(Adds capex spending details, background, share milestone)
* Nearly doubles 2012 capex to $880 mln
* Plans to use capex for mine expansions, Westwood ops
Jan 16 (Reuters) - Iamgold Corp said on Monday its quarterly gold production fell about 20 percent, but the Canadian company nearly doubled its capital spending for 2012.
The company’s gold production for the fourth quarter came in at 253,000 attributable ounces, compared with 315,000 attributable ounces a year ago.
Toronto-based Iamgold set a capex budget of $880 million for 2012. In 2011, the projected budget was $460 million.
The mid-tier gold mining company plans to use the 2012 capex budget for expansion of its Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso and Rosebel gold mine in Suriname.
The company also plans to use the budget for continued development of the Westwood gold project in Canada. It expects production there to start in the first quarter of 2013.
In 2011, Iamgold produced 4.6 million kilograms of niobium within the guidance range of $15 to $17 per kilogram, compared with 4.4 million kilograms produced at an average margin of $18 per kilogram in 2010, it said in a statement.
The company expects attributable gold production for 2012 to be 840,000 to 910,000 ounces at a cash cost of $670 to $695 per ounce, it said in a statement.
Iamgold also expects to produce 4.6 million to 5.1 million kilograms of niobium in 2012 at a margin of between $15 and $17 per kilogram.
The company, which has mines in Canada, South America and Africa, said it expects annual attributable gold production for 2013 and 2014 to be in the range of 1 million to 1.1 million ounces, helped mainly by the planned startup of the Westwood mine.
Shares of Iamgold, which have lost about 16 percent of their value over the last three months, were flat at C$17.30 in early trade on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Shounak Dasgupta in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)