Canadian gold-miner Iamgold Corp. (NYSE: IAG, TSX: IMG) increased its 1st quarter net earnings by 205% year-on-year, to $34,4-million, lifted by higher gold prices and an increase in output.
Iamgold produced 234,000 ounces of gold during the quarter, compared with 219,000 ounces one year ago, and realized an average gold price of $899 an ounce, 39% higher than in the same period of 2007.
Production costs increased to $476 an ounce, from $416 an ounce in the year-ago period, mainly owing to increased royalty costs because of the higher gold price and weaker US dollar. However, the effects of higher fuel prices were reduced by "operating efficiencies", the firm said.
Iamgold, which reported a 17.5% decline in gold reserves over 2007, spent $16.7 million on exploration and development during the quarter.
Iamgold is faced with the challenge of either discovering or buying additional gold resources and reserves, if it is to replace output from several aging mines and take better advantage of record gold prices.
The company has also run into difficulties at two of its planned projects this year, after the French government said it would not issue a permit for the firm’s Camp Caiman project, in French Guiana, and Ecuador’s constitutional assembly approved a mandate earlier this month, halting work on most mining projects in the country for as long as 180 days.