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Protection and

Water Monitoring Programs

Water is a precious resource. Côté Gold is located within the James Bay watershed, so water within our site footprint flows north to the Arctic. IAMGOLD has implemented rigorous management systems to monitor and respond to potential effects in the freshwater environment. Any water in the milling process exists within a closed-loop system to limit consumption and maximize recycling and reuse.

The aquatic monitoring program also verifies predictions from the Environmental Assessment and Environmental Effects Review, supports current and future fisheries authorizations, and provides accurate data on water quality and movement.

Water Monitoring

Surface Waters

  • Water-quality sampling
  • Watercourse hydrology monitoring (lake inflow/outflow measurements)


  • Groundwater quality sampling
  • Water-level measurements

Water Taking and Transfer

  • Water quantity and quality evaluation
Environmental Technicians conducting water testing

Fish and Fish Habitat Monitoring Programs

Image description: Côté Gold environmental team member using fishing net in lake
During construction, crews relocate various aquatic species. Predominant species have included minnows, perch, walleye, and northern pike. Aquatic plants were also transferred to alternative habitats.

The Côte Gold ore deposit is partially located beneath a lake. To compensate for the loss of fish habitat, we are creating another lake and re-aligning water channels.

Comprehensive aquatic habitat evaluations were conducted before construction to understand and inventory the quantity and quality of habitats being altered or removed. We then used this information to develop a plan to create positive contributions to the aquatic ecosystem. This plan was informed by Indigenous and public consultation and was approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

As part of IAMGOLD’s Zero Harm® commitment to minimize our impact on the environment, we developed a comprehensive fish salvage program that transfers live fish to nearby suitable habitats.

Fish Monitoring Programs

Construction Monitoring

  • Monitoring construction projects near water (protection of fish and habitat)
  • Fish salvage (safe relocation of fish from areas impacted by construction)
  • Water monitoring (water-quality monitoring of in-water construction activities to prevent impact on fish until relocation)
  • Avoid disruption to fish spawning and migration

Vibration Monitoring

Blast vibration and over-pressure monitoring (to protect fish and incubating eggs)

Offsetting and Habitat Monitoring

Geomorphic Stability and Habitat Conditions

  • Geomorphic stability (constructed fish habitats are functioning as designed)
  • Fish habitat and habitat structures (quality and quantity)
  • Aquatic and riparian vegetation (stability and functionality assessments)
  • Water quality, level, and flow

Benthic Invertebrate Community Composition and Biomass (Aquatic Organism Diversity and Abundance)

  • Stream sampling
  • Lake sampling

Fish Surveys

  • Streams – fish utilization and abundance
  • Lake – fish utilization and abundance
  • Fish meristics and health

Minimizing Our Impact

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Air Quality and energy efficiency

Image description: Côté Gold environmental team members collecting field data

Noise and Vibration Abatement

Image description: Côté Gold employees in board room reviewing data

Land and Resource Management

Tailings Management

Mines produce ‘tailings’ as a by-product of mineral processing. During this process, mine rock is crushed, water is added to the fine particles, and the valuable metals are separated from the mined rock. The tailings produced in the process are transported as a slurry to a Tailings Management Facility for management and final storage.


Côté Gold’s tailings facility will store tailings produced from processing 203 million tonnes of ore during the life of the mine. Tailings water will be pumped from the reclaim pond directly to the mill for reuse, forming a closed circuit without coming into contact with other water bodies. Collection ditches and ponds will be located at low points around the facility perimeter to collect runoff and seepage for recirculation to the process plant.

Rigorous quality assurance and control measures are in place to support safe design, construction, and operation of the tailings facility. It is designed to include automated monitoring and surveillance technology that allows for real-time, remote data collection and review to verify performance.

Our tailings management is over seen by an Independent Tailings Review Board. This board reviews future tailings management facility design and construction plans and will provide third party review of construction as it progresses. The board consists of industry experts including BGC Engineering, SNC Lavalin, and Knight Piesold.

Image description: aerial view of digital mine site rendering

IAMGOLD has committed to progressive rehabilitation of the Tailings Management Facility with cover soils and native vegetation. Throughout the operations phase, approximately 25% of the facility is expected to be vegetated, creating the potential for self-revegetation and reducing the overall reclamation time during the post-closure phase of the Project.

The tailings facility is subject to ongoing engineering design and optimization that comply with national requirements and international best practices, including: