Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut February 23, 2018 - 3:29 pm

After a profitable 2017, Agnico Eagle forges ahead in Nunavut

Whale Tail pit at Amaruq satellite operation gets green-lit by Ottawa

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Agnico Eagle workers with core samples taken from the company's highly promising Amaruq property, about 64 km from its operation at Meadowbank in the Kivalliq region. The Nunavut Impact Review Board has recently received federal government approval to issue a project certificate for the Whale Tail pit project, the development of which will mark the start of commercial production at Amaruq next year. (PHOTO COURTESY OF AGNICO EAGLE)
Agnico Eagle workers with core samples taken from the company's highly promising Amaruq property, about 64 km from its operation at Meadowbank in the Kivalliq region. The Nunavut Impact Review Board has recently received federal government approval to issue a project certificate for the Whale Tail pit project, the development of which will mark the start of commercial production at Amaruq next year. (PHOTO COURTESY OF AGNICO EAGLE)

After enjoying another profitable year in 2017, Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. is ahead of schedule in constructing its Meliadine gold mine near Rankin Inlet and nearly ready to start work on its highly promising Amaruq satellite mine near Meadowbank, the company’s latest financial statements said.

“We are excited to transition into a larger production base in Nunavut next year. We have also built a platform to drive further production growth beyond 2020,” David Smith, Agnico Eagle’s senior vice president for finance and chief financial officer, said in a news release last week.

That “larger production base” will include the Meliadine gold mine near Rankin Inlet, under construction since February 2017.

Meliadine was originally scheduled for start-up in the third quarter of 2019.

But the company now expects Meliadine will now start some time in the second quarter of that year, roughly three months ahead of schedule.

Also last week, Agnico Eagle received a green light from Carolyn Bennett, the minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, for its Whale Tail pit project, which is part of the company’s proposed satellite mining operation at its Amaruq property near Meadowbank.

Bennett, and other relevant federal cabinet ministers, have accepted a recommendation from the Nunavut Impact Review Board, which held a public hearing on Whale Tail last year, that the project be approved with multiple terms and conditions.

The next step for that project is its water licence application with the Nunavut Water Board, which will look at how to minimize or eliminate arsenic contamination in seepage water from a planned waste rock storage facility at the Whale Tail open pit.

“The other responsible ministers and I are confident that the remaining uncertainty related to these arsenic-related water quality issues will be addressed by the Nunavut Water Board,” Bennett said in a letter to the NIRB.

Bennett also said the Kivalliq Inuit Association registered “no outstanding concerns” about the NIRB’s assessment of the Whale Tail project.

Agnico Eagle expects to receive a water licence and other required permits by the middle of this year and conventional open pit mining at Whale Tail will start in the third quarter of 2019, the company said.

At the same time, the company will start transitioning from ore production at Meadowbank to ore production at the Amaruq satellite mine.

That satellite operation is connected to the company’s existing facility at Meadowbank by a 64-kilometre road that was completed in August 2017. The company will use it to haul ore from Whale Tail to its Meadowbank processing plant.

As for Meadowbank, in 2018 and 2019 the company will extend production from two existing open pits and also use stockpiled ore to feed its processing plant.

The Whale Tail project is the first to be developed at the Amaruq satellite property. In the future, they plan to exploit other deposits in the area.

“Other satellite deposits, such as the V Zone, are expected to be included into the mine plan pending receipt of additional permitting,” Agnico Eagle said.

At Meliadine, the company estimates a proven and probable mineral resource of 3.7 million ounces of gold.

But they also estimate additional potential resources at a lesser degrees of certainty: 3.1 million ounces in indicated resources, plus an inferred resource of 2.1 million ounces.

“In addition, there are numerous other known gold occurrences along the 80-kilometre-long greenstone belt that require further evaluation,” the company said.

In February 2017, Agnico Eagle announced that it will spend $1.2 billion to develop Amaruq and Meliadine, and that these two projects mean the company will be involved in the Kivalliq region for decades.

For the year 2017, Agnico Eagle, which operates mines in Finland, Mexico and northern Canada, reported net income of $243.9 million, or $1.06 per share, up from net income of $158.8 million, or 71 cents per share reported for 2016.

“We set a new annual production record while recording the fewest number of lost time accidents, and we also increased our gold reserves,” Sean Boyd, Agnico Eagle’s chief executive officer, said when releasing the company’s financial statements.

As of mid-day, Feb. 23, the company’s shares were trading at $50.04 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

  180215-16MN056, Ministers Decision, Re: NIRB Final Hearing Report by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd

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