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Agnico Eagle continues to focus on growth – CEO

Agnico Eagle's Meliadine mine in Nunavut.

Agnico Eagle's Meliadine mine in Nunavut.

27th October 2023

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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There is one narrative that remains constant for Canadian gold miner Agnico Eagle and that revolves around a commitment to foundational growth.

This narrative stems from Agnico Eagle’s pursuit of growth on a per-share basis, with a focus on optimising return on capital and risk-adjusted return on capital, CEO Ammar Al-Joundi said on Thursday.

Speaking on a conference call, he highlighted five foundational points that shape Agnico Eagle’s future endeavours.

The first is the Detour gold mine, in Ontario, where the company is working towards a target of one-million ounces a year by expanding the mill capacity and increasing the grade.

The company is targeting 28-million tonnes a year and is working on opportunities to go even beyond that. Prior to a transformer failure in the third quarter, Detour was on track to achieve 27-million tonnes a year and the mill availability was hovering at about 92%.

Agnico Eagle is also assessing the underground potential of Detour, with results expected to be published in the first half of next year.

The second pillar is transitioning Canadian Malartic, in Quebec, from being Canada’s biggest openpit mine, to the biggest underground mine through the Odyssey project. Canadian Malartic has been around for 100 years and in the last four years, 15-million ounces of resources have been added to it.

Al-Joundi reported that production at Odyssey had ramped up to 3 300 t/d, just short of its target of 3 500 t/d by 2024. “The ramp development is well ahead of schedule and the shaft is down now to 130 m,” he reported.

The third item is consolidation in the Abitibi, which has been a “singular focus for the team”. The company is conducting internal studies to assess potential production opportunities at the Macassa Near Surface (NSUR) and Amalgamated Kirkland (AK) deposits, as well as the Upper Beaver and Wasamac projects.

Among the alternatives considered, the company is evaluating the potential to transport ore via rail or truck to the LaRonde and Canadian Malartic processing facilities, which are expected to have excess mill capacity in the future.

The NSUR and AK deposits are accessible from an existing surface ramp at Macassa. Average yearly production from these two deposits could potentially be between 20 000 oz and 40 000 oz of gold, starting in 2024.

The company is also assessing the potential economic benefits of transporting and processing the ores from the Upper Beaver and Wasamac projects at either the LaRonde or Canadian Malartic processing facilities. Both Upper Beaver and Wasamac have the potential to be low-cost mines with production of 150 000 oz/y to 200 000 oz/y of gold and initial production potentially starting in 2030 and 2029, respectively. 

Agnico Eagle would provide guidance next year on specifics, detailing which projects it would pursue, said Al-Joundi.

The fourth pillar is the miner’s continued investment in its operations, with Macassa Shaft #4, in Ontario, recently commissioned.

Finally, the group continues to achieve “exceptional” exploration results, said Al-Joundi, noting that the Hope Bay project, in Nunavut, remained a focus area of the group’s exploration activity.

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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