Inuit groups say they’re happy about Agnico Eagle’s TMAC purchase
“Agnico Eagle has a track record of success in Nunavut”
Two regional Inuit associations in Nunavut say they’re happy about Agnico Eagle’s impending acquisition of TMAC Resources Inc.
TMAC is operator of the Hope Bay gold project southwest of Cambridge Bay.
In one statement, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, which controls most of the land the sprawling Hope Bay project sits on, said it is “optimistic and supportive.”
“Agnico Eagle has a track record of success in Nunavut,” said president Stanley Anablak. He added he’s happy a mature mining company will assume control of Hope Bay.
At the same time, he said that to succeed, the project will require effort from Inuit, the federal government and Agnico Eagle.
The Kitikmeot association, which represents Inuit living in five western Nunavut communities, holds some shares in TMAC and has negotiated an Inuit impact and benefit agreement with the company.
In another statement, the Kivalliq Inuit Association, which has worked closely with Agnico Eagle for years on the Kivalliq region’s Meadowbank and Meliadine gold projects, offered congratulations.
“The KIA recognizes AEM [Agnico Eagle Mines] as a global leader in the gold mining business and we are excited about what this will mean for all Inuit in Nunavut and especially for our regional counterparts in the Kitikmeot,” said the Kivalliq association’s president, Kono Tattuinee.
Under the deal, announced Jan. 5, Agnico Eagle will pay $286 million to acquire all of TMAC’s outstanding shares.
Agnico Eagle has also promised to pay down all of cash-strapped TMAC’s outstanding debt, which amounts to about $170 million and was due July 1.
The TMAC-Agnico Eagle agreement, which will come before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for approval Jan. 20, rescues a project that appeared to be in deep trouble.
Last May, Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd., owned by the People’s Republic of China, agreed to buy TMAC through a “plan of arrangement” that won the approval of an overwhelming majority of TMAC’s shareholders.
But the federal government, following a national security review, put the kibosh on the Shandong deal late last December.
At the Ontario court proceeding later this month, the two companies will ask a judge to substitute Agnico Eagle for Shandong within the plan of arrangement.
Agnico Eagle has been active in Nunavut since 2007.
The Hope Bay goldfield is roughly 80 kilometres long and 20 kilometres wide. It’s located on the Nunavut mainland about 65 kilometres east of Bathurst Inlet, 150 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay and 700 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.
TMAC says the property likely contains at least 5.1 million ounces of gold, with an additional 2.1 million ounces at a lower level of certainty.