Prior to dewatering Côté Lake, a water ceremony was held on September 28, 2019. IAMGOLD, Sumitomo Metal Mining, and Wood representatives joined Mattagami First Nation and Flying Post First Nation members for the ceremony.
The Water Ceremony was significant as it acknowledged the sacrifice being made by the spirit of Côté Lake.
A fire was lit on the lakeshore and the ceremony began with an opening address by Chief Boissoneau of Mattagami First Nation. Ceremony organizer Sue Prince then explained the importance of the day: water is life and women are the carriers of life, and are therefore the ones who care for the water.
Elder Clara Prince performed a ceremony with women from Mattagami First Nation, smudging, saying prayers to the four directions, singing, and playing hand drums. Medicines were offered to the lake. Elder Morris Naveau, the fire keeper, concluded the ceremony then blessed a spirit plate before the feast. Attendees were treated to moose meat, pickerel, and wild rice provided by Mattagami First Nation.
On September 11, 2020, Côté Gold held a ground breaking ceremony to mark the start of construction.
To commemorate this milestone, former IAMGOLD President and Chief Executive Officer Gordon Stothart and former IAMGOLD Chairman and Director Donald K. Charter were joined by Chief Chad Boissoneau of Mattagami First Nation, Chief Murray Ray of Flying Post First Nation, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, along with local Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Parliament.
To ensure no fish habitat is lost due to mining activity at Côté Lake, we are creating a new lake. We invited Mattagami First Nation and Flying Post First Nation to consult with their members on what this new lake should be called. The communities selected a name, and we are now working with the appropriate government bodies to have this officially registered.
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