 18-12

   Mine Operating Cost Detail      18-46   

Table 18-13

   Mill Operating Cost Detail      18-47   

Table 18-14

   Manpower Summary      18-48   

Table 18-15

   Representative Salaries      18-49   

Table 18-16

   Pre- and After-Tax Cash Flows Summary      18-50   

Table 18-17

   Block Caving Versus Open Pit      18-53   

Table 18-18

   After-tax Sensitivity Analysis      18-55   

LIST OF FIGURES

 

          PAGE

Figure 1-1

   Niobec Open Pit Project After-tax Sensitivity Graph    1-11

Figure 4-1

   Location Map    4-5

Figure 4-2

   Mineral Claims and Leases    4-6

Figure 7-1

   Regional Geology    7-3

Figure 7-2

   Property Geology    7-6

Figure 14-1

   Pulp Duplicate Assays    14-2

Figure 14-2

   Relative Difference (Thompson-Howarth) Plots for Pulp Duplicate Assays    14-3

Figure 14-3

   Reject Duplicate Assays    14-4

Figure 14-4

   Relative Difference (Thompson-Howarth) Plots for Reject Duplicate Assays    14-5

Figure 14-5

   Second Laboratory Pulp Duplicate Assays    14-6

Figure 14-6

   Relative Difference (Thompson-Howarth) Plots for Second Laboratory Pulp Duplicate Assays    14-7

Figure 16-1

   Simplified Process Flow Sheet    16-5

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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Figure 17-1

   Mineralized Zones – Estimation Domains    17-8

Figure 17-2

   Mineralized Zones – Diamond Drilling Data    17-9

Figure 17-3

   Example of Cutting Curve    17-12

Figure 17-4

   Block Model Codification    17-14

Figure 17-5

   Block Grade Interpolation    17-15

Figure 17-6

   Resource Classification    17-18

Figure 17-7

   Mineral Resources (Block Grades) vs. Whittle Shell    17-20

Figure 17-8

   Mineral Resources (Classification) vs. Whittle Shell    17-20

Figure 18-1

   East-West Section of the Current Underground Mine    18-2

Figure 18-2

   East-West Section of the Underground Mine in Case A Scenario    18-7

Figure 18-3

   East-West Section of the Underground Mine in Case B Scenario    18-8

Figure 18-4

   General Plan View    18-13

Figure 18-5

   Section View of Whittle Pit Shells    18-14

Figure 18-6

   New Road for Mine Site Access    18-21

Figure 18-7

   Tailings and Collecting/Polishing Ponds Facility    18-26

Figure 18-8

   Niobec Open Pit Project after-tax Sensitivity Graph    18-54

LIST OF APPENDIX FIGURES & TABLES

 

          PAGE  

Figure A-1

   Variogram (Az 90°, Dip -90°)      24-2   

Figure A-2

   Variogram (Az 0°, Dip 0°)      24-3   

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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1 SUMMARY

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION

Roscoe Postle Associates Inc. (RPA) was retained by IAMGOLD Corporation (IAMGOLD), to prepare an independent Technical Report on the Niobec Mine (the Project), near Ville de Saguenay (Chicoutimi), Québec. The purpose of this report is to prepare an updated Mineral Resource estimate and a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) on the viability of an open pit (OP) mining option and production expansion at the Project. This Technical Report conforms to NI 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. RPA visited the property on March 4, 2011 and again from March 21 to 22, 2011.

CONCLUSIONS

It is RPA’s opinion that mining the Niobec deposit by open pit mining method may have considerable potential over the current underground method to extend mine life and better maximize the extraction of the resource. The Project base case scenario consists of technical and cost assumptions outlined in this report.

The Project will benefit from the expertise developed in the existing operation, including the processing and converting of niobium ore into ferroniobium over the years and the local and regional infrastructure currently used in the niobium mining/milling/converting activities at the mine site.

The most important risk elements for the Project are the niobium price and, at the present time, the location of waste rock dumps in areas with underlying soils capable of supporting the large tonnage of waste rock. Fluctuations in the niobium price constitute an uncontrollable parameter for which no mitigation measures are proposed. Other elements to which the Project is economically sensitive are controllable and will be addressed in further steps. Waste rock dump issues should be investigated as the Project progresses.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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At the PEA level, the open pit scenario is technically feasible and economically viable and should be advanced to the pre-feasibility study level. The economic analysis contained in this report is based, in part, on Inferred Resources, and is preliminary in nature. Inferred Resources are considered too geologically speculative to have mining and economic considerations applied to them and to be categorized as Mineral Reserves. There is no certainty that the reserves development, production, and economic forecasts on which this preliminary economic assessment is based will be realized.

Specific conclusions are as follows:

 

   

The combined Measured and Indicated Resources are 458.11 million tonnes grading 0.42% Nb2O5 containing 1,927 million kg Nb2O5. In addition, there is an Inferred Resource of 336.45 million tonnes grading 0.37% Nb2O5 containing 1,240 million kg Nb2O5. All these Mineral Resources are constrained by a Whittle open pit shell (6T) at a cut-off grade of 0.20% Nb2O5.

 

   

A second economic optimization, which was time constrained, was performed on the 6T pit shell in order to maximize the net present value (NPV) at 8%. The maximum NPV occurs at a cut-off grade of 0.33% Nb2O 5. This resulted in a total of 370.2 million tonnes of niobium bearing material grading 0.46% Nb2O5 within a smaller pit shell, 4T (564 m deep). The proportion of Inferred Resources in the above tonnage that may be potentially mineable via open pit is approximately 20%.

 

   

Ore production will be expanded from the current level of 2.2 million tonnes per year from underground to 10 million tonnes per year from OP. The life of mine (LOM) of the OP scenario will be 42 years, consisting of four years of pre-production and 38 years of production. During the pre-production period, the existing underground mine will contribute, at the current mining rate, an additional 8.8 Mt grading 0.60% Nb2O5. At full production, ore will be mined at a rate of 27,400 tpd requiring the excavation of 109,000 tpd waste on average over the Project total duration.

 

   

As part of the analysis of options, RPA and IAMGOLD reviewed an underground block caving scenario as an alternative to an open pit. At this level of study and assumptions, the underground scenario is a viable but slightly less attractive option than the open pit scenario.

 

   

Project components and costs were developed to a ± 40% level of accuracy. Operating costs were estimated in 2011 Canadian dollars while capital costs were mostly estimated in 2011 US dollars.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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Capital expenditures, including 15% contingency and sustaining/ongoing investments, are estimated to be US$1.4 billion (excluding the recovery of US$66.4 million for working capital and warehouse inventory at the end of the LOM). This amount excludes taxes, duties, and inflation. Initial open pit related capital expenditures will amount to US$830 million; the remaining capital outlay is considered as ongoing investment that will occur during the production period or the operation of the existing underground mine (US$91 million) during the pre-production period.

 

   

The total mine site and ore processing operating cost, for the period ranging from 2011 to 2052 inclusively, is estimated to be C$26.67/t milled. This includes mining, mineral processing and converting, maintenance, administration and human resources costs.

 

   

At peak, manpower is estimated to be 743 individuals for the various administrative units, namely administration, mine, mill, converter, and surface and electrical.

 

   

IAMGOLD and RPA developed the open pit mine plan based on a 3D block model built by RPA. RPA is of the opinion the resource model is conservative and has good potential to expand. The pit shell comprises many blocks that are outside the four main zones, in the mineralized carbonatite where limited to no information is available. A grade of zero has been assigned to those blocks.

 

   

There are no current Mineral Reserves estimated for the open pit mining option at Niobec. Mineral Reserves will be assessed at the pre-feasibility stage of study.

 

   

Open pit mining will be carried out along 564 vertical metres. For the pit size, production requirements, and recommended equipment fleet, RPA considers mining of 12 m benches and 33 m wide ramps, including ditches and safety berms, to be appropriate.

 

   

Ore will be delivered to a gyratory crusher prior to a covered stockpile and then conveyed into the processing plant. The flowsheet is similar to the current plant, comprising crushing, grinding, desliming, flotation (carbonate, pyrochlore, and sulphide), dewatering, leaching, filtration, drying, and packaging. Concentrate is transferred into the converter where the ferroniobium (FeNb final product) is produced. The mill and the converter will be new installations to be constructed to handle the increased production and because the current buildings lie within the open pit footprint. The existing tailings impoundment facility will be expanded to accommodate the additional tonnage.

 

   

Recovery rates are estimated to be 49.6% Nb2O5 at the processing plant (head grade dependent) and 97% at the converting stage. FeNb production will total 597 M kg over the LOM.

 

   

Environment mitigation measures will be implemented, with particular emphasis on the open pit and waste rock dumps. Proper water control and treatment will be implemented in order to minimize volumes to release final effluent respecting provincial regulations.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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The conceptual closure plan aims at returning the site in a state compatible with the environment. Particularly, waste rock dumps and tailings pond will be subject to progressive rehabilitation and revegetation measures while the existing pit will naturally flood once operations cease.

 

   

An economic evaluation was carried out by means of pre-tax and after-tax cash flow analysis expressed in 2011 constant US dollars. An exchange rate of US$1.00/C$1.05 was assumed. The average metal price forecast is US$45/kg niobium and was assumed to be constant for the duration of the Project, except for the first year of the LOM (2011) at US$40/kg Nb.

 

   

Sunk costs (exploration and delineation drilling, metallurgical test work, feasibility study costs, Environmental Impact Assessment, etc.) are not included in the Project capital cost or financial evaluation.

 

   

Total revenues generated by the Project are estimated to be US$27.3 billion, and operating cash flow before capital costs total US$10.1 billion. Using a discount rate of 8%, the Project has NPVs of US$3.3 billion pre-tax and US$2.0 billion after-tax.

 

   

The after-tax internal rate of return (IRR) of the Project is 47.5%. The after-tax cumulative cash flow turns positive during the third year of the Project production phase and amounts to US$9.3 billion over the LOM. The capital payback period is 2.2 years.

 

   

Sensitivity calculations were performed on the Project cash flow by applying a ± 20% variance on head grade, mill recovery, niobium price, operating costs, capital expenditures, and C$/US$ exchange rate. The sensitivity analysis shows that the Project is most sensitive to head grade, mill recovery, and niobium price, moderately sensitive to exchange rate and operating costs, and less sensitive to capital costs.

RECOMMENDATIONS

RPA makes the following recommendations:

 

   

Initiate the preparation of pre-feasibility studies for both the block caving and the open pit options in order to compare scenarios at a higher level of definition and accuracy, given both returned quite similar economic results.

 

   

Confirm the waste rock dump location.

 

   

Initiate geotechnical assessments of underlying/surrounding overburden and soils at waste rock dumps, open pit, and tailings pond locations.

 

   

Initiate geomechanical and rock mechanics assessments for open pit wall slope angle and stability, and effects on advancing pit bottom through existing underground openings.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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Initiate an environmental program that will result in the preparation of a document in support of permitting. The program should be comprehensive and include baseline work, acid base accounting, waste rock dump stability, tailings pond stability, open pit wall stability, radon and radiation emission, dust emission, water balance and hydrology, salt contamination of water being exposed to rock in open pit and waste rock dumps and socio-economic studies.

 

   

Initiate negotiations with individuals and governments concerning land purchases.

 

   

Carry out further metallurgical testwork, using representative samples. The program would consist of completing test work to a typical standard for pre-feasibility study, including:

 

   

Crushing and milling (SAG work index) to properly design and select equipment.

 

   

Extensive metallurgical testwork to validate the niobium recovery and concentrate quality grade, given the lower head grade anticipated and the sensitivity of final product to impurities.

 

   

Niobium recovery improvement in investigating modifications to reagent scheme and process flowsheet, in considering previous testing on niobium recovery from the plant tailings and by benchmarking mill results with the laboratory results.

 

   

Comparative testwork between conventional grinding and classification presently used and new grinding circuit using SAG-ball mill.

 

   

Carry out specific hydrological/hydrogeological studies to refine dewatering needs in the underground mine during pre-production period and in the open pit mine over the LOM.

 

   

Carry out condemnation drilling in advance of mining in areas where waste rock dumps and the tailings storage facility are expected to be located for the operations.

 

   

For the resource database:

 

   

Remove duplicate sample numbers from the drill database and investigate zero values for Nb2O5 .

 

   

Investigate the large number of assays in the database without sample numbers, if possible, by cross referencing drill logs and assay certificates.

 

   

Study the use of a top cut for Nb2O5 assay results and consider adoption for future resource estimations.

 

   

Initiate the insertion of blanks and independent certified reference materials (CRM) into the sample stream so that they comprise approximately 15% to 20% of the total determinations. RPA also recommends external laboratory check on sample rejects in addition to sample pulps.

 

   

Investigate the cause of the mild bias observed in pulp duplicates assayed at a second, independent, laboratory.

 

   

Study the use of equal length composites for resource estimation rather than raw samples.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

In this section, the open pit is presented as the base case with comparison to the block caving scenario.

Pre-tax and after-tax Cash Flow Projections have been generated from the LOM production schedule and capital and operating cost estimates, and are summarized in Table 1-1. A summary of the key criteria is provided below.

ECONOMIC CRITERIA

REVENUE

 

   

10 million tonnes milled per year.

 

   

Nb2O5 mill recovery is between 40% and 60%, for a LOM average of 49.6%.

 

   

FeNb converter recovery is 97% (with 69.9% Nb in FeNb).

 

   

Marketing and freight totals US$1.40/kg Nb.

 

   

Exchange rate at US$1.00 = C$1.05 from 2014 on, US$1.00/C$ before 2014.

 

   

Niobium price is US$40.00/kg in 2011 and US$45.00/kg thereafter.

 

   

LOM average unit net value is US$43.58/kg.

COSTS

 

   

Capital cost totals US$1.4 billion, excluding the recovery of US$66.4 million for working capital and warehouse inventory at the end of the LOM.

 

   

Average operating cost over the mine life is US$25.44 per tonne milled.

OTHER

 

   

Pre-production period spans over four years (2011 to 2014).

 

   

During pre-production period, current underground mining continues at 2.2 Mtpa.

 

   

Open pit production period is 38 years, up to 2052.

 

   

LOM stripping ratio is 3.91.

The economic analysis contained in this report is based, in part, on Inferred Resources, and is preliminary in nature. Inferred Resources are considered too geologically speculative to have mining and economic considerations applied to them and to be categorized as Mineral Reserves. There is no certainty that the reserves development, production, and economic forecasts on which this preliminary economic assessment is based will be realized.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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TABLE 1-1 PRE- AND AFTER-TAX CASH FLOW SUMMARY

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

     Units    Total     2011 to 2014      2015 to 2052  

Mine Production

          

Waste Mined

   Mt      1,481.67        12.00         1,469.67   

Ore Mined

   Mt      379.03        8.80         370.23   

Total Mined

   Mt      1,860.70        20.80         1,839.90   

Waste to Ore ratio

        3.91        

Mill Feed

          

Ore milled

   Mt      379.03        8.80         370.23   

Milled ore grade

   %Nb2O5      0.463        0.603         0.460   

Mill recovery

   %      49.6        58.3         49.4   

Yield

   kg Nb2O5/t      2.32        3.51         2.30   

Concentrate production

   M kg Nb2O5      880.61        30.93         849.67   

Converter recovery

   %      97.0     97.0         97.0   

Niobium in FeNb

   %      69.9        69.9         69.9   

Niobium production

   M kg      597.08        20.97         576.10   

Revenue

          

Niobium production

   M kg      597.08        20.97         576.10   

Niobium Market Price

   US$/kg        43.90         45.00   

Gross Revenue

   US$ (M)      26,845.45        920.75         25,924.70   

Exchange Rate

   C$/US$        1.01         1.05   

Gross Revenue

   C$ (M)      28,153.96        933.02         27,220.94   

Marketing and Freight

   C$ (M)      875.63        31.62         844.01   

Net Revenue

   C$ (M)      27,278.33        901.40         26,376.92   

Operating Costs

          

Mining

   C$ (M)      3,483.81        171.99         3,311.82   

UG Material Handling Into OP

   C$ (M)      7.60        0.00         7.60   

Stockpile Reclaiming

   C$ (M)      0.00        0.00         0.00   

Waste Rock Dump & OP Water Management

   C$ (M)      38.00        0.00         38.00   

Processing

   C$ (M)      3,676.25        118.39         3,557.86   

Tailings pond

   C$ (M)      0.00        0.00         0.00   

General and Administration

   C$ (M)      510.36        35.36         475.00   

Converter

   C$ (M)      2,388.67        84.25         2,304.42   

Slag Hauling and Disposal

   C$ (M)      4.18        0.00         4.18   

Total Operating Cost

   C$ (M)      10,108.86        409.99         9,698.88   

Operating Cost Per Tonne Milled

   (C$/t milled)      26.67        46.59         26.20   

Operating Margin

   C$ (M)      17,169.46        491.42         16,678.05   

 

 

 

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     Units    Total      2011 to 2014      2015 to 2052  

Operating Margin

   US$ (M)      16,368.33         484.47         15,883.86   

Capital Costs

           

Underground mine

   US$ (M)      91.32         91.32         0.00   

Open pit mine

   US$ (M)      506.08         164.19         341.89   

Mill and Crusher

   US$ (M)      246.47         197.87         48.60   

Converter

   US$ (M)      52.50         47.10         5.40   

Buildings and Services

   US$ (M)      27.55         27.55         0.00   

Power distribution

   US$ (M)      10.36         10.36         0.00   

Tailings and Water management

   US$ (M)      97.57         67.57         30.00   

Waste rock dump & OP water management

   US$ (M)      30.31         30.31         0.00   

General and Infrastructure

   US$ (M)      21.73         21.73         0.00   

Working capital

   US$ (M)      0.00         46.92         - 46.92   

Warehouse inventory

   US$ (M)      0.00         19.43         - 19.43   

Owner’s cost

   US$ (M)      10.30         10.30         0.00   

Open pit vs Underground mine

   US$ (M)      28.22         23.68         4.54   

Progressive rehab. & Mine closure

   US$ (M)      47.50         0.00         47.50   

Eng. and Const. management

   US$ (M)      57.83         56.13         1.70   

Contingency

   US$ (M)      104.63         104.63         0.00   

Total capital costs

   US$ (M)      1,332.35         919.07         413.28   

Pre-Tax Cash Flow

           

Cash flow

   US$ (M)      15,035.98         -434.60         15,470.58   

After-Tax Cash Flow

           

Tax Rate (38.6%)

           

Tax Payable

   US$ (M)      5,778.03         125.14         5,652.89   

Cash flow

   US$ (M)      9,257.94         -559.74         9,817.69   

Project Economics

           

Pre-Tax NPV (5%)

   US$ (M)      5,364.42         

Pre-Tax NPV (8%)

   US$ (M)      3,276.05         

Pre-Tax NPV (10%)

   US$ (M)      2,449.95         

Pre-Tax Internal rate of return

   %      NA         

Pre-Tax Payback period (years)

   Years      1.6         

After-Tax NPV (5%)

   US$ (M)      3,251.49         

After-Tax NPV (8%)

   US$ (M)      1,952.11         

After-Tax NPV (10%)

   US$ (M)      1,437.91         

After-Tax Internal rate of return

   %      47.5         

After-Tax Payback period

   Years      2.2         

 

 

 

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CASH FLOW ANALYSIS

Considering the Project on a stand-alone basis, the undiscounted pre-tax cash flow totals US$15.0 billion over the mine life, and simple payback occurs near the mid-point of 2016 (approximately 19 months from start of OP production). On an after-tax basis, the undiscounted cash flow is US$9.3 billion and the payback occurs at the beginning of 2017 (approximately 26 months from start of open pit production).

The Total Cash Cost is US$16.15 per kg of niobium. The mine life capital unit cost is US$2.35 per kg, for a Total Production Cost of US$18.50 per kg of niobium. Average niobium production during underground and open pit operations is 14.2 million kg per year.

The pre-tax NPV at an 8% discount rate is US$3.3 billion and the after-tax NPV is US$2.0 billion, and the after-tax IRR is 47.5%.

Table 1-2 is a comparison of the economic impact of the 10 Mtpa open pit scenario and the 10 Mtpa block caving scenario to the current LOM plan.

 

 

 

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TABLE 1-2 BLOCK CAVING VERSUS OPEN PIT

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Mining Method

   Block Caving     Open Pit  

Tonnes processed (millions)1

     380        380   

Strip ratio

     —          3.9   

Estimated average annual mill throughput (t)

     10,000,000        10,000,000   

Estimated average annual production (M kg Nb)

     13        15   

Operating margin after expansion (US$/kg Nb)2

     28        28   

Estimated capital expenditure (US$ M)

     1,400        1,400   

Initial capital3

     840        830   

Sustaining capital4

     560        570   

Pre-tax NPV 8% (US$ billions)5

     2.7        3.3   

After-tax NPV 8% (US$ billions)5

     1.6        2   

After-tax Project IRR6

     21     24

Notes:

 

1. Although the resources are estimated down to Block 6, the NPV under both scenarios only assesses the economic impact of the first 42 years.
2. Based on a US$45/kg niobium price. The current margin is US$18/kg based on a US$40/kg niobium price.
3. Includes working capital, warehouse inventory and C$20 M of capital for pre-stripping (in the OP scenario).
4. Includes the sustaining capital for the current operation and the sustaining capital required for the expansion.
5. Assumed niobium prices per kilogram are US$40/kg in 2011 and US$45/kg thereafter as estimated by an independent source.
6. Percentage points above the IRR of the current 2.2 Mtpa scenario.

SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS

Project risks can be identified in both economic and non-economic terms. Key economic risks were examined by running cash flow sensitivities:

 

   

Head Grade

 

   

Mill Recovery

 

   

Niobium Price

 

   

Operating Costs

 

   

Capital Costs

 

   

Exchange Rate

 

 

 

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The after-tax NPV (8%) sensitivity over the base case has been calculated for -20% to +20% variations. The sensitivities are shown in Figure 1-1 and Table 1-3.

FIGURE 1-1 NIOBEC OPEN PIT PROJECT AFTER-TAX SENSITIVITY GRAPH

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TABLE 1-3 AFTER-TAX SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Parameter

Variables

  

Units

  

-20%

    

-10%

    

Base

    

+10%

    

+20%

 

Head Grade

   % Nb2O5      0.37         0.42         0.46         0.51         0.56   

Mill Recovery

   %      40         45         50         55         60   

Niobium Price

   US$/kg      36.00         40.50         45.00         49.50         54.00   

Operating costs

   US$/t milled      20.35         22.90         25.44         27.98         30.53   

Capital Costs

   US$ billions      1.12         1.26         1.40         1.54         1.68   

Exchange Rate

   $C/$US      0.84         0.94         1.05         1.15         1.26   

NPV 8%

  

Units

  

-20%

    

-10%

    

Base

    

+10%

    

+20%

 

Head Grade

   US$ billions      1.21         1.58         1.95         2.33         2.70   

Mill Recovery

   US$ billions      1.21         1.58         1.95         2.33         2.70   

Niobium Price

   US$ billions      1.16         1.56         1.95         2.35         2.75   

Operating costs

   US$ billions      2.27         2.11         1.95         1.80         1.64   

Capital Costs

   US$ billions      2.06         2.01         1.95         1.90         1.84   

Exchange Rate

   $C/$US      1.53         1.77         1.95         2.10         2.23   

The sensitivity analysis shows that the Project is most sensitive to head grade, mill recovery and niobium price, moderately sensitive to exchange rate and operating costs, and less sensitive to capital costs.

TECHNICAL SUMMARY

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION AND LOCATION

The Niobec underground (UG) mine is located 25 km north of Ville de Saguenay (Chicoutimi), Québec, in the municipality of Saint-Honoré, in Simard Township, Québec (Figure 4-1). The property is held 100% by Gestion IAMGOLD Québec inc. (IQM), a wholly-owned subsidiary of IAMGOLD. The approximate geographic centre of the property is within National Topographic Series Map reference 22D/11 at longitude 71° 9’ 37” west and latitude 48° 31’ 44” north. Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates for the project centre utilizing projection North American Datum (NAD) 83, Zone 19 are approximately 340,511 m east and 5,377,347 m north. Access to the property is via paved all-weather roads.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

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LAND TENURE

The Niobec Mine is located on a 2,422.6 ha property comprising two mining leases, Nos. 663 and 706 (with areas of 79.9 ha and 49.5 ha, respectively), and 66 claims totalling 2,293.2 ha. The mining leases have been renewed until 2015 and include surface rights.

There are no outstanding royalty payments on the property. Mineral lease payments are C$2,947.35 per annum.

SITE INFRASTRUCTURE

Currently, the major assets and facilities associated with the Project are:

 

   

The deposit.

 

   

A mine shaft, headframe, access ramp, ventilation raises, maintenance shops, and mobile equipment fleet.

 

   

A coarse ore bin.

 

   

A crushing plant.

 

   

A pyrochlore-to-niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5 ) concentrator.

 

   

A concentrate to ferroniobium (FeNb) converter.

 

   

A paste backfill plant.

 

   

Main ventilation fan.

 

   

A stand-alone assay laboratory.

 

   

Workshops, warehouses, administration buildings, and dry facilities.

 

   

Ample water supply, fire suppression system and sewage treatment.

 

   

Fuel storage and distribution system.

 

   

Main line to Provincial electrical grid, main electrical substation (161 kV), main plant substation, and site distribution network (25 kV).

Access by paved and gravel all-weather roads to the Ville de Saguenay (Chicoutimi) and rail and port infrastructures linking to North American markets.

 

 

 

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HISTORY

SOQUEM Inc. (SOQUEM) discovered the Niobec deposit while conducting airborne geophysical surveys to explore for uranium in 1967. In 1970, SOQUEM entered into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with Copperfields Mining Corporation (Copperfields), a predecessor company of Teck Resources (Teck), to explore and develop the niobium deposit.

A joint decision was taken, in 1974, to initiate the development of a 1,500 tpd mine and mill under the management of Teck. The mine was completed and commercial operations started in 1976 with the production of the first niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5) concentrate. In 1979, mine production was increased by 30% and mill throughput increased approximately 50% to 2,260 tpd.

As a result of the partial privatization of SOQUEM in 1986, the 50% interest in the Project was transferred to Cambior Inc. (Cambior).

In 1994, the process was expanded to allow conversion to ferroniobium to expand the marketability of the product.

Teck sold its 50% interest to Mazarin Inc. (Mazarin) in 2001. A corporate reorganization of Mazarin resulted in the creation of Sequoia Minerals Inc. (Sequoia) that comprised the industrial minerals segment of Mazarin’s holdings. In 2004, Sequoia was acquired by Cambior and in 2006 IAMGOLD and Cambior merged.

GEOLOGY

REGIONAL GEOLOGY

The Saguenay region is underlain by Grenville Province rocks of the Canadian Shield. It is characterized by high-grade metamorphic terranes and deep-level thrust stacks along ductile shear zones. During the Grenvillian Orogeny (1.08 Ga to 0.98 Ga), extensive crustal thickening and tectonic extrusion led to widespread high grade metamorphism. Tectonic extension at the beginning of the Paleozoic incorporated normal faulting, updoming, and igneous alkaline activity and resulted in the formation of the St. Lawrence River Rift system.

 

 

 

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The Saint-Honoré alkaline complex (SAC) which hosts the Niobec Mine, is situated along the Saguenay Graben, a 250 km long and 25 km to 40 km wide structure that extends from the St. Lawrence River near Tadoussac to the Lac St.-Jean district. Geology in the vicinity of the SAC comprises anorthosite, syenites, and magnetic diorite gneiss. Shales and limestones found in the vicinity of Saint-Honoré are thought to be the result of a marine transgression during the Ordovician period (about 470 Ma).

PROPERTY GEOLOGY

The SAC, the host to the Niobec Mine, is elliptical in plan view with a north-south trending major axial length of four kilometres and covers approximately 12 km2 in area. It is comprised of a series of crescent shaped lenses whose age and composition vary with proximity to the core.

The two main niobium zones are subvertical and lenticular in shape. Foliated and often brecciated dolomites and calcites alternate with more massive dolomites that contain red ankerite alteration. The foliated and brecciated unit is host to pyrochlore, the most prevalent niobium mineral, while the massive unit is less mineralized.

MINERAL RESOURCES AND MINERAL RESERVES

RPA conducted an independent update of Mineral Resource estimation, constrained in a Whittle open pit shell. Grades for Nb2O5 , SiO2, P2O5, and Fe2O3 were estimated into blocks using ID2 weighting. Table 1-4 presents Mineral Resource estimates constrained by Whittle open pit shell at a cut-off grade of 0.2% Nb2O5 .

 

 

 

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TABLE 1-4 RPA INDEPENDENT UPDATED MINERAL

RESOURCES – APRIL 1, 2011

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Classification

   Tonnes
(000’s)
     Grade
(% Nb2O5)
     Contained Nb2O5
(M kg)
 

Measured

     288,930         0.43         1,242   

Indicated

     169,180         0.40         685   

Measured and Indicated

     458,110         0.42         1,927   

Inferred

     336,445         0.37         1,240   

Notes:

 

1. CIM definitions were followed for Mineral Resources.
2. The Qualified Person for this Mineral Resource estimate is Bernard Salmon, ing.
3.

Mineral Resources are estimated at a cut-off grade of 0.20% Nb2O5 .

4. Mineral Resources are estimated using an average long-term niobium price of US$42 per kg and a US$/C$ exchange rate of 1:1.05.
5. Mineral Resources are constrained by a pit shell to the 2400 level (725 m below surface).
6. Numbers may not add due to rounding.

Grade estimation was conducted using ID2 in Gemcom GEMS v6.3.0.1 software using uncut original assays employing “hard boundaries” between mineralized domains. Interpolation of grade inside the blocks was done using the following parameters:

 

   

First Pass – Search ellipse dimension of 24.4 m by 18.3 m by 9.1 m.

 

   

Second Pass – Search ellipse dimension of 48.8 m by 36.6 m by 9.1 m.

 

   

Third Pass – Search ellipse dimension of 121.9 m by 91.4 m by 18.2 m.

RPA notes that while Nb2O5 is the only material of economic value, other materials, such as SiO2, Fe2O3 and P2O5 are also estimated, using the same methodology as Nb2O5, because of their importance for blending to maintain the metallurgical recovery of the mill feed.

As the metallurgical recovery of the niobium is variable, each individual sample was coded based on its lithology and mineralization. In the block model, each block is assigned a code using “nearest neighbour” estimation employing the same large search ellipse used for Nb2O5 grade estimation.

There are no current Mineral Reserves estimated for the open pit or block caving mining options. Mineral Reserves will be assessed at the pre-feasibility stage of study.

 

 

 

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MINING OPERATIONS

The Niobec Mine has been in production since 1976. The present four compartment shaft is 850 m deep and is used for production (ore hoisting) and services (materials and manpower). In addition to the shaft, the mine is serviced by a ramp reaching a depth of 750 m.

Actual production levels are located on the 600, 1000, and 1450 levels and there is further development on the 300, 700, and 1150 levels. Development on production levels is mainly used for ore haulage by trucks to the ore pass. Development is performed using hydraulic jumbos. Ground support is performed to secure the openings using bolters. The broken rock is loaded by load haul dump units (LHD) and hauled by truck to the ore pass. The ore is crushed and hoisted to surface by a skip. Horizontal sill pillars are left between the production levels.

Open stoping has been the main mining method used since mine start-up. Transition to underground paste fill mining method is ongoing. The open stoping method is still used in the upper part of the mine in Block 1 to 3. The average size of the stopes is about 60 m in length, 25 m in width, and 90 m in height. A 25 m pillar is left between the stopes. Secondary extraction of the pillars can be carried out after the complete extraction of the primary stopes. Paste fill mining method is planned in Block 4 to 6.

Three underground mining scenarios were investigated in order to guide future expansion. The first scenario is an updated LOM using the latest 2010 reserve and resource estimates. The second scenario involves the addition of three new mining blocks (7 to 9) using the paste fill mining method. The third scenario involves a change in the mining method approach as the mine would be converted to block caving. This scenario was built using the April 2011 RPA block model.

RPA, in collaboration with IAMGOLD, investigated the potential for open pit mining at the Niobec property. Whittle pit optimization runs were performed based on the following costs and operating parameters:

 

•    Open pit mining:

  $1.80/t moved

•    Milling:

  $9.50/t milled

•    G&A:

  $1.25/t milled

•    Converting:

  $4.00/kg Nb

 

 

 

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•    Marketing and freight:

  $1.41/kg Nb

•    Mill recovery:

  40% to 60%, depending on  Nb2O5 head grade

•    Converter recovery:

  97%

•    Niobium in FeNb:

  69.9%.

Revenue factors were calculated using the above metallurgical recoveries based on Niobec historical data. The revenue factors were used to generate a net value model which was used to float cones in the Whittle software.

MINE DESIGN

For the purpose of pit optimization, a re-blocking of the block model was done to increase block size to 24.4 m by 24.4 m horizontal by 15.2 m vertical. A pit optimization was run using the previous inputs and a pit slope of 45°. The values of blocks were calculated using a niobium price based on long-term forecasts of $45 per kg and the aforementioned mill and converter recoveries.

The Whittle economic optimization yielded a pit (Pit 6T) which contained the Mineral Resources stated previously in this report. A second economic optimization was performed on the first Whittle result by means of IAMGOLD’s Comet Production Scheduler Software in order to maximize the NPV at 8%. A time parameter was introduced into this process to force the schedule to stop in 2052, as was done in the block caving scenario, for comparison purposes. The maximum NPV of this pit optimization process occurred at a cut-off grade of 0.33% Nb2O5.

The exercise returned 370 Mt grading 0.46% Nb2O5 and corresponds to a smaller pit within Pit 6T, Pit 4T. The proportion of Inferred Resources in the material that may be potentially mineable via open pit is approximately 20%. Waste mining of 1,482 Mt is required, for a strip ratio of 4:1. The pit shell is of circular shape with a 1,830 m diameter and is a maximum of 564 m deep. The crest of the pit encroaches on the current tailings and settling ponds.

For the pit size, production requirements, and recommended equipment fleet, RPA considers mining of 12 m benches and development of 33 m wide ramps, including ditches and safety berms, to be appropriate.

 

 

 

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MINING APPROACH THROUGH UNDERGROUND MINE OPENINGS AND EXISTING SURFACE INFRASTRUCTURES

An OP mining method will be used to extract all of the ore in the current mining area. As the pit will be mining through old open stope mine workings, the operating plan includes backfilling of each open stope with crushed limestone or low grade ore when available. During stripping the limestone horizon in the OP, a portion of the waste will be crushed in the pit with a mobile crusher and this material will serve as fill for the UG open stopes of Block 1 via sub-vertical 12 in. to 14 in. diameter drill holes. Sub-economic or low grade ore from Block 1 will be used to fill Block 2 UG openings and same material from Block 2 will be used to fill Block 3 UG openings following the same approach. During stripping overburden and waste, the UG mine will operate until the OP will start producing.

During OP mining, if filled UG stopes are encountered on a bench, the fill material will be reclaimed first and hauled to the waste rock dump or to low grade stock pile or the primary crusher and these openings will serve as first cuts. The OP bench floor elevations for few assigned benches will be designed to fit with drift floor elevations of the UG level.

The pit footprint will eventually reach the existing tailings pond and will be near the future tailings pond. When required, a portion of the existing tailings will be relocated into a new pond and the existing pond will be re-profiled.

The location for waste rock dumps was determined based on the area required (12 km² and 76 m high) and with first objectives to minimize the impact on water courses, to have a 100 m buffer distance from Hydro Quebec’s high-voltage power lines, and to avoid sterilization of known potential Mineral Resources (REE mineralization north of the open pit). Geotechnical studies and condemnation drilling will have to be carried out at the waste rock dump locations.

Finally, a provisional surface area allows for land purchases for the OP expansion option, particularly for waste rock dumps.

 

 

 

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PRE-PRODUCTION SCHEDULE

It is currently estimated that the feasibility studies and permitting will be completed from 2011 through 2013, overlapped and followed by a development and construction phase of two years with increased production starting in the first quarter of 2015.

LIFE OF MINE PRODUCTION SCHEDULE

The mill throughput is scheduled at 10 Mtpa in Year 3 and beyond, ramping up from 5 Mtpa and 7.5 Mtpa in the first and second years of production, respectively.

Twelve million tonnes of waste pre-stripping will be required in Year -1. The transition from UG and OP mines will last four years from Year -4 to -1 (or from 2011 to 2014, as currently planned).

The remaining production from the UG mine combined with the OP expansion project results in a 42 year LOM, up to 2052.

MINE EQUIPMENT

The production schedule requires a fleet capable of moving 55 Mt of material per year, on a 24 hour per day and 365 day per annum schedule.

INFRASTRUCTURE

The OP expansion option is principally a new construction as the current UG operation will be inside the pit limit created by this mining approach. As the current shaft will not be affected until mining activities reach the shaft installation, the existing UG shaft services will remain in place as current underground mining will continue until open pit production start-up.

The water line and water recirculation infrastructure will continue to be used, with the prospect of being expanded. The remainder of the equipment will require demolition. The existing 25 kV line power will be decommissioned in appropriate areas but will keep supplying power to water pumping stations.

With the pit footprint cutting through the Columbium Road near the current mine site, a new road is proposed to reduce traffic flow around the communities. This would permit transport of material to Niobec without having to pass through small villages. The seven kilometre road would be paved.

 

 

 

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Building infrastructure is added to the new open pit project to provide appropriate services. Each building is linked up to fire suppression services where required and serviced by a septic field. Potable water is assumed to be provided by the city of Saint-Honoré.

A crushing facility is required to process open pit run-of-mine (ROM) material. A 54” by 75” Metso crusher is proposed to be used with a 50 t/20 t bridge crane. The crane will be installed early to be used during construction. An apron feeder will feed ROM ore via a stockpile conveyor to the ROM coarse ore stockpile of 25,000 t live load capacity. Ore from the covered stockpile will be fed by four apron feeders via another conveyor to the new grinding facility.

As the existing main electrical substation is located in the zone affected by mining, a new substation is proposed just near the new plant. Communications system infrastructure is reproduced in the new design taking advantage of fibre optic links from the 25 kV power network.

This scenario requires a new processing plant as the existing infrastructure will be demolished as a result of open pit operations. Each area has provision for its own or combined heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The areas affected will be Grinding, Desliming, Pyrite Flotation, Carbonates Flotation, Dewatering, Magnetic Separation, Pyrochlore Flotation, Sulphide Flotation, Leaching and Leach Filtration, Filtration, Drying and Packaging, Tailings Disposal, Converter, Concentrate Storage, and Tailings and Water Management.

RECOVERABILITY

Historically at Niobec, the process recovery has varied for the Nb2O5 head grade while the converter recovery has been constant and equal to 97%. The average grade of the potentially mineable material included in the pit shell implies an average mill recovery of 49.6%.

 

 

 

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MINERAL PROCESSING

The process utilized at Niobec was first developed from pilot plant programs. The ROM ore is crushed to 100% passing 1 1/2 in. and fed to rod mills, ball mills, and classification circuits where the ore is ground to 80% passing 180 µm. The ore is deslimed in two stages of cycloning, and the underflow is sent for conditioning prior to carbonate flotation. The carbonate concentrate is sent to the tails. The carbonate flotation rougher and cleaner tails are cycloned in two stages to change the process water and then sent to the pyrochlore rougher flotation. The rougher concentrate is sent to five stages of cleaner cells. This is followed by pyrite flotation to remove the sulphides leaching with hydrochloric acid to remove phosphorus and then followed by drying to produce a concentrate with less than 0.1% moisture before being converted into ferroniobium. Since 2000, three major expansions have been completed to increase the ferroniobium production.

ORE CHARACTERISTICS

The deposit contains at least two dozen minerals but, at the present time, only two of them are of economic interest. These are pyrochlore (Na,Ca)Nb2O6F and columbite (Fe,Mn)(Nb,Ta)2O6. Pyrochlore itself does not have a rigid chemical composition and contains REE (tantalum, titanium, strontium and zirconium among others) in addition to niobium. Up to eight different varieties of pyrochlore can be found in the deposit. The Fe-enriched pyrochlore and columbite are usually found in altered ore, but are also present in unaltered ore where they are of primary origin.

The variable chemical composition has a major influence on mill production results. A portion of black Fe-enriched pyrochlore and columbite at a certain pH have surface properties different from those of the sodium type of pyrochlore. These two minerals are in fact lost to tailings in the flotation process.

CRUSHING

Primary crushing is done underground with a jaw type crusher before being hoisted to the headframe bin, which has 600 t capacity. A vibrating feeder is located under the headframe bin in order to feed the conveyor to the secondary crusher. The secondary crusher is a gyratory type crusher and its product is stored in four 1,200 t insulated bins.

 

 

 

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GRINDING

There are two parallel grinding circuits. Each line is designed with the same equipment specifications. The tertiary crusher screen undersize and tertiary crusher discharge are directly fed to both rod mills. The rod mill discharges on each line is combined with the ball mill discharges before each feeding a 24 way distributor via their mill discharge pump box pumps. Each distributor feeds a set of vibrating screens where the coarse material reports to a screw classifier and the fines that are at 80% passing 180 µm are sent to the desliming circuit.

The softness of the ore, the relatively high specific gravity of the pyrochlore, and the chemistry of the flotation process dictates the configuration of the grinding circuit in order to avoid overgrinding of the pyrochlore crystals.

DESLIMING

The desliming circuit is designed to remove the material that is smaller than seven µm before flotation. This is done in two steps of cyclone classification.

PYRITE FLOTATION

The slurry at 54% solids is first conditioned in two high intensity conditioners in series where copper sulphate and potassium amyl xanthate (PAX) are added. The pyrite flotation is done in two steps including a rougher and cleaner. The cleaning step is made up of 12 cells.

CARBONATE FLOTATION

After the pyrite flotation, the slurry is conditioned with high intensity at 55% solids with an emulsified fatty acid collector and the pH stays close to its natural level. High intensity conditioning is done in two agitated tanks in series. The carbonate flotation has one rougher step and two cleaning steps. Approximately 35% of the weight and 9% of the pyrochlore of the mill feed is floated off in the second cleaner concentrate. The flotation concentrate consists of very fine calcite particles (-50 µm) and medium size apatite.

DEWATERING

After carbonate flotation, the slurry is sent to cyclones. The slurry is first diluted with fresh water to 30% solids. It is then pumped to primary dewatering cyclones. The overflow, at about 2% solids, is pumped to the secondary dewatering cyclones. About 4% of the mill feed by weight and 7% of the pyrochlore are removed in the dewatering cyclones overflow.

 

 

 

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MAGNETIC SEPARATION

The dewatering cyclone underflows are sent to magnetic separation. This process removes 2% of the weight and 1% of the pyrochlore.

PYROCHLORE FLOTATION

The non-magnetic material from the magnetic separator is pumped to two high intensity conditioning tanks in series. The slurry is then sent to a bank of flotation cells where the pyrochlore collector is stage added. The rougher concentrate is sent to five stages of cleaning where the pH is gradually reduced to 2.7. Approximately 60% of the pyrochlore is recovered in the concentrate in 0.8% of the weight, while 20% of the pyrochlore is sent to the tails

SULPHIDE FLOTATION

The cleaned pyrochlore concentrate contains about 20 wt% of pyrite, which after the addition of sodium hydroxide is conditioned with silicate to depress the pyrochlore. PAX is then added and a rougher pyrite concentrate is floated.

LEACH FILTERING

The leached product is sent to a belt filter to remove most of the water. The solid cake is mixed with fresh water and copper sulphate for the second sulphide flotation.

SECOND SULPHIDE FLOTATION

The leftover activated sulphides are floated in conventional type cells. The pH is adjusted to 11 with NaOH and PAX is added as collector.

DRYING

The final pyrochlore concentrate is pumped at about 40% solids to a double 4 in. disks filter and sent to a propane countercurrent dryer where the moisture level is reduced to less than 0.1%.

PACKAGING

The dried product is stored in twelve bins. The concentrate is packed into large bags by an automated packing-handling system then transferred to the converter.

 

 

 

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CONVERTER

After the pyrochlore concentrate is dried, it is transferred to the converter where the material is transformed into ferroniobium (standard grade). The niobium oxide is converted into FeNb by using an aluminothermic reaction on a batch basis.

PROCESS SELECTION

The expansion to an open pit or block caving mining scenario will necessitate the construction of a new processing plant facility. Major issues will be faced, principally due to the increase in equipment size and the lower mill feed grade. Those issues will be minimized by the utilization of well know equipment and trials done during the last few years. The utilization of the SAG mill and ball mill with conventional cyclones are considered one of the major risks in terms of niobium recovery due to the potential increase in fine particle production and losses at the desliming stage. The grinding circuit, however, will be simpler to operate and easier to perform automatic control strategies. The niobium recovery process will stay the same in terms of metallurgy.

Proposed plant modifications are discussed below.

ORE HANDLING, CRUSHING AND STORAGE

The ore will be delivered to a gyratory crusher before it is sent to the covered stockpile. The ore from the current underground mine will be redirected to the new ore stacker.

GRINDING AND CLASSIFICATION

The grinding circuit will be modified in terms of technology. The ore classification will continue to be done using vibrating screen technology.

DESLIMING

The same type and size of equipment used in the present circuit will be used.

PYRITE FLOTATION

A pyrite circuit will be built based on the current design.

 

 

 

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CARBONATE FLOTATION

Two parallel lines of tank cells, each including a conditioner for reagent conditioning, will be used. The first cleaner will consist of eight tank cells and the second of five tank cells.

DEWATERING

The dewatering will be done using two clusters of D10 cyclones followed by eight clusters of D4 and finally two clusters of D2 cyclones

PYROCHLORE FLOTATION

The rougher circuit will be done in 12 tank cells in series. The reagent conditioning will be done in a highly agitated tank. Five cleaner stages will follow. The concentrate will be cleaned using three magnet separators before being sent to the sulphide flotation.

SULPHIDE FLOTATION

The final sulphide flotation will be done using twelve flotation cells.

PHOSPHATE LEACHING

The pyrochlore concentrate from the sulphide flotation will be sent to a 25 m diameter thickener before being sent to four leach tanks in series. The concentrate will be filtered using six belt filters in parallel.

SECOND SULPHIDE FLOTATION

The removal of final sulphide minerals will be done using eight flotation cells.

PACKAGING

The current packaging system built in 2010 appears to have the capacity to support the additional production by adding 12 additional concentrate storage bins.

CONVERTER

The design capacity will be twice the existing converter capacity.

TAILINGS PUMPS

Two tailings lines will be installed, one to provide the coarse material for the tailings dam construction and the second for the disposal of the carbonate and slimes inside the pond.

 

 

 

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MILL WATER SUPPLIES AND DISPOSAL

To provide the additional water demand to the mill, the new system that will be built at the Shipshaw River will need to quadruple the current water intake.

OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT

Most of the operating basis will be the same as the current.

OPERATING COSTS

Operating costs have been derived from the actual and historical cost.

REAGENT CONSUMPTIONS AND SUPPLIES

A study performed on the reagents used in the process revealed that at the time of the study no issues were raised on the supplies.

METALLURGICAL TESTING

Metallurgical testwork will need to be done in order to properly design the new processing facilities. Crushing and principally the SAG index will need to be done for proper equipment design and selection. Extensive metallurgical testwork will need to be performed to validate the niobium recovery and concentrate quality grade. Also, niobium recovery improvement will be investigated by modifying the reagent scheme or process flowsheet. Comparative testwork between conventional grinding and classification presently used and new grinding circuit using SAG-Ball mill will need to be done.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS

The environmental management system (EMS) for the Niobec Mine is certified under the 2004 revision of the ISO 14001 standard. Niobec successfully passed the ISO 14001 recertification audit in November 2010. Niobec’s quality management system is certified ISO 9001:2008 since 1995; it was last recertified in 2009.

In terms of environmental requirements, the Niobec Mine must comply with both Federal and Provincial laws and regulations.

All expansion, construction, and major modification projects in Québec need approval by the Provincial government through the environmental permitting process.

 

 

 

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In terms of health and safety requirements, the Niobec Mine must comply with Québec’s provincial laws and regulations.

The most recent version of Niobec’s closure plan was approved by Ministère des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) in September 2009. A revised rehabilitation plan has to be submitted to the MRNF by September 2014.

Depending on the nature of the project, a detailed environmental and social impact assessment may be required. The environmental and social impact assessment process is triggered if the production rate of a mineral processing plant is greater than 7,000 tpd or if a mine is opened and operated with a production rate greater than 7,000 tpd. This threshold will be lowered to 3,000 tpa if proposed Mining Act reforms are enacted. The whole assessment, public hearing, and subsequent project analysis by the Provincial government may take up to 15 months and the cost is estimated at C$1 million.

A formal risk assessment for the Project will be conducted through three distinct processes: the environmental and social impact assessment required for the permitting process, the IAMGOLD risk assessment process, and the IAMGOLD Safety in Design study.

For the PEA purposes, the main foreseeable risks and impacts associated with the Project are:

 

   

The OP scenario (1,140 tonnes per hour) would trigger the provincial environmental and social impact assessment and public hearing process

 

   

The existing surface infrastructure would have to be demolished and could be considered as a partial existing mine closure thereby partially activating the Asset Retirement Obligation (ARO) plan.

 

   

Significant land purchase is necessary for the proposed tailings storage facility and waste rock dumps. Depending on how the land purchase negotiation process goes, it may be required to expropriate land.

 

   

New water supply and effluent discharge lines are required. In order to install those new water lines, it may be necessary to expropriate lands located between Niobec and the Shipshaw River. The freshwater supply to the expanded mill and infrastructure would increase significantly. Since mine effluent will be discharged back into the river, additional retention basins and/or a wastewater treatment plant may need to be constructed. Additional septic tanks and leachate fields will be required as well, to account for a potential increase in the discharge of domestic wastewater.

 

 

 

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The hazardous materials and reagents consumption is expected to increase, as well as the hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste generation, energy consumption, and the greenhouse gas emissions.

 

   

Increased health and safety risks will be associated with infrastructure construction activities as well as shaft demolition activities. Opening new surface excavations may lead to a release of radon.

 

   

The open pit itself and the waste rock dumps may constitute a significant environmental and community impact.

These risks would be managed under the Safety Management Plans such as the Health, Safety, Environmental and Community Management Plans and the Closure Plan.

CAPITAL AND OPERATING COST ESTIMATES

The mine capital cost includes mining equipment fleet purchases and pre-stripping and site work related to the open pit. The mine fleet was estimated based on OP operations of a similar scale. The mine services cost covers haul road construction and site work related to open pit and waste rock dump preparation (stripping of vegetation and overburden). Capital expenditures for the underground mine are also required as, during the first four years of the LOM, production will continue from the existing UG mine. The UG capital costs include a new ventilation system and distribution network (existing ventilation raises located within the pit footprint), an increase in pumping capacity to manage additional surface water flowing through the filled open stopes to be eventually found within the open pit, and the first drilling campaign (contracted) to fill open stopes with crushed waste rock.

The ore processing capital cost was estimated by IAMGOLD based on the current process flow sheet and a scale-up of the existing mill and converter facilities. Detailed equipment lists were generated for each area within the ore processing cost item. This capital cost prevails for the block caving and the open pit options as the respective production rates are the same.

Infrastructure costs include general site preparation, construction of on-site roads, and upgrade of a provincial road as main access to the industrial mine site, etc. Also under this cost item are building construction, equipment and furniture, power distribution, fuel storage and distribution, fire protection and laboratory.

 

 

 

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Waste rock dump water management costs were provided based on IAMGOLD’s approach to tailings water management regarding ditches and effluent water system. The effluent water system also considers open pit mine water. Budget allocation is included here for land purchases at waste rock dump location.

Tailings and process water management costs include an upgrade to the fresh water intake system and pipeline from/to Shipshaw River to the west, as well as effluent water system and tailings pond site preparation and construction. For waste rock dumps, a budget allocation is included for land purchases at the tailings pond location.

Indirect capital costs consist of working capital, warehouse inventory, owner’s cost, mill start-up/commissioning, and Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management (EPCM). EPCM costs vary between 15% and 20% of direct capital cost items and also include construction of temporary installations, equipment, tools, travel and lodging, for an average of approximately 13% of total direct capital cost (not considering OP mine fleet).

The mine, mill, and site infrastructure capital costs are summarized in Table 1-5. All costs are in 2011 US$.

TABLE 1-5 CAPITAL COST SUMMARY

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Area

   Cost (US$ M)  

Mine

     187.9   

Mill, Crusher and Converter

     245.0   

Infrastructure

     59.6   

Waste rock dump water management

     30.3   

Tailings and Process water management

     67.6   

Indirects

     134.5   

Contingency (≈15% on average)

     104.6   
        

Total Pre-Production Capital

     829.5   

 

 

 

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Sustaining capital costs are subdivided into two periods. First, during the initial four-year pre-production period (or construction phase), from Year -4 to Year -1 (2011 to 2014 inclusively), costs related to existing underground mine expansion are labelled as sustaining capital. Second, from Year 1 to Year 38 of the production phase (2015 to 2052 inclusively), all capital costs occurring during this period were considered as sustaining capital. Sustaining capital consists of:

 

   

Mine equipment fleet replacement;

 

   

Crusher, mill, and converter buildings maintenance and equipment replacement;

 

   

Relocation of a portion of existing tails, once open pit reach existing tailings pond;

 

   

Drilling holes (contracted) to fill UG openings from the open pit;

 

   

Progressive rehabilitation and mine closure.

Sustaining capital costs are shown in Table 1-6.

TABLE 1-6 CAPITAL COSTS – SUSTAINING

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Area

  

Item

   Cost (US$ M)  

Sustaining

   Existing Underground Mine      91.3   
   Mine Equipment Fleet      341.9   
   Crusher, Mill and Converter      54.0   
   Existing Tailings      30.0   
   Holes to fill UG openings      4.5   
   Progressive Rehabilitation and Mine Closure      47.5   
           

Total Sustaining

        569.2   

The following is excluded from the capital cost estimate:

 

   

Project financing and interest charges

 

   

Escalation during the project

 

   

Permits, fees and process royalties

 

   

Pre-feasibility and Feasibility studies

 

   

Environmental impact studies

 

   

Any additional civil, concrete work due to the adverse soil condition and location

 

   

Taxes

 

   

Import duties and custom fees

 

   

Cost of geotechnical and geomechanical investigations

 

 

 

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Rock mechanics study

 

   

Metallurgical testwork

 

   

Exploration drilling

 

   

Costs of fluctuations in currency exchanges

 

   

Project application and approval expenses

Operating costs for production over the LOM are summarized in Table 1-7. Unit costs are detailed for the whole Project and for the open pit only, because the existing underground mine will still be producing at 2.2 Mtpa during the four-year construction phase of the Project. All costs in this section are in 2011 C$.

TABLE 1-7 LOM AVERAGE UNIT OPERATING COST SUMMARY

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

     UG&OP      UG&OP      UG      OP      OP  
     C$/t
milled
     C$/t
moved
     C$/t
milled
     C$/t
milled
     C$/t
moved
 

Mining

     9.31         1.90         19.54         9.07         1.82   

Processing

     9.70            13.45         9.50      

Converting

     6.31            9.57         6.23      

G&A

     1.35            4.03         1.25      
                                

Total

     26.67            46.59         26.05      

Manpower estimates were based on typical numbers in Canadian open pit operations of a similar scale, and IAMGOLD scaled-up manning based on current data for milling, converting, and G&A. Manpower estimates for the various administrative units are shown in Table 1-8.

TABLE 1-8 MANPOWER SUMMARY

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Unit

   Operation      Maintenance      Supervision
and  Services
     Total  

Administration

     —           —           46         46   

Mine

     225         115         20         360   

Mill

     100         60         20         180   

Converter

     68         8         5         81   

Surface and Electrical

     —           65         11         76   
                                   

Total

     393         248         102         743   

 

 

 

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2 INTRODUCTION

Roscoe Postle Associates Inc. (RPA) was retained by IAMGOLD Corporation (IAMGOLD), to prepare an independent Technical Report on the Niobec Mine (the Project), near Ville de Saguenay (Chicoutimi), Québec. The purpose of this report is to prepare an updated Mineral Resource estimate and a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) on the viability of an OP option at the Project. This Technical Report conforms to NI 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. RPA visited the property on March 4, 2011 and again from March 21 to 22, 2011.

IAMGOLD is a Canadian mining company, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, that produces one million ounces annually from eight gold mines on three continents. IAMGOLD was created as a private company in 1991 when it discovered its first gold deposit, the Sadiola Hill mine (Sadiola) in Mali, Africa. In 1996, IAMGOLD began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Sadiola poured it first gold bar, and exploration commenced in South America. IAMGOLD continued to expand through strategic acquisitions of projects and through the conversion of discretionary assets into gold bullion. IAMGOLD began trading on the American Stock Exchange in 2001 and the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. In 2006, IAMGOLD acquired Cambior Inc. and its 100% ownership of the Project. IAMGOLD has since acquired Orezone Resources in 2009 and declared commercial gold production at its Essakane Project in Burkina Faso, Africa. IAMGOLD has development projects in Canada, Ecuador, and French Guiana, and is actively exploring in Africa and South America. IAMGOLD also holds a 1% royalty in the Diavik diamond property in Canada. A summary of IAMGOLD 2009 production is shown in Table 2-1.

 

 

 

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TABLE 2-1 IAMGOLD 2009 PRODUCTION

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Headings

  

Operation

   Gold
Production
(000s oz)
     Niobium
Production
(000s kg)
 

IAMGOLD Operator

        
   Rosebel (95%)      392      
   Doyon Division (100%)      109      
   Mupane (100%)      51      
   Essakane (90%)      n/a      
   Niobec (100%)         4,100   

Joint Venture

        
   Sadiola (41%)      135      
   Yatela (40%)      89      
   Tarkwa (18.9%)      125      
   Damang (18.9%)      38      

Source: IAMGOLD.com

Prior RPA involvement in the Niobec Project includes a reserve audit and review of mining operations that formed part of a technical due diligence conducted in 2001.

This report is considered by RPA to meet the requirements of a PEA as defined in Canadian NI 43-101 regulations. The economic analysis contained in this report is based, in part, on Inferred Resources, and is preliminary in nature. Inferred Resources are considered too geologically speculative to have mining and economic considerations applied to them and to be categorized as Mineral Reserves. There is no certainty that the reserves development, production and economic forecasts on which this preliminary assessment is based will be realized.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION

Site visits were carried out by Jacques Gauthier, ing., Manager of Engineering - Québec for RPA, Marc Lavigne, ing., Senior Mining Engineer for RPA, and Barry McDonough, P. Geo., Senior Geologist for RPA.

 

 

 

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Discussions were held with personnel from IAMGOLD`:

 

   

Pierre Pelletier, ing., Vice-President, Metallurgy, IAMGOLD

 

   

Réjean Sirois, ing., Manager Mine Geology, IAMGOLD

 

   

Daniel Vallières, ing., Manager, Underground Projects, IAMGOLD

 

   

Philippe Gaultier, ing., Manager Engineering IAMGOLD

 

   

Nathaniel Chouinard, Manager, Mergers and Acquisitions, IAMGOLD

 

   

Alain Grenier, ing., General Manager, Niobec Mine, IAMGOLD

 

   

Steve Thivierge, ing., Geology and Project Superintendent, Niobec Mine, IAMGOLD

 

   

Marianne Blais, ing., Technical Superintendant, Niobec Mine, IAMGOLD

 

   

Jean-Francois Tremblay, P. Geo., Chief Geologist, Niobec Mine, IAMGOLD

The Mineral Resource review and geological aspects of the report were carried out by Bernard Salmon, ing., and Barry McDonough, P. Geo., of RPA and comprise Sections 1 through 15 and 17, and parts of 19 through 21. Mining aspects were carried out by Marc Lavigne, M.Sc., ing., of RPA and Daniel Vallières, ing., of IAMGOLD; they are responsible for parts of Sections 18 through 21. Mineral processing and metallurgical testing were carried out by Pierre Pelletier, ing., of IAMGOLD, who is responsible for Section 16 and parts of 18 through 20. Markets in Section 18 has been prepared by Graham G. Clow, P.Eng., of RPA, who also has overall responsibility for the report

The documentation reviewed, and other sources of information, are listed at the end of this report in Section 21, References.

 

 

 

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

Units of measurement used in this report conform to the SI (metric) system. All currency in this report is US dollars (US$) unless otherwise noted.

 

µ

     micron    km2      square kilometre

°C

     degree Celsius    kPa      kilopascal

°F

     degree Fahrenheit    kVA      kilovolt-amperes

µg

     microgram    kW      kilowatt

A

     ampere    kWh      kilowatt-hour

a

     annum    L      litre

bbl

     barrels    L/s      litres per second

Btu

     British thermal units    m      metre

C$

     Canadian dollars    M      mega (million)

cal

     calorie    m2      square metre

cfm

     cubic feet per minute    m3      cubic metre

cm

     centimetre    min      minute

cm2

     square centimetre    MASL      metres above sea level

d

     day    mm      millimetre

dia.

     diameter    mph      miles per hour

dmt

     dry metric tonne    MVA      megavolt-amperes

dwt

     dead-weight ton    MW      megawatt

ft

     foot    MWh      megawatt-hour

ft/s

     foot per second    m3/h      cubic metres per hour

ft2

     square foot    opt, oz/st      ounce per short ton

ft3

     cubic foot    oz      Troy ounce (31.1035g)

g

     gram    ppm      part per million

G

     giga (billion)    psia      pound per square inch absolute

Gal

     Imperial gallon    psig      pound per square inch gauge

g/L

     gram per litre    RL      relative elevation

g/t

     gram per tonne    s      second

gpm

     Imperial gallons per minute    st      short ton

gr/ft3

     grain per cubic foot    stpa      short ton per year

gr/m3

     grain per cubic metre    stpd      short ton per day

hr

     hour    t      metric tonne

ha

     hectare    tpa      metric tonne per year

hp

     horsepower    tpd      metric tonne per day

in

     inch    tph      metric tonne per hour

in2

     square inch    US$      United States dollar

J

     joule    USg      United States gallon

k

     kilo (thousand)    USgpm      US gallon per minute

kcal

     kilocalorie    V      volt

kg

     kilogram    W      watt

km

     kilometre    wmt      wet metric tonne

km/h

     kilometre per hour    yd3      cubic yard
        yr      year

 

 

 

 

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3 RELIANCE ON OTHER EXPERTS

This report has been prepared by RPA for IAMGOLD. The information, conclusions, opinions, and estimates contained herein are based on:

 

   

Information available to RPA at the time of preparation of this report,

 

   

Assumptions, conditions, and qualifications as set forth in this report, and

 

   

Data, reports, and other information supplied by IAMGOLD and other third party sources.

For the purpose of this report, RPA has relied on ownership information provided by IAMGOLD. RPA has not researched property title or mineral rights for the Niobec Mine and expresses no opinion as to the ownership status of the property.

RPA has relied on IAMGOLD for guidance on applicable taxes, royalties, and other government levies or interests, applicable to revenue or income from the Niobec Mine.

Except for the purposes legislated under provincial securities laws, any use of this report by any third party is at that party’s sole risk.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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4 PROPERTY DESCRIPTION AND LOCATION

The Niobec Mine is located 25 km north of Ville de Saguenay (Chicoutimi), Québec, in the limits of the municipality of Saint-Honoré, in Simard Township, Québec (Figure 4-1). The property is held 100% by Gestion IAMGOLD Québec inc. (IQM), a wholly-owned subsidiary of IAMGOLD. The approximate geographic centre of the property is within National Topographic Series Map reference 22D/11 at longitude 71° 9’ 37” west and latitude 48° 31’ 44” north. Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates for the project centre utilizing projection North American Datum (NAD) 83, Zone 19 are approximately 340,511 m east and 5,377,347 m north. Access to the property is via paved all-weather roads.

LAND TENURE

The Niobec Mine is located on a 2,422.6 ha property comprising two mining leases, Nos. 663 and 706 (with areas of 79.9 ha and 49.5 ha, respectively), and 66 claims totalling 2,293.2 ha. The mining leases have been renewed until 2015 and include surface rights. A list of the active mineral tenures is shown in Table 4-1 and a map showing claims in the vicinity of the mine is shown in Figure 4-2. Mineral lease boundaries have been established by legal survey. The remaining property boundaries have been established by cadastral survey for the mining claims delineated by lots and parcels and by geographical coordinates for the map designated map claims. There are no outstanding royalty payments on the property and mineral lease payments are C$2,947.35 per annum.

RPA is of the opinion that the proposed pit will necessitate the expansion of the mining lease and will require permitting for waste rock and overburden dumps. Permitting for environment will require to be updated.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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TABLE 4-1 NIOBEC LAND TENURE

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

NTS

Sheet

 

Tenure

Type

 

Tenure

Number

 

Status

 

Recording

Date

 

Expiration

Date

 

Area

(ha)

 

Owner
(Percentage)

22D11

  BM   BM 663   Active   16/01/1975   15/01/2015   79.93   IQM (100%)

22D11

  BM   BM 706   Active   05/06/1980   04/06/2015   49.52   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2687601   Active   26/10/1967   13/09/2011   20   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2687602   Active   26/10/1967   13/09/2011   21.4   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2712071   Active   26/10/1967   13/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2712072   Active   26/10/1967   13/09/2011   21.4   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2712122   Active   26/10/1967   14/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713201   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   21.4   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713202   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   21.4   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713212   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713221   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713222   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713231   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713232   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713241   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713242   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713251   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713252   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713362   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713371   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713372   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713442   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713451   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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NTS

Sheet

 

Tenure

Type

 

Tenure

Number

 

Status

 

Recording

Date

 

Expiration

Date

 

Area

(ha)

 

Owner
(Percentage)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713452   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713461   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713462   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713471   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713472   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713481   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713482   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713491   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713492   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713541   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713542   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713551   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713552   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713561   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713562   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713571   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713621   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713622   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713631   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713632   Active   26/10/1967   24/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 2713641   Active   26/10/1967   25/09/2011   40   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CL   CL 5044599   Active   23/11/1989   22/11/2011   20   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198143   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   42.4   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198144   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   7.41   IQM (100%)

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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NTS

Sheet

 

Tenure

Type

 

Tenure

Number

 

Status

 

Recording

Date

 

Expiration

Date

 

Area

(ha)

 

Owner
(Percentage)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198145   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   8.42   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198146   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   9.4   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198147   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   10.4   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198148   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   11.63   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198149   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   12.34   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198150   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   13.34   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198151   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   14.31   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198152   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   15.29   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198153   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   16.27   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198154   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   0.54   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198155   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   17.26   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198156   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   11.14   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198157   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   41.07   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198158   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   57.05   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198159   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   57.05   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198160   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   57.05   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198161   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   57.05   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198162   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   57.04   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198163   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   57.04   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198164   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   57.04   IQM (100%)

22D11

  CDC   CDC 2198165   Active   05/01/2010   04/01/2012   57.04   IQM (100%)
                 

TOTAL

    68 titles         2,422.63  

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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FIGURE 4-1 LOCATION MAP

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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FIGURE 4-2 MINERAL CLAIMS AND LEASES

Notes:

Red outline denotes Mineral Lease.

Blue outline denotes Mineral Claim.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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5 ACCESSIBILITY, CLIMATE, LOCAL RESOURCES, INFRASTRUCTURE AND PHYSIOGRAPHY

ACCESSIBILITY

The Project is readily accessible by well established, all-weather paved and gravel roads. It is located in Simard Township, approximately 25 km north of the Ville de Saguenay (Chicoutimi), Québec, and adjacent to the municipality of Saint-Honoré, Québec. Access to the Project from Ville de Saguenay is via Québec Provincial Highway 172, travelling west, to Rue Martel. Bearing north-northeast for approximately nine kilometres, Rue Martel intersects Rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. Rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville is followed west-northwest for approximately five kilometres to where it intersects the gravel Route du Columbium. The mine gate is located approximately 1.5 km south-southwest of this intersection.

CLIMATE

The climate in the Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean region is humid temperate with mild summers. The mean annual temperature for the area is above the freezing point at 2.3°C. Average July temperature is 18.1°C, and average January temperature is -16.1°C.

According to the 1971 to 2000 precipitation data from Environment Canada, the average annual precipitation is 951 mm. Rain precipitation is highest in July, averaging 123 mm of water. Snow precipitation is registered between September and May, but its peak falls on the period between December and March, when its monthly average reaches 63 mm (expressed in mm of water). The prevailing winds are from the West (33% of the time).

LOCAL RESOURCES

The Niobec Mine is close to Ville de Saguenay with a population, according to 2001 census data, of about 170,000. The city is serviced several times a day by regional airlines from Montreal and boasts excellent road, rail, and port infrastructures.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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The mine has been in production since 1976 and has well established suppliers of equipment and services from the region. Governmental and health services, schools, and manpower are all available in Ville de Saguenay and other communities in the vicinity. The Project enjoys the support of local communities.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Currently, the major assets and facilities associated with the Project are:

 

   

The orebody.

 

   

A mine shaft, headframe, access ramp, ventilation raises, maintenance shops, and mobile equipment fleet.

 

   

A coarse ore bin.

 

   

A crushing plant.

 

   

A pyrochlore-to-niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5 ) concentrator.

 

   

A concentrate to ferroniobium (FeNb) converter.

 

   

A paste backfill plant.

 

   

Main ventilation fan.

 

   

A stand-alone assay laboratory.

 

   

Workshops, warehouses, administration buildings, and dry facilities.

 

   

Ample water supply, fire suppression system and sewage treatment.

 

   

Fuel storage and distribution system.

 

   

Main line to Provincial electrical grid, main electrical substation (161 kV), main plant substation, and site distribution network (25 kV).

 

   

Access by paved and gravel all-weather roads to the Ville de Saguenay (Chicoutimi) and rail and port infrastructures linking to North American markets.

PHYSIOGRAPHY

The topography is generally flat in the vicinity of the mine with an average altitude of 144 MASL. The vegetation in the Niobec area is mostly forest dominated by coniferous three species such as black spruce, fir tree, and larch tree. There is also some poplar tree and grey pine. The average vegetation density ranges from 40% to 80%. There is no known plant or tree species at risk around the Niobec area.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

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The fauna found in the Niobec area is typical of the Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean region. Red fox, rabbits, squirrels, black bears, partridges, black crows, Canada geese, and other types of birds and mammals are found in the area. No significant water bodies are found at the Niobec Mine. However, a river, the Rivière-aux-Vases, is located about two kilometres west of Niobec. There is no known animal species at risk around the Niobec area.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

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6 HISTORY

While conducting airborne geophysical surveys to explore for uranium in 1967, SOQUEM Inc. (SOQUEM) detected coincident circular radiometric and magnetic anomalies. The anomalies, in the vicinity of the deposit, were followed up and led to the discovery of the Saint-Honoré carbonatite complex. Later ground geophysics and diamond drilling by SOQUEM led to the discovery of the Rare-Earth zone and two niobium-bearing zones that lie in the southern part of the complex.

In 1970, SOQUEM entered into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with Copperfields Mining Corporation (Copperfields), a predecessor company of Teck, to explore and develop the niobium deposit (Hatch, 2001).

A shaft was sunk to obtain adequate samples for metallurgical evaluation. After 700 bench scale tests, 11 months of pilot plant operation, and worldwide market research, a joint decision was taken, in 1974, to initiate the development of a 1,500 tpd mine and mill under the management of Teck. The mine was completed and commercial operations started in 1976 with the production of the first niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5 ) concentrate (Belzile, 2009).

In 1978, Niobec Inc. on behalf of SOQUEM, and The Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation Limited (Yukon) on behalf of Copperfields, signed a JVA based on the previous SOQUEM/Copperfields agreement. The terms of the JVA included:

 

   

Niobec Inc. would sell an undivided 50% interest in certain claims to Yukon.

 

   

Teck Mining Group Limited (TMG) would act as manager of the joint venture project and carry out exploration and develop the niobium deposit.

Simultaneously, Yukon, on behalf of Copperfields, and Niobec Inc., on behalf of SOQUEM, also signed an Operators Agreement and Marketing Operator Agreement with terms that included, among others:

 

   

TMG would become Operator of the Niobec Mine.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

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TMG would act as an independent contractor and not as an agent of the participants in the agreement.

 

   

Niobec Inc. would become the Marketing Operator responsible for administering the sales contracts for niobium produced at the Niobec Mine.

 

   

Niobec Inc. would act as an independent contractor and not as an agent of the participants in the agreement.

In 1979, mine production was increased by 30% and mill throughput increased approximately 50% to 2,260 tpd (Hatch, 2001).

As a result of the partial privatization of SOQUEM in 1986, the 50% interest in the Project was transferred to Cambior.

Since 1994, the operators have converted pyrochlore to niobium pentoxide and then into ferroniobium to expand the marketability of their product. On-site infrastructure has been built and the ferroniobium can be delivered in various grain sizes and packaged to meet customer needs.

In 1996, the cut-off grade for production was raised from 0.5% Nb2O5 to 0.6% Nb2O 5 (Hatch, 2001).

Teck sold its 50% interest to Mazarin Inc. (Mazarin) in 2001. A corporate reorganization of Mazarin resulted in the creation of Sequoia Minerals Inc. (Sequoia) that comprised the industrial minerals segment of Mazarin’s holdings. In 2004, Sequoia was acquired by Cambior and in 2006 IAMGOLD and Cambior merged.

The Project is currently supplying approximately 7% to 8% of global consumption of niobium. Historical production numbers are provided in Table 6-1.

There was no production on the property prior to SOQUEM’s discovery and the mine has seen uninterrupted operation since that time.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

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TABLE 6-1    NIOBEC HISTORIC PRODUCTION

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Year

 

Tonnes

 

Nb2O5 (%)

 

Metallurgical

Recovery (%)

1976

  341,639   0.81   52.0

1977

  546,255   0.69   66.8

1978

  557,613   0.70   65.5

1979

  578,232   0.67   65.1

1980

  605,170   0.62   65.0

1981

  711,763   0.59   67.3

1982

  745,126   0.64   67.5

1983

  443,155   0.65   62.3

1984

  671,840   0.72   60.0

1985

  767,688   0.69   60.6

1986

  750,590   0.70   66.4

1987

  630,851   0.70   63.0

1988

  912,228   0.71   60.5

1989

  800,775   0.70   62.8

1990

  794,239   0.71   60.4

1991

  804,778   0.70   60.2

1992

  815,269   0.68   59.3

1993

  812,190   0.70   59.9

1994

  809,009   0.69   59.1

1995

  801,726   0.72   57.9

1996

  810,269   0.70   58.8

1997

  832,001   0.68   57.8

1998

  818,745   0.69   58.2

1999

  818,017   0.71   58.3

2000

  906,741   0.66   54.6

2001

  1,103,390   0.71   58.4

2002

  1,215,500   0.69   58.3

2003

  1,286,156   0.70   54.7

2004

  1,334,065   0.71   54.1

2005

  1,449,102   0.66   56.7

2006

  1,599,072   0.66   58.4

2007

  1,618,332   0.65   60.7

2008

  1,787,557   0.62   57.9

2009

  1,754,947   0.61   58.2

2010

  1,863,634   0.61   56.3
           

Total

  33,097,662   0.67   59.4

Source: IAMGOLD, 2011

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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MINING METHODS

Open stoping has been the only mining method used since the Project started production. While this method is simple and cost effective, it has the disadvantage that the mineralized zones exceed the maximum widths allowed by rock mechanics and consequently, economic mineralization is left in place. This issue is exacerbated at depth where mineralized zones are wider.

Stopes are planned using available diamond drilling data and the average stope size is 61.0 m long by 24.4 m wide by 91.4 m high corresponding to the distance between production and development levels. Pillars of 24.4 m are left between stopes and may be extracted after primary stopes are mined. Occasionally, due to various factors, the secondary extraction of these pillars is impractical or impossible. Mining of the upper two blocks are nearing completion and, with depth, ground mechanics change.

Golder Associates Ltd. (Golder) completed a rock mechanics study in 2007 and recommended higher horizontal pillars and narrower stope dimensions. The wider zones of mineralization, combined with the restrictive mining factors, prompted a review of mining recovery and horizontal pillar recovery.

Also in 2007, Golder Paste Technology Ltd. (PasteTec) carried out a test on the Niobec mine tailings to determine their suitability for use as a cemented UG mine paste backfill. The study concluded that a blended waste stream consisting of 60% pyrochlore, 25% carbonate, and 15% cyclone overflow produced a promising result in the tested areas. Additional testing in 2008 included the introduction of a binder produced from finely ground slag, which was a waste product of the refinery process containing low levels of radiation. Studies concluded that there was no strength advantage to using the material as a cement substitute (Belzile, 2009).

Based on the paste backfill studies and simulations, the recommended size of a stope is 15.2 m by 24.4 m by 91.4 m together with a mining sequence that would allow enough time for curing. Golder has reviewed the results and is in agreement with the studies’ conclusions. IAMGOLD’s intentions are to use this method for the mining of Block 4 and deeper.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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HISTORIC RESOURCE ESTIMATE

Past resource estimates were done for internal purposes and were not disclosed to the public. In 2009, a NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource estimate was prepared by IAMGOLD and audited by Belzile Solutions Inc. (BSI). Mineral Resources were estimated by mining block, using an Inverse Distance to the power two (ID2) interpolation method, and were inclusive of Mineral Reserves. The IAMGOLD Mineral Resource estimate is shown in Table 6-2 and the BSI Mineral Resource estimate, as a check, is shown in Table 6-3.

TABLE 6-2 IAMGOLD 2009 MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATE

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Category

   Block No.      Tonnage
(Kt)
     Nb2O5
Grade (%)
     Metal
Recovery (%)
     Yield
(kg/t)
 

Measured

     Block 1         1,405         0.51         57.53         2.91   
     Block 2         3,203         0.56         57.60         3.20   
     Block 3         5,694         0.60         58.73         3.54   
     Block 4         1,065         0.64         57.06         3.63   

Indicated

     Block 4         11,747         0.59         59.92         3.55   
     Block 5         385         0.57         56.48         3.24   

Total Measured and Indicated

        23,500         0.59         58.99         3.46   

Inferred

     Block 4         4,563         0.51         59.56         3.05   
     Block 5         12,976         0.56         59.74         3.38   
     Block 6         11,238         0.61         59.37         3.63   

Total Inferred

        28,777         0.58         59.53         3.42   

Source: Belzile, 2009

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

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TABLE 6-3 BSI 2009 MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATE

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Category

   Block No.      Tonnage
(Kt)
     Nb2O5
Grade (%)
     Metal
Recovery (%)
     Yield
(kg /t)
 

Measured

     Block 1         1,405         0.50         57.63         2.88   
     Block 2         3,194         0.55         57.78         3.18   
     Block 3         5,681         0.60         58.98         3.56   
     Block 4         1,065         0.64         57.06         3.64   

Indicated

     Block 4         11,747         0.59         59.93         3.55   
     Block 5         385         0.57         56.45         3.23   

Total Measured and Indicated

        23,477         0.59         59.08         3.46   

Inferred

     Block 4         4,563         0.51         59.56         3.05   
     Block 5         12,981         0.57         59.91         3.39   
     Block 6         11,238         0.61         59.47         3.64   

Total Inferred

        28,783         0.58         59.68         3.43   

Source: Belzile, 2009

BSI reported that resource classification followed “CIM Definition Standards for Mineral Resources and Reserves” (2005) and were classified according to the diamond drilling pattern, the proximity of stoping, and the availability of reconciliation data between models and production. The BSI estimate was not identical to IAMGOLD’s, but BSI concluded that the differences were negligible and confirmed that the IAMGOLD Resource Estimate was reliable and repeatable (Belzile, 2009).

Measured Resources were limited to blocks where the diamond drilling pattern is 22.9 m vertically by 15.2 m, with an east-west direction, usually corresponding to areas where final definition drilling had been completed (i.e., mining blocks 1, 2, and 3).

Indicated Resources corresponded to blocks located in an area with a 45.7 m by 30.5 m drilling pattern. This corresponded to the first stage of definition, where exploration drilling had identified the continuity of mineralization (mining block 4).

 

 

 

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Inferred Resources corresponded to estimated blocks in areas where exploration drilling had been completed on a 91.4 m by 91.4 m drilling pattern (i.e., mining blocks 5 and 6).

Three different search ellipses were used for grade interpolation for the three categories, depending on the density of information.

Mining factors were applied before the final resource estimation was produced. Stopes were designed and only the blocks inside the stopes were compiled for resource estimation. For mining blocks 1, 2 and 3, the Measured Resources can then be transferred directly into Proven Reserves as shown in Table 6-4.

For blocks 4 and 5, the stope maximum dimensions were 24.4 m by 24.4 m using the cemented paste backfill mining method. In the resource estimation, there was no associated dilution in the modelling of the stopes, although a 5% dilution at zero grade has been added to the resource estimate. As all the Indicated Resources of blocks 4, 5, and 6 were above economic cut-off, they were transferred into Probable Reserves (Belzile, 2009). RPA notes that no resources were estimated for mining blocks below Block 6 in 2009.

 

 

 

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TABLE 6-4 IAMGOLD 2009 MINERAL RESERVE ESTIMATE

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Category

   Block No.    Tonnage
(Kt)
     Nb2O5
Grade (%)
     Metal
Recovery (%)
     Yield
(kg /t)
 

Proven

   Block 1      1,405         0.51         57.53         2.91   
   Block 2      3,203         0.56         57.60         3.2   
   Block 3      5,694         0.6         58.73         3.54   
   Block 4      1,065         0.64         57.06         3.63   

Total Proven

     11,367         0.58         58.11         3.38   

Probable

   Block 4      11,747         0.59         59.92         3.55   
   Block 5      385         0.57         56.48         3.24   

Total Probable

     12,133         0.59         59.81         3.54   

Total Proven + Probable

     23,500         0.59         58.99         3.46   

Source: Belzile, 2009

 

 

 

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7 GEOLOGICAL SETTING

REGIONAL GEOLOGY

The Saguenay region is underlain by Grenville Province rocks of the Canadian Shield. It is characterized by high-grade metamorphic terranes and deep-level thrust stacks along ductile shear zones and are analogous to a Himalayan-style collisional orogen. The Grenville Province extends for more than 2,000 km and ranges from 300 km to 600 km wide. During the Grenvillian Orogeny (1.08 Ga to 0.98 Ga) extensive crustal thickening and tectonic extrusion lead to widespread high grade metamorphism. Large anorthosite massifs and coeval batholiths of margerite-charnockite-granite and, frequently, layered mafic intrusives mark periods of post-orogenic emplacement. Post-Grenvillian carbonatite intrusions like the Saint-Honoré and Sept-Îles are host to niobium, and ilmenite and apatite deposits, respectively (Corriveau et al., 2008).

The rocks of the Saguenay area were divided by Dimroth et al. (1981) into three distinct litho-structural units. Unit one constitutes a gneiss complex that is divided in three Groups based on increasing structural complexity from the youngest to the oldest. These are:

 

   

Group I which comprises rocks that have been migmatized and deformed during the Hudsonian Orogeny (1.74 Ga).

 

   

Group II which is composed of post-Hudsonian rocks they may have been emplaced during a periods of non-orogenic felsic magmatism.

 

   

Group III rocks which comprised dykes of granite and amphibolite that generally parallel anorthosite contacts.

The second unit is comprised of anorthosite and charnockite-mangerite batholiths with well preserved igneous structures and textures. Anorthosite emplacement likely commenced during pre-Grenvillian crustal extension and continued through until post-Orogeny but the timing of the final intrusion is uncertain.

Unit three is characterized by calc-alkaline intrusions that cross-cut the host rocks and contains superior amphibolite facies mineralogy. Tectonic extension at the beginning of the Paleozoic incorporated normal faulting, updoming, and igneous alkaline activity, and resulted in the formation of the St. Lawrence River Rift system. The emplacement of this

 

 

 

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third unit included the intrusion of the SAC, which hosts the Niobec mine, around 650 Ma based on potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating (Belzile, 2009). The SAC is situated along the Saguenay Graben, a 250 km long and 25 km to 40 km wide structure that extends from the St. Lawrence River near Tadoussac to the Lac St.-Jean district (Figure 7-1). Geology in the vicinity of the SAC comprises anorthosite, syenites and magnetic diorite gneiss (Hatch, 2001).

Shales and limestones found in the vicinity of Saint-Honoré are thought to be the result of a marine transgression during the Ordovician period (about 470 Ma). Overlying the deposit are limestone and dolomite of the Trenton group. Up to 75 m thick, this unit is quarried in nearby Saint-Honoré (Belzile, 2009).

 

 

 

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FIGURE 7-1 REGIONAL GEOLOGY

Source: IAMGOLD

 

 

 

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PROPERTY GEOLOGY

The SAC, the host to the Niobec Mine, is elliptical in plan view with a north-south trending major axial length of four kilometres and covers approximately 12 km2 in area. It is comprised of a series of crescent shaped lenses whose age and composition vary with proximity to the core. The outer edge is composed of calcite that gets progressively younger inward through dolomite to ferro-carbonatite and is shown in Figure 7-2.

Three main lithologic units are present on the property. These are:

 

   

An elliptical carbonatite core that includes:

 

   

An excentric core composed of brecciated to massive dolomite and ankerite contains up to 4.5% rare-earth elements (REE) such as cerium, lanthanum, and europium in fine-grained bastnaesite.

 

   

Ring dykes or cone sheets of barren to low-grade niobium and REE-bearing dolomite.

 

   

High-grade niobium (greater than 0.4% Nb2O5 ) dolomites and calcites in the southern portion of the core bordered with massive, red, altered dolomite.

 

   

A ring dyke of phlogopite calcite at the northern extremity of the core.

 

   

A belt of variable thickness composed of pyroxene calcite at the southern extent of the core.

 

   

A circular outer ring containing feldspathic and feldspathoidal alkaline rocks.

 

   

A triangular body of garnet syenite and cancrinite (a Na-Ca-Al-silicate and carbonate mineral) that lies at the extreme southeast part of the complex.

The two main niobium zones are subvertical and lenticular in shape and vary in lithology. Foliated and often brecciated dolomites and calcites alternate with more massive dolomites that contain red ankerite alteration. The foliated and brecciated unit is host to pyrochlore, the most prevalent niobium mineral, while the massive unit is less mineralized. The lenses measure up to 300 m in length, vary in width from 10 m to 80 m, cover a total area of approximately 600 m by 800 m, and are, generally, oriented concentrically around the core of the pluton. Minor northeast trending structures appear to have cut the lenses, post-mineralization. These mineralized zones are limited to the south by a ring dyke composed of massive fine-grained dolomite containing chlorite, pyrite and magnetite (Hatch, 2001).

 

 

 

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The complex is surrounded by magnetite diorite gneisses as well as hypersthene syenite that have been subjected metasomatic alteration from the emplacement of the carbonatites (Belzile, 2009).

 

 

 

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FIGURE 7-2 PROPERTY GEOLOGY

Source: IAMGOLD

 

 

 

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8 DEPOSIT TYPES

A carbonatite is an igneous rock comprising at least fifty percent carbonate minerals. Globally, occurrences are sparse, typically small and widely distributed. Carbonatites usually occur as small plugs within zoned alkalic intrusive complexes, or as dykes, sills, breccias, and veins. Nearly all carbonatite occurrences are intrusives due to the unstable nature of carbonatite lava flows which react quickly in the atmosphere and have been poorly preserved. Carbonatites are almost exclusively associated with continental rift-related tectonic settings. However, they also occur in oceanic crust and have been recognized in compressional fold belts (Belzile, 2009). They are typically associated with under saturated igneous rocks that are nearly peralkaline but any rock type, including intrusives or metamorphic rocks can host these complexes (USGS, 2009).

Pyrochlore, bastnaesite, monazite, baddeleyite, and bornite mineralization are important components in some carbonatites because they carry niobium, REE, and other metals in concentrations high enough for economic extraction.

Carbonatites range in age from Archean to Recent (USGS, 1995). A summary of these is shown in Table 8-1.

TABLE 8-1 GLOBAL CARBONATITE DEPOSITS BY AGE RANGE

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Age Range (Ma)  

No. of

Deposits

 

Global Percentage

(%)

 

Summary

Tonnage (Mt)

 

Percentage of

Global Tonnage

(%)

From

 

To

       

10.4

  100   15   24   4,831   37

101

  265   16   26   2,553   22

344

  520   6   10   1,295   11

558

  680   11   19   1,310   11

1010

  1400   7   12   1.038   9

1655

  2047   3   5   978   9

no date

  2   4   194   1
               

Total

  60   100   11,749   100

Source: USGS, 2009

 

 

 

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Constituent carbonate minerals, in order of decreasing abundance, include calcite, dolomite, ankerite, and rarely siderite and magnesite. Carbonatites are greatly enriched in niobium, REE, barium, strontium, phosphorus, and fluorine, and relatively depleted in silicon, aluminum, iron, magnesium, nickel, titanium, sodium, potassium, and chlorine. Sodium- and potassium-rich carbonate minerals have been confirmed at only one locality: the active volcano Oldoinyo Lengai in Tanzania. The extreme differences in mineralogy is thought to be due to the strong fractionation that occurs between the silica and oxide solid phases and the carbonate liquids while the carbonate liquids are separating from their source.

Typical non-carbonate minerals in carbonatites are apatite, magnetite, phlogopite or biotite, clinopyroxene, amphibole, monticellite, perovskite, and rarely olivine or melilite. Secondary minerals produced by alteration of primary magmatic minerals include barite, alkali feldspar, quartz, fluorite, hematite, rutile, pyrite, and chlorite.

Carbonatites yield a variety of mineral commodities, including phosphate, lime, niobium, REE, anatase, fluorite, and copper. Agricultural phosphate fertilizer is the single most valuable product derived from carbonatites; most is obtained from apatite concentrations that develop in lateritic soils during tropical weathering. Lime for agriculture and for cement manufacture is obtained from carbonatites in regions where limestones are lacking (Belzile, 2009).

 

 

 

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9 MINERALIZATION

This section is derived from Belzile (2009).

Recognized minerals species at Niobec include carbonates (65%), oxides (magnetite, hematite) (12%), silicates (11%), apatite (10%), sulphides (1%), fluorite, barite and zircon (1% collectively).

Bi-pyramidal niobium minerals, primarily pyrochlore, are disseminated throughout the carbonatite and are generally associated with geological units rich in magnetite, biotite and apatite (typically units C3b, C3c and C3a). Niobium minerals are between 0.2 mm to 0.8 mm in diameter and rarely visible. Contacts are gradational and cannot be visually determined by mineralogy. Diamond drill core assays are the only way to delineate mineralization zones.

The mineralization is defined in terms of percentage of Nb2O5 , with the mineralized lenses broadly delineated using a cut-off of 0.35% Nb2O5 on vertical sections spaced every 15.2 m. Lenses 101 and 102 are localized in the northern portion of the deposit. The mineralization in this area is characterized by hematite alteration that appears to reduce in intensity with depth. Lenses 206 and 208 occur in a more calcite-rich carbonatite with syenite xenoliths.

The economic mineralization is formed of ferrian- and sodic-pyrochlore. Metallurgical recovery, which can vary from 30% to 70%, is greatly influenced by the mineralogical characteristics of the rock type, alteration and type of mineralization.

Mineralized envelopes, oriented north-south, vary between 45.7 m and 182.9 m in width and extend up to 762.0 m in length. Dips are generally vertical or steeply dipping (greater than 70°) to the northwest or northeast. These zones have been defined vertically for at least 731.5 m and remain open at depth. Based on data from the deepest completed drill holes, the grades of mineralization at depth are equivalent to those currently being mined.

 

 

 

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Average grades of the large mineralized envelopes are between 0.44% Nb2O5 and 0.51% Nb2O5 . Mine workings are concentrated between the 91.4 m level and 442 m levels, operating simultaneously on three mining blocks. The majority of the Mineral Reserves and the Measured and Indicated Resources are located in the four first mining blocks between the 91.4 m level and 563.9 m level. The bulk of the Mineral Resources classified as Inferred are exclusively found in mining blocks 4 to 8, below the 563.9 m level.

 

 

 

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10 EXPLORATION

Exploration at Niobec is concentrated within the carbonatite complex as there is no known occurrence of niobium outside of it. As the mineralization is not visible, exploration is carried out using diamond drilling and all the core is assayed for Nb2O5.

The focus of past exploration has been to extend the known mineralization to depth and increase the mine life. To date, the exploration has enjoyed annual success in delineating new Resources and Reserves year as detailed in Table 10-1. Mineralization remains open at depth and there is good future potential to increase resources.

REE EXPLORATION

Original exploration efforts in the area discovered a geological unit on the mine property that hosts an occurrence of REEs such as cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, praseodymium, samarium, dysprosium, and europium. Located approximately one kilometre north of the existing infrastructure it underwent preliminary evaluation in 1985 but was not pursued at the time due to unfavourable market conditions.

In 2010, IAMGOLD began to re-assess the previous work by conducting mineralogical studies on historic core specimen. Results were sufficiently encouraging that IAMGOLD planned a four hole surface diamond drilling program to confirm previous geological information and obtain fresh samples for testing.

At the time of RPA’s site inspections in March 2011, the surface diamond drilling program was underway but no work was being conducted at the time. Results are pending and RPA cannot offer any opinion regarding adequacy.

 

 

 

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TABLE 10-1 HISTORICAL RESERVES AT NIOBEC MINE

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Year

 

Mt

 

% Nb2O5

1976

  7.1   0.7

1977

  6.3   0.69

1978

  6.9   0.69

1979

  7.0   0.65

1980

  9.4   0.66

1981

  11.9   0.66

1982

  11.8   0.66

1983

  11.4   0.66

1984

  10.7   0.66

1985

  10.9   0.66

1986

  11.1   0.66

1987

  10.9   0.66

1988

  11.0   0.65

1989

  10.8   0.66

1990

  10.1   0.66

1991

  10.2   0.66

1992

  10.3   0.66

1993

  9.9   0.66

1994

  9.2   0.67

1995

  8.4   0.67

1996

  11.8   0.73

1997

  11.4   0.73

1998

  10.5   0.73

1999

  10.2   0.73

2000

  11.5   0.73

2001

  18.1   0.68

2002

  23.8   0.65

2003

  22.6   0.65

2004

  24.3   0.66

2005

  21.5   0.67

2006

  19.8   0.66

2007

  16.4   0.62

2008

  23.5   0.59

2009

  32.1   0.57

2010

  45.7   0.53

Source: IAMGOLD

Notes:

Reserves reported prior to February 1, 2001, pre-date NI 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

 

 

 

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11 DRILLING

Most of the drilling at the Project was done by independent contractor Forage Major Kennebec Ltée. (Major Kennebec) of Thetford Mines, Québec, using an air powered drill. In 2010, Major Kennebec was replaced by Boreal Drilling Ltd., another independent drilling contractor, of Val d’Or, Québec, which employs electric drills that offer more range, in terms of drill depth and angle, and the ability to drill BQ-size core.

Diamond drilling is a primary method of exploration at Niobec. Initially, holes are drilled on approximately 91.4 m by 91.4 m spacings that are reduced to 45.7 m by 30.5 m for zone interpretation as results warrant. For stope design and to increase confidence in the location of the mineralization, final drilling is done on 22.9 m by 15.2 m intervals. Most holes were drilled using AQ-size (27 mm dia.) core with some longer holes drilled using BQ-size (36.4 mm dia.) core. Due to the restrictions of the air-powered equipment, inclined holes could not exceed +45° in dip or 91.4 m in length and flat or downward dipping holes could not exceed 198.1 m in length.

Holes are designated based on order of planification and there is no distinction in numbering between exploration and definition drill holes. Hole numbers range from S-1 to S-3556 as of December 31, 2010. RPA notes that there are breaks in sequence of hole numbers so the total number of holes in the database is 3,525.

All holes are designed by the mine’s geology department and information such as location, azimuth, dip and special instructions are noted on a drill hole plan. The holes, generally, are drilled on mine section with azimuths of 180° and 360°. Definition holes are used to outline stope blocks based on a designated cut-off that is informed by recovery and dilution inputs. These inputs are based on mining and metallurgical recoveries and measured against mine reconciliations.

Collar are located by the mine’s survey department who also delineate the azimuth of the hole with front sights and back sights. The dip of the hole is determined by using a degree rule. Periodic checks are done by the survey department to ensure proper alignment of the drill and dip of the drill head.

 

 

 

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Due to the small diameter of the AQ-size drill holes, dip deviation was checked using acid tests at 30.5 m or 45.7 m intervals. In 2010 the use of a Flexit Reflex EZ-AQ orientation tool was implemented to check both azimuth and dip deviations. RPA notes that magnetite is present in the rocks at Niobec and that drill hole orientation readings may not be accurate. IAMGOLD personnel also report that efforts are being made to acquire a gyroscopic orientation tool to ameliorate any magnetism issues that might affect readings. IAMGOLD personnel also report that drill hole intersections are located, where possible, in excavated stopes and the new information is used to update and adjust the drill hole database. In RPA’s opinion, because of the density of drilling and the efforts made to correct any errors based on observation of intersections in stopes, any deviation in the drill hole orientation will have negligible impact on the estimation of Mineral Resources.

Once retrieved from the core barrel the core is placed in sequential order in core boxes labelled with the hole number. Each run, usually 3.05 m, is identified by a wood block on which the depth of the hole is marked. At the end of each shift, core boxes are transported to surface by the drill contractor via the mine shaft.

Some, but not all, drill holes are located upon completion by the survey department. RPA is of the opinion that all drill holes should be surveyed. All holes are sealed using an aluminum plug (P 187) and tests are performed to ensure the plugs are firmly set.

IAMGOLD reports that, despite the small core diameter recoveries are very good, exceeding 95%.

RPA inspected an UG drill station and found it to be orderly and well configured for its intended purpose. The drill was not active due to electrical issues but the equipment was found to be industry standard. RPA notes the above industry-standard safety modifications that have been applied to the equipment to protect its operators.

Drill hole planning is based on exploration and production history at Niobec. Past positive reconciliations provide confidence in the geological model and the diamond drilling, as the primary means of defining that model, have well established orientations that reflect the true width and orientation of the mineralization. A summary of all diamond drilling at Niobec to December 2010 is shown in Table 11-1.

 

 

 

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RPA found the geological data at Niobec to well organized and competently managed. In the opinion of RPA, diamond drilling is planned and executed in manner that is consistent with industry standards and that information derived from these programs are adequate for use in an estimation of Mineral Resources.

TABLE 11-1 HISTORIC EXPLORATION AND DEFINITION

DRILLING AT NIOBEC MINE TO 2010

IAMGOLD Corp. – Niobec Mine

 

Year

 

Total Length (ft.)

 

Total Length (m)

1976

  41,059   12,515

1977

  39,396   12,008

1978

  57,310   17,468

1979

  73,913   22,529

1980

  85,283   25,994

1981

  85,365   26,019

1982

  78,317   23,871

1983

  36,444   11,108

1984

  57,880   17,642

1985

  49,116   14,971

1986

  58,209   17,742

1987

  40,900   12,466

1988

  42,226   12,870

1989

  31,481   9,595

1990

  36,550   11,140

1991

  40,481   12,339

1992

  38,780   11,820

1993

  49,567   15,108

1994

  35,280   10,753

1995

  24,005   7,317

1996

  16,404   5,000

1997

  11,456   3,492

1998

  39,884   12,157

1999

  53,172   16,207

2000

  52,012   15,853

2001

  45,909   13,993

2002

  51,156   15,592

2003

  44,946   13,700

2004

  32,471   9,897

2005

  59,221   18,051

 

 

 

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Year

 

Total Length (ft.)

 

Total Length (m)

2006

  40,288   12,280

2007

  40,315   12,288

2008

  41,765   12,730

2009

  54,859   16,721

2010

  56,972   17,365
       

Total

  1,642,392   500,601

 

 

 

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12 SAMPLING METHOD AND APPROACH

DRILL CORE SAMPLING

Estimation of Mineral Resources at the Project are based exclusively on the diamond drill core sampling conducted by the mine’s geology personnel.

The core is brought to surface, via the shaft, by the contract diamond drillers and deposited at the core shack. The core boxes are brought into the core shack, opened, and laid out on logging tables by IAMGOLD personnel. It is measured, for core recovery purposes, and then logged for Rock Quality Designation (RQD). RPA notes that RQD measurements were designed for NQ-size (47.6 mm dia.) core and are likely to be underestimated with the smaller diameter core. Notwithstanding its smaller diameter, the AQ-size core recovery at Niobec generally exceeds 80% and should improve with the move to BQ-size core.

Core is then logged by trained geological personnel for lithology, mineralogy, alteration and structure. Percentages of magnetite, hematite, biotite, apatite, pyrite, ankerite and fluorite are routinely noted. Niobium mineralization is very fine-grained and difficult to distinguish. No core photographs were taken prior to 2010 when that procedure has been implemented.

A nominal sample length of 3.05 m has been accepted as the norm. When judged to be geologically appropriate, the sample interval can be shortened. The logging geologist notes start and end of each sample interval and assigns a rock code based on the lithology and mineralogy of that interval. This rock code along with other factors, like the silica and iron contents, which are derived from assaying, influence the predicted metallurgical recovery. These factors, in turn, influence the Mineral Resource estimate.

These data are recorded in Gemcom GEMS Logger, off-the-shelf third-party software. Earlier exploration and definition drilling had these data recorded on paper and later entered into the Logger program. RPA has inspected the Niobec GEMS database and notes some drill holes are missing lithological data. These omissions were brought to the attention of Niobec geology staff and corrected.

 

 

 

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Once the intervals have been established by the logging geologist, the whole core is sampled. Core is broken, as necessary, to make sampling more manageable but no reference core remains after selection. Each specimen is placed in a plastic bag along with the tag that bears the unique, assigned sample number. The samples are then delivered to the on-site laboratory by geology personnel. The empty core boxes are returned UG to be used again.

Historically, specific gravity (SG) measurements have been routinely taken at Niobec. In 2010 an additional 53 measurements were added to the dataset. The new data did not cause any change in the accepted values. The density of the rock varies by location within the deposit with Zones 101 and 102 having a value of 2.92 t/m3 and Zones 206 and 208 have a value of 2.78 t/m3. The historic data comprises readings from the upper part of the deposit and more SG data will be required for deeper mineralized zones.

RPA inspected the core logging facility and found it to be in good order and adequately configured for its intended purpose. It is, however, quite small and limited in its ability to handle large volumes of core. A new, larger, core logging facility has been designed and will be built to better accommodate increased core volumes. RPA notes that a pre-manufactured SG station, comprising an ultrasonic water bath and electronic balance, is located in the core facility.

RPA agrees that the approach used to plan, locate, log and sample drill holes is reasonable and, in RPA’s opinion, gives an adequate representation of the mineralization.

GRADE CONTROL SAMPLING

Grade control at Niobec is based on muck samples. On average, there are six active headings per day. Muck sampling is not done by a geologist but by UG truck drivers at a rate of one sample per shift. Samples are delivered to the shaft and brought to surface by UG personnel. These samples are retrieved by laboratory staff and subject to the same analyses and drill core with results returned within 36 to 48 hours and used for production reconciliation.

Grade control samples were not used in the estimation of Mineral Resources at Niobec.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

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13 SAMPLE PREPARATION, ANALYSES AND SECURITY

The core is stored in secure wooden boxes and transported from UG to surface, by independent contract personnel, where possession is assumed by IAMGOLD personnel. The core is logged and whole-sampled in the core shack. Samples are then taken, by mine employees, to the on-site assay laboratory for analysis. The minesite is fenced and employs closed circuit video cameras and around the clock security personnel. In the opinion of the RPA, the premises are reasonably secure and the chain of custody protocols employed are adequate.

Sample preparation and assaying are conducted by IAMGOLD personnel at the on-site mine laboratory. The Niobec laboratory is certified ISO 9001 and all working procedures are written in detail. IAMGOLD reports that internal and external audits are regularly performed.

Samples are received, weighed and crushed until 90% of the sample passes -8 mesh (2.38 mm). Samples average approximately four kilograms of which two kilograms are retained and the remainder discarded. From the two kilogram sub-sample a 100 g split is taken and pulverized to 80% passing -325 mesh (44 µm) from which a one gram aliquot is taken for analysis. The remaining crushed sub-sample is retained for metallurgical testing and stored separately.

Prepared samples are dissolved in a borate flux at high temperatures which results in homogeneous bead. This bead is then analyzed using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) for Nb2O5 , SiO2, MgO, P2O5, Fe2O3 , CaO, MnO, TiO2, ZrO2 and Al2O 3. While Nb2O5 is the only component of economic interest, the other components are used to estimate potential metallurgical recovery and to assist in ore blending to optimize Project economics. These factors, especially metallurgical recovery, impact the estimation of Mineral Resources.

As part of the Niobec laboratory’s internal quality control/quality assurance (QA/QC) protocols Certified Reference Materials (CRM) are assayed to confirm the precision and accuracy of determinations. Results are plotted on control charts and reviewed. Where discrepancies are noted actions are taken to ameliorate any issues. Calibration of equipment is done using CRM that have been tested at independent laboratories. External QA/QC protocols are reviewed in Section 13.

 

 

 

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RPA inspected the Niobec laboratory and found it to be in good order, adequately configured for its intended use, and staffed by well-trained personnel. In RPA’s opinion, sample preparation and analysis method are appropriate for the mineralization and the laboratory QA/QC procedures are adequate. RPA did not inspect the laboratories data management system. Assay results are kept electronically and reported to the Geology department in digital format. Hard copies of assay certificates are available upon request.

 

 

 

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14 DATA VERIFICATION

ASSAY QA/QC

The insertion of blanks and independent CRMs into the sample stream is not currently part of the QA/QC protocol at the Project. Since whole-core is sampled, there is no opportunity for core duplicate analyses. QA/QC procedures at Niobec consist of internal checks using Internal Reference Material and running duplicate analyses on second samples derived from both pulps and coarse rejects. These internal pulp and reject duplicate assay checks comprise approximately 20% (10% each) of the determinations conducted at the Niobec laboratory. Results are reviewed using statistical control charts and actions are taken when discrepancies are found in the data.

PULP DUPLICATE ASSAYS

Every tenth submitted sample, i.e., those with a sample numbers ending in “0” (zero), has a duplicate analysis run from a second split from the original pulp. The original and duplicate determinations were plotted on control charts and reviewed. RPA has inspected the results for the 577 duplicate assays done for Nb2O 5 and concludes that correlation between analyses is excellent. The graphical results are shown in Figure 14-1.

 

 

 

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FIGURE 14-1 PULP DUPLICATE ASSAYS

LOGO

RPA plotted these duplicate results on a relative difference (Thompson-Howarth) plot and inspected the data for indications of bias. No bias was observed. The results are presented in Figure 14-2.

 

 

 

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FIGURE 14-2 RELATIVE DIFFERENCE (THOMPSON-HOWARTH) PLOTS

FOR PULP DUPLICATE ASSAYS

LOGO

COARSE REJECT DUPLICATE ASSAYS

Every tenth submitted sample, i.e., those with a sample numbers ending in “5” (five), has a duplicate analysis run from a second split from the original coarse reject. These duplicates were taken to help assess a minor change to the sampling protocol that was initiated in 2010. The change resulted in samples terminating at geological boundaries rather that extending across them in an effort to normalize sample lengths to 3.05 m.

The original and duplicate determinations were plotted on control charts and reviewed. RPA has inspected the results for the 577 duplicate assays done for Nb2O5 and concludes that, as with the pulp duplicates, correlation between analyses is excellent. The graphical results are shown in Figure 14-3.

 

 

 

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FIGURE 14-3 REJECT DUPLICATE ASSAYS

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No bias was observed in the assay data when RPA plotted the duplicate results on a relative difference (Thompson-Howarth) plot. The results are presented in Figure 14-4 and are, predictably, more scattered than pulp duplicate assays.

 

 

 

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FIGURE 14-4 RELATIVE DIFFERENCE (THOMPSON-HOWARTH) PLOTS

FOR REJECT DUPLICATE ASSAYS

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INDEPENDENT SECOND LABORATORY PULP DUPLICATE ASSAYS

As a check of the Niobec laboratory, 103 pulp duplicates were shipped to COREM Laboratories (COREM) of Ste.-Foy, Québec, an ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited laboratory, for analyses. The results of the second analyses, again, showed excellent correlation with the original assays and are shown in Figure 14-5.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

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FIGURE 14-5 SECOND LABORATORY PULP DUPLICATE ASSAYS

LOGO

When the relative differences between the two sets of results were plotted by RPA a mild bias was revealed. Original assay results from the Niobec laboratory return, generally, slightly higher grades than those from COREM. RPA notes that the differences are minor and will have no significant impact on the estimation of Mineral Resources. IAMGOLD should, however, investigate the cause of the bias. Results are shown in Figure 14-6.

 

 

 

        IAMGOLD Corporation – Niobec Mine

        Technical Report NI 43-101 - June 17, 2011

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FIGURE 14-6 RELATIVE DIFFERENCE (THOMPSON-HOWARTH) PLOTS

FOR SECOND LABORATORY PULP DUPLICATE ASSAYS

LOGO

Assay sample reanalysis shows excellent correlation between original and pulp duplicate, and reject duplicate, samples. RPA recommends, however, the introduction of blanks and independently derived CRM into the sample stream to further increase confidence in the assay data. RPA also recommends external laboratory checks on sample rejects in addition to sample pulps.

SAMPLE DATABASE

The data from the Niobec mine resides in a Gemcom GEMS v6.0.1 database MODĖLE_DEC_2006 that is maintained by IAMGOLD personnel. RPA carried out a number of database validation and verification checks on both historic and new data. RPA notes that a significant part of the data pre-dates NI 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. The database contains 3,525 diamond drill holes with a total of 15,436 downhole and collar surveys and 164,177 drill sample records. .

 

 

 

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VALIDATION

Gemcom GEMS software contains validation routines that were run on selected tables in the database. No discrepancies were noted in the data required for Mineral Resource estimation and only minor discrepancies were noted in other, less critical, data. These minor discrepancies were corrected prior to the Mineral Resource estimation.

VERIFICATION

The Niobec database contains records for 3,525 drill holes and comprises, primarily, collar, survey, lithologic, assay and RQD data. There is a well established history of production and positive reconciliations between the geological model and mill output at Niobec. In RPA’s opinion, a program of spot checking the database is sufficient to establish its adequacy and appropriate for confirming its use in the estimation of Mineral Resources.

Collar, lithology and survey tables were checked against hard copy diamond drill logs and found to be error free. Both early holes, logged on paper, and later holes, logged electronically and printed out, were inspected to confirm that both forms of data input were adequate. RPA notes that drill holes prior to 2007, i.e., those logged on paper and later input manually, do not have associated dates in the in the database.

The assay database comprises 164,177 sample records as to December 31, 2010. RPA inspected this database and notes the following errors:

 

   

A total of 71,307 samples in the database without sample numbers.

 

   

A total of 319 assays with duplicate sample numbers.

 

   

A total of 248 assay intervals in excess of 6.10 m, with 73 of those possessing non-zero values for Nb2O5.

 

   

A total of 871 samples with zero value for Nb2O5 .

Using electronic versions of assay certificates RPA imported 2,006 sample results and compared them against the database results for Nb2O5, SiO2, P2O5 and Fe2O3 for a total of 8,024 determinations evaluated. One sample assay comprising four determinations was found to be erroneous with values in the database lower than those reported from the laboratory. RPA notes that a large number of samples in the database do not have sample numbers and, as such, could not be verified using assay certificates.

 

 

 

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In the opinion of RPA minor errors will have little effect on the global grades and that the database is adequate for use in the estimation of Mineral Resources. RPA notes that the presence of zero grade values in the Nb2O5 field of the assay database will result in a more conservative estimation of Mineral Resources and recommends database corrections to improve accuracy.

INDEPENDENT SAMPLING

Since no drilling was taking place during the time of the site inspection, and since drill core is whole-sampled with no reference core retained, RPA was not able to take independent samples for verification. Given the long history of production at Niobec RPA does not consider the lack of independent sampling to be an issue.

UNDERGROUND INSPECTION

An UG inspection was conducted on March 22, 2011 by RPA personnel. Numerous mining levels were visited and open stope mining was observed to be in progress

RPA has conducted verification checks on assays, collars, downhole surveys in addition to validation checks on the database and inspection of QA/QC results. In RPA’s opinion the database is reasonably sound and adequate for use in the estimation of Mineral Resources.

 

 

 

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15 ADJACENT PROPERTIES

SHIPSHAW PROPERTY

Located seven kilometres from Niobec, DIOS Exploration Inc. (DIOS) has recently discovered a satellite carbonatite complex on its Shipshaw property. Drill testing has identified a circular low magnetic geophysical feature that is coincident with a topographic bedrock low below the overburden. This topographic low is possibly related to a fault zone associated with the Shipshaw River. The airborne geophysical survey that resulted in the discovery of the Niobec Mine did not cover the area underlying the Shipshaw property, but a later, federally sponsored, magnetic survey was done over the DIOS ground.

In June 2010, DIOS announced the results of assays from its drill program that returned grades of 0.053% Nb2O5 over 1.5 m with 12% P2O5 and 0.487% total REE oxides (excluding yttrium and zirconium) (TREO). Early drill results indicate that the syenite horizon was intersected by drilling within 20 m of surface and contained strontium and high apatite grades (DIOS, 2010a).

DIOS entered into a letter of offer from IAMGOLD to participate in a C$1.2 million private placement in common shares of DIOS at C$0.35 per share. As a consequence, IAMGOLD is granted an exclusive option to enter into an Option and JVA to earn 60% of DIOS’ interest in the Shipshaw property within two years (DIOS, 2010b).

CREVIER PROJECT

Located approximately 70 km north-northwest of Saguenay, Québec, the niobium-tantalum mineralized Crevier property comprises 186 contiguous claims covering 10,416.5 ha in Crevier and Lagorce townships. Discovered by SOQUEM in 1975, the property was transferred to Cambior in 1986 as part of the privatization of its assets. IAMGOLD acquired the project in 2006 with its acquisition of Cambior and, in 2008, vended it to Les Minéreux Crevier Inc. (Crevier) for C$500,000 and 2 million shares of Crevier. In 2010 MDN Inc. (MDN) acquired part of Crevier and now controls 72.5% of the company, with IAMGOLD holding the remaining 27.5%.

 

 

 

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The igneous alkaline complex, covering approximately 2,500 ha, is found within gneissic Grenville Province rocks along the Waswanipi-Saguenay corridor, a major structural lineament that also hosts the Ste.-Honoré carbonatite. The zone of niobium-tantalum mineralization is located in the southern part of the Crevier alkaline intrusive and is associated with a northwest striking, steeply northeast dipping, porphyritic nepheline syenite dyke. The dyke is approximately 3,000 m long with an average thickness of 20 m and hosts pyrochlore mineralization to a depth of 300 m.

In 2009, SGS Geostat Ltd. (SGS Geostat), using a 0.1% Nb2O5 cut-off grade, prepared a NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource estimate. SGS Geostat estimated Indicated Mineral Resources to be 25.8 Mt at 0.186% Nb2O5 and 199 ppm Ta2O5 , and Inferred Mineral Resources at 16.9 Mt at 0.162% Nb2O 5 and 204 ppm Ta2O5 (SGS, 2009). A preliminary economic assessment prepared by Met-Chem Canada Inc. of Montreal, Québec, recommended bulk mining the deposit at a rate of 4,000 tpd (Bureau, 2010).

RPA has been unable to verify the information, and that the information is not necessarily indicative of the mineralization on the property that is the subject of the technical report.

 

 

 

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16 MINERAL PROCESSING AND METALLURGICAL TESTING

MINERAL PROCESSING

The process utilized at Niobec was first developed from pilot plant programs. Over the years, the process has evolved with the mill operating team. The ROM ore is crushed to 100% passing 1 1/2 in. and fed to rod mills, ball mills, and classification circuits where the ore is ground to 80% passing 180 µm. The ore is deslimed in two stages of cycloning, and the underflow is sent for conditioning prior to carbonate flotation. The carbonate concentrate is sent to the tails. The carbonate flotation rougher and cleaner tails are cycloned in two stages to change the process water and then sent to the pyrochlore rougher flotation. The rougher concentrate is sent to five stages of cleaner cells. This is followed by pyrite flotation to remove the sulphides leaching with hydrochloric acid to remove phosphorus and then followed by drying to produce a concentrate with less than 0.1% moisture before being converted into ferroniobium.

Since 2000, three major expansions have been completed to increase the ferroniobium production. The main goals of these expansions have been to maintain Niobec’s worldwide market share and to reduce the ore cut-off ratio by having a higher throughput. They have also contributed to the delay of the development of the fourth block, which requires a significant investment and increase in the Mineral Reserve as unit operating costs decrease. Table 16-1 summarizes Niobec’s production rate since 1998.

 

 

 

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TABLE 16-1 NIOBEC MINE FeNb PRODUCTION (1998 TO 2010)

IAMGOLD Corp. - Niobec Mine

 

Year

 

Throughput

(tph)

 

Tonnage

(Mt)

 

Head grade

(% Nb2O5)

 

Metallurgical

Yield (kg/t)

 

Production

(000’s kg Nb2O5)

 

Production

(000’s kg FeNb)

1998

  97.4   817,500   0.69   4.01   3,286   3,300

1999

  96.3   818,017   0.71   4.12   3,372   3,464

2000

  108.6   906,741   0.66   3.60   3,267   3,263

2001

  134   1,103,390   0.71   4.12   4,550   4,548

2002

  146.5   1,215,500   0.69   4.05   4,920   5,095

2003

  153.5   286,156   0.70   3.81   4,905   5,071

2004

  157.8   1,334,065   0.71   3.85   5,131   5,185

2005

  173.5   1,449.10   0.66   3.75   5,436   5,674

2006

  193.1   1,607,000   0.66   3.84   6,165   6,338

2007

  195.5   1,618,330   0.65   3.92   6,337   6,516

2008

  213   1,787,560   0.62   3.58   6,400   6,672

2009

  210   754,946   0.61   3.55   6,230   6,231

2010

  225   1,863,630   0.61   3.46   6,452   6,588

ORE CHARACTERISTICS

The unusual, heterogeneous mineralogy of the deposit makes milling and research a capital intensive undertaking. The deposit contains at least two dozen minerals but, at the present time, only two of them are of economic interest. These are pyrochlore (Na,Ca)Nb2O6 F and columbite (Fe,Mn)(Nb,Ta)2O6. They are unequally distributed throughout the carbonate ore. Typical mineral composition of the ore is shown in Table 16-2.