2017 was an exciting year of transformation for IAMGOLD as we achieved milestones that ignited major growth in our development projects. With promising prefeasibility results announced for both our Côté and Boto projects, IAMGOLD is well positioned for strong production growth in the near future. In addition to our project pipeline, we are also committed to increasing our investment in renewable energy to ensure a sustainable future. In addition to the 5 MW solar power plant we installed in 2014 at our Rosebel mine, we commissioned a 15 MW hybrid photovoltaic plant in 2017 near our Essakane mine site. Once operational, this will be the largest fuel/solar plant in Africa and one of the largest in the world. This solar plant will help reduce our fuel consumption by 6 million litres and lower our annual CO2 emissions by around 18,500 tonnes. The project will create 40 new operational jobs and a percentage of the revenue will go towards local development projects. For our Rosebel operations, we are considering other potential investments in renewable energy projects in collaboration with the Surinamese government.
2017 marked a dramatic shift for our Côté Gold project. In addition to the prefeasibility study which yielded positive results and illustrated an economically viable project, IAMGOLD received a positive environmental assessment decision from the provincial government in January 2017and from the federal government in April 2016. We also announced a partnership with Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Metal Mining Inc., Ltd. in June 2017, with IAMGOLD retaining 64.75% and Sumitomo 27.75% of the ownership of the project. This joint venture is an important confirmation of the project’s economic potential as this is Sumitomo’s first investment in Canada in over 50 years. The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) recognized the joint venture with the Viola R. Macmillan Award, given to an individual or organization demonstrating leadership in management and financing for the exploration and development of mineral resources.
Sadly, we had a fatality to report at our Westwood operations. In February 2017, a worker lost his life at the end of his shift when he got stuck between a scoop tram and a remote platform. 2017 also brought its challenges for the health and safety results. Both Total Recordable Incident (TRI) and Days Away, Restricted or Transferred Duty (DART) rates deteriorated compared to 2016 which was our best performance ever accomplished. We ended 2017 with TRI and DART rates of 1.43 and 0.52, respectively, which represents a significant increase from 2016. Our overall Lost Time Incident (LTI) rate for 2017 was 0.29. At the operational level, Rosebel and Westwood faced the most challenges in regards to their health and safety results. Rosebel increased both its TRI and DART rates by 50% and 44%, respectively, from 2016. Westwood also witnessed an increase in its TRI and DART rates by 24% and 77%, respectively, from 2016. Our Essakane operation was the only one to reduce its TRI and DART rates, by 200% and 69%, respectively. IAMGOLD remains committed to health and safety and will work hard to improve and surpass our previous results.
As an organization, we not only take organizational safety seriously, we also promote health and safety in our host communities. We pledged to fund and conduct a national education campaign in Burkina Faso to promote road safety awareness after we lost a contractor to a road accident last year. In Suriname, we spent $250,000 US on medical equipment for local clinics and hospitals including the purchase of a mammography machine, the first and only mammography machine of its kind in the country.
IAMGOLD takes a partnership approach to community relations. Through proactive communications, we engage directly with local communities to help us maximize benefits to them. In 2016, we launched the “Eau et croissance economique durable au Sahel” project, otherwise known as the Triangle d’eau project, with the Government of Canada and Cowater. In 2017, that partnership was expanded to include One Drop as both a funding and implementation partner. The goal of the project is to build sanitation infrastructure and provide access to safe water for two communities reaching a million people. The partnership with One Drop will allow us to leverage its expertise on social art interventions to mobilize, raise awareness, and drive behavioural changes around water, sanitation and hygiene. This project is part of our overall plan to support local economic development. One of the ways we do this is by selling leftover scrap metal from the mine at an auction and then using the revenue to fund local businesses. One such project funded through the “Iron Fund” is a peanut butter production unit run by a group of 11 local women. The unit produces high-quality and affordable peanut butter which serves the needs of residents and local businesses. This is one of 34 projects supported through the fund. The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) recognized the value of this program with the TSM Community Engagement Excellence award for 2018.
Other noteworthy initiatives IAMGOLD has undertaken in 2017: We renewed our partnership with the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative by providing an in-kind donation to the organization. We started the Miner’s Lamp Award in 2016 and, in 2017, we raised over $635,000 towards mental health research. IAMGOLD also committed to an investment renewal for Laurentian University, increasing the initial endowment to $2 million over five years. This investment will allow Laurentian University to complete its new Engineering Building, establish the IAMGOLD scholarship and bursary for undergraduate and graduate students, and renew two fellowships focused on open pit mining and mechanical engineering. Investing in research and education is one of our core values as it aligns with our commitment to Zero Harm.
IAMGOLD is also a proud sponsor and supporter of a number of organizations including Right to Play and the Saint Elizabeth Foundation for which we raised $145,000 and $25,000, respectively, in 2017. We also donated $5,000 to the Red Door Family Shelter last year.
IAMGOLD continually strives to reach the highest standards in human health and safety and to minimize our impact on the environment, while working cooperatively with our local host communities. We believe mining in a responsible manner and being accountable for our actions are at the core of who we are, and we strive to empower everyone who has a stake in our process to play their part. We worked hard in 2017 to improve productivity and optimize performance which will allow us to focus on execution for 2018. As IAMGOLD grows and transforms, we will remain unwavering in our commitment to achieving Zero Harm.
Stephen J.J. Letwin President and Chief Executive Officer
Stephen J.J. Letwin President and Chief Executive Officer
We worked hard in 2017 to improve productivity and optimize performance which will allow us to focus on execution for 2018. As IAMGOLD grows and transforms, we will remain unwavering in our commitment to achieving Zero Harm.
Zero Harm is the vision that guides all operations and activities undertaken by IAMGOLD.
It is our commitment to continually strive to reach the highest standards in human health and safety, minimize our impact on the environment, and work co-operatively with our host communities.