GOLD MINING: Agnico-Eagle in seemingly unstoppable growth mode

TORONTO — Agnico-Eagle Mines set a quarterly gold production record for Q2 2009, thanks to the Lapa (Que...





TORONTOAgnico-Eagle Mines set a quarterly gold production record for Q2 2009, thanks to the Lapa (Quebec) and Kittila (Finland) gold mines reaching commercial production. Second quarter gold production was 119,053 oz, up 76% over Q2 2008. Total cash costs were US$326 per oz.


Gold production will continue to increase as the Pinos Altos (Mexico) project comes on-stream in Q3 2009 and the Meadowbank (Nunavut) project in Q1 2010. Together, these two new mines will add an estimated 500,000 oz to Agnico-Eagle's annual gold output.

Nor does the pace of growth appear to be slowing any time soon.


Shaft sinking at the LaRonde Extension (Quebec) is nearing completion with production from the deepest portions of the mine to being in late 2011.


The Goldex (Quebec) mine has reached design capacity, 160,000 oz per year through 2017. Consequently, Agnico-Eagle has earmarked US$10 million to expand production from this mine to 173,000 oz/y beginning in 2011.


A scoping study is underway at Kittila with the goal of increasing production there.


The Pinos Altos project has poured its first gold from the heap leach operation. Meanwhile, construction of a mill is nearing completion, and underground development is going forward. Consideration is also being given to boosting the mill capacity to 6,000 t/d from 4,000 t/d.


Nearby the Agnico board has approved construction of a stand-alone open pit and heap leach for the Creston Mascota deposit 10 km from Pinos Altos. The new pit will add 46,000 oz/y to the company's bottom line.


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