Suriname and Iamgold sign deal to expand Rosebel gold mine

PARAMARIBO, June 6 Thu Jun 6, 2013 4:19pm EDT

PARAMARIBO, June 6 (Reuters) - Canadian miner Iamgold Corp and Suriname's government signed a deal on Thursday to expand the South American country's Rosebel gold mine and extend a partnership to develop it until 2042.

The mine is one of the Toronto-listed company's biggest, producing 385,000 ounces of gold in 2011. No details were made public, but Iamgold had previously proposed a seven-year program that would cost around $185 million.

Steve Letwin, the company's chief executive officer, told the ceremony the global gold mining business was facing falling prices and rising operating costs.

"Despite the challenges facing Rosebel, I have never been more confident ... due to the strength of our partnership with the government," he said, alongside President Desi Bouterse.

A sparsely populated former Dutch colony on the northeast shoulder of South America, Suriname produces gold and bauxite, which dominates the economy, and has a nascent oil industry.

On Friday, its National Assembly will continue discussing a draft law for a mineral agreement with U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp to develop Suriname's Merian Gold Project.

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