June 18, 2009 / 12:19 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-Iamgold raises 2009 production forecast

* Sees 2009 gold production of 910,000 to 920,000 ounces

* Sees 2009 cash costs of $460 and $470 per ounce

* Shares up 1 percent premarket (Adds details on outlook, background, share activity; All figures in U.S. dollars, unless noted)

TORONTO, June 18 (Reuters) - Canada’s Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO) (IAG.N) raised its 2009 gold production forecast on Thursday, citing productivity increases at its Rosebel mine and the extended life of its Doyon mine.

Iamgold now projects production of about 910,000 to 920,000 ounces of gold, up from a prior forecast of 880,000 ounces. The Rosebel mine is in Suriname, South America. The Doyon mine is in Quebec, Canada.

Toronto-based Iamgold expects cash costs to average between $460 and $470 per ounce for the full year of 2009, a decrease of $10 per ounce over its prior view.

The company said it expects capital expenditures for the full year 2009 of about $448 million, of which about $153 million has been spent as of May 31.

“We will continue to pursue opportunities to optimize our operations and development projects for the remainder of 2009,” said Iamgold’s Chief Executive Joseph Conway in a statement.

Iamgold is a mid-tier gold producer with annual gold production averaging close to a million ounces. The company has over a dozen mines, exploration projects and development projects spread across North America, South America and Africa.

Earlier this week, Iamgold increased the probable reserves estimate at its 90-percent owned Essakane gold project in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

The company increased the probable reserves at the site by 8 percent, or 245,000 ounces, to 3.37 million ounces of gold.

However, Iamgold lowered its 2009 niobium production forecast from its Niobec mine, in Quebec, due to lower grades and recoveries at the mine.

The company now expects niobium production of about 4,200 to 4,400 tonnes for 2009, which is slightly below prior expectations. Niobium is primarily used in the production of high-grade structural steel.

Iamgold’s shares have risen nearly 60 percent year-to-date on the New York Stock Exchange, largely due to the relative strength in the price of gold, as investors view the precious metal as a safe haven amid turbulent markets and a hedge against inflation.

The company’s U.S.-listed shares rose 1 percent to $9.75 in trade before the morning bell on Thursday. ($1= $1.13 Canadian) (Reporting by Euan Rocha, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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