SUDBURY -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford were in northern Ontario Friday morning for the ground-breaking ceremony of the new Cote Gold mining project near Gogama.

Gordon Stothart, president and chief executive officer of IAMGOLD, opened the ceremony with welcoming remarks and acknowledged the location to be on the traditional territories of the Mattagami and Flying Post First Nations.

Mattagami First Nation Chief Chad Boissoneau then gave a prayer giving thanks. Ray Murray, chief of Flying Post First Nation, said it was a big day for residents in the community.

"It's great for our First Nations, for our kids, when we tell them to go to school, they've got a place to come to go to work," Murray said. "You know, our elders are going to be taken care of. My mind has just been racing ever since four o'clock this morning."

In his remarks, the prime minister said the Cote Gold project is an example for others to follow.

"The way IAMGOLD has worked with Indigenous communities is a model that we certainly would see in many places across the country," Trudeau said. "We'd like to see it in more places across the country, but that's something that needs to be worked on."

Ford said the project is a win-win for the community and the province.

"Ontario is one of the mining leaders in the entire world and as long as we all work together it's going to be great for everyone in Ontario, and especially great for the Indigenous community," the premier said.

They were joined by a list of politicians, including Ontario cabinet ministers Greg Rickford, Minister of both Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs, and John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

After eight years of planning, IAMGOLD received approval to begin construction July 21 for the open-pit mine at Cote Lake in Chester and Yeo Townships, near Gogama, 130 kilometres southwest of Timmins and 200 kilometres northwest of Sudbury.

Stothart said the mine will be productive as soon as it's up and running.

"The first six years, the operation on a 100 per cent basis will be producing around 470,000 ounces on an annual basis," he said. "Over the 18-year life, I think the average is 370,000 ounces, so it's a lot of gold."

It will take three years and around $900 million to build, with more than 1,300 jobs created during construction. The lifespan of the mine is expected to be 16-18 years and is projected to add an estimated $10 billion to the provincial economy and $5 billion in wages, including 450 permanent, full-time jobs.