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Camp Caiman, French Guiana



The Camp Caiman Project is located in northeastern French Guiana, South America. It is about 45 kilometres southeast of Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana. 

French Guiana has been a French overseas department since 1946, and as such is subject to French and European law.  It is located in northeastern South America, and shares a border with Suriname to the west and Brazil to the east and south.  French Guiana covers an area of approximately 83,500 square kilometres with a population of around 220,000.

The Camp Caiman Project consists of three contiguous exclusive exploration permits covering a total area of 71 km², including the 30 km² mining concession and two adjacent exploration permits: Trésor (20 km²) to the west and Patawa (21 km²) to the east.


The Camp Caiman project is a direct result of the French Guiana’s mining inventory, created by the Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières (BRGM) between 1975 and 1995 for the Ministry of Industry.

The Camp Caiman area was put up for public auction by the French state through the Regional Bureau of Industry, Research and the Environment in 1994. AGF, at the time a subsidiary of the American company Asarco, submitted the winning bid. AGF completed over 55,600 m of drilling between 1996 and 1999, resulting in the identification of two significant primary gold deposits. An initial feasibility study was completed and an application for a 30 km2 mining concession within the exploration permits was filed in April 1999.

In August 2002, Ariane Gold Corp. (Ariane Gold) purchased the shares of AGF through its French Guianese subsidiary, CBJ-France SARL, and its Barbadian subsidiary, Ariane Holdings (Barbados) Inc., for a total of US $16,444,600.  Resource delineation drilling resumed in Steptember 2002. The 1999 environmental impact statement was updated, and a second application for a 30 km2 mining concession was filed on July 23, 2003 with the Direction des Ressources Énergétiques et Minérales( DIREM). On November 29, 2003, Ariane Gold merged with Cambior Inc. and AGF to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cambior. From that point on, Cambior assumed the financial obligations of Ariane Gold and its subsidiaries for payment of the balance of the acquisition.

At June 30, 2005, a total of 140 kilometres of drilling had been completed at Camp Caiman in 1,941 holes, including nearly 82 kilometres of diamond drilling in 713 holes. Of this, nearly 80 kilometres in 1,336 holes were drilled between September 2002 and June 2005 by Ariane Gold and then CBJ-CAIMAN.

IAMGOLD acquired the Camp Caiman Project via the Cambior acquisition in November 2006.


1994 Camp Caiman Project acquired by AGF, subsidiary of Asarco after public auction. 
1999 AGF identifies two significant primary gold deposits and completes a feasibility study.
2002 Cambior acquires the Camp Caiman Project through subsidiary.
2006 IAMGOLD acquires Cambior and its Camp Caiman Project.
2008 The application to begin construction of the project is refused by the French Government in anticipation of a moratorium on all mining and exploration activity.
2009 IAMGOLD initiates litigation against the French Government at the Administrative Tribunal in French Guiana, challenging the improper denial of the Company’s mining permit and seeking compensation for damages in the amount of 275 million Euros. The Company records a non-cash impairment charge of $88.8 million for the net carrying value of the Project.
2010 The Administrative Tribunal orders the French Government to issue a more reasoned permitting decision. The French Government provides more detailed reasons and again denies to issue a mining permit. IAMGOLD files a second permitting appeal.
2012 In February, the Administrative Tribunal dismisses the second permitting appeal and the compensation claim. In May, IAMGOLD appeals the decision to the Administrative Court of Appeal in Bordeaux and increases the compensation claim to 763 million Euros to account for higher gold prices.