Plans are moving ahead for a new mining project in the region.

IAMGOLD president and CEO Stephen Letwin says construction on the new mine near Gogama will begin next year, bringing a great economic impact to the area. Letwin says the open pit mine is expected to produce an average of 320,000 ounces of gold per year over an initial 17-year lifespan when it starts production in 2021. He says this project will also create about 400 full-time mining jobs and over 1,000 construction jobs. The Cote Mine will house the open pit, mining operations, as well as a camp for employees to stay while working on site.

He says there has been about a six-week delay on the project. Letwin says it’s always a concern with a project this size that it won’t move along as quickly as the company wants it to. One of the delays has been a drop in gold prices. Letwin says the dip in price below¬†$1,200 is a concern, but the commitment to the project is still strong. “When the gold price dips like this and you put that price against the project it tests it, but our commitment is there, we have every plan to move ahead and we have not changed our thinking.” He adds that costs become a big issue if the price of gold drops.

Letwin says if need be the company will ask other businesses for help, but he doesn’t anticipate that happening. “We’re pretty positive about. If we run into problems, we may need your help,” he says, “We all saw what happened to the Trans Mountain Pipeline. We’ve seen what’s happened to big projects in this country. I don’t want that to happen to our project.”

Letwin says even with some ongoing concerns, he still believes in the project, even if others don’t. He says this project is great because it has a great team and it will be located in an area with lots of infrastructure. “We aren’t building a new hydro line, we have an extension, there are two railways close by, we are close to the highway, we’re not in the middle of the Congo. We are surrounded by people, it’s an area where there is a history of mining.” He says there are a lot of pluses, “so that’s why I’m confident.”

The Cote project is estimated to bring $9-billion of economic activity to the north during the mine’s operation.