Agnico Eagle looks at bringing its Nunavut employees back to work
Company reports net income of $511.6 million for 2020
Now that a COVID-19 vaccination program has started in Nunavut, Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. is looking at bringing its Nunavut-based employees back to work sometime this year, the company said last week in its year-end financial report for 2020.
To protect vulnerable Nunavut communities, Agnico Eagle’s Nunavut workers have stayed home since the start of the pandemic last March. The company continues to pay 75 per cent of their salaries.
For the fourth quarter of 2020 — from October to December — that amounted to $3.7 million in pre-tax income for the company’s stay-at-home Nunavut workers.
But this year, as Nunavut’s vaccination program continues to progress, the company is preparing to “re-integrate the Nunavut-based workforce,” Agnico Eagle said.
In addition to its Nunavut operations, Agnico Eagle operates mines in Finland, Quebec and Mexico.
Across all of its operations, the company spent an additional $2.1 million on COVID-19 protection during the fourth quarter of 2020.
This includes spending on five testing centres for its Canadian operations and spending on one testing centre at its Kittila mine in Finland, which has been made available to the municipality of Kittila.
That amount also included the purchase of sanitizing equipment and masks, the company said.
So far, 285 Agnico Eagle workers have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 227 occurred at the company’s mines in Mexico.
But only 12 positive cases have turned up among workers at the company’s Nunavut mines, none of whom are Nunavut residents.
And the COVID-19 pandemic has not hurt Agnico Eagle financially.
For the year 2020, the company reported net income of $511.6 million, up from net income of $473.2 million in 2019.
It attributes that increase primarily to higher average gold prices, the financial report states.
Meanwhile, the company will start production at is Amaruq satellite mine in early 2022. Ore from that deposit will be processed at its existing Meadowbank facility.
As for the Hope Bay gold property, which Agnico Eagle acquired when it bought TMAC Resources earlier this year, the company is suggesting that it will take a go-slow approach to further development of the troubled property, which suffers from a botched processing plant and other problems.
However, Agnico Eagle does plan a “property-wide” exploration program and an evaluation of different mining and milling strategies for the property this year.