Since its first successful exploration project in Mali, West Africa in 1988, IAMGOLD has ceaselessly fuelled its growth momentum. The company's five profitable gold mines and pipeline of development and exploration projects in Canada, West Africa and South America position IAMGOLD among the leading mid-tier gold companies. With more than 13 million ounces in gold reserves, the company's gold assets portfolio - Rosebel mine in Suriname, South America, Essakane, Sadiola and Yatela mines in West Africa, and Doyon Division in Canada - produced nearly one million ounces of gold last year. IAMGOLD's ability to build successful mines from the ground up, such as Essakane, led to the development of the Westwood mine in Canada, slated to come on stream next year. IAMGOLD is prioritising growth through organic expansion. The company will invest HK$13.97 billion over the next three years to expand production at its existing gold mines. "We can deliver increased rates of return for shareholders by leveraging our infrastructure and the expertise of our people to expand in and around existing mines," says Steve Letwin, president and CEO. Diversified in expertise, IAMGOLD owns Niobec in Quebec, one of only three major niobium producers worldwide. Niobec produced 4.6 million kilograms of niobium last year. Following confirmation in February this year of a more than 600 per cent increase in niobium reserves, the company is embarking on a significant expansion project to triple annual production. A primary use of niobium is to strengthen and lighten the weight of steel. Demand for niobium has grown at a compound annual rate of 10 per cent in the past decade. IAMGOLD foresees a continued surge in demand, particularly from the vehicle manufacturing sector as fuel efficiency and environmental-friendliness become major concerns. IAMGOLD declared an inferred 467 million-tonne rare-earth element resource this year. Located one kilometre north of its Niobec mine, the deposit's proximity to existing infrastructure and deep water ports with ocean access provide IAMGOLD with a speed-to-market advantage. "We are bringing a lot of hidden value to the surface. It's all about unlocking value," Letwin says. Giving back to the community is a priority for IAMGOLD. Corporate Knights magazine ranked IAMGOLD first in the mining industry among Canada's Best 50 Corporate Citizens last year. "We have a strong record of corporate social responsibility. The health, safety and sustainability of the communities where we work are key. We target zero accidents, zero harm. It's a fundamental foundation of our company's values and culture," Letwin says.