Nunavut miner churns out record amount of gold

Two new Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. operations have entered commercial production.

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Haul tracks are seen at Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank mine at shift change. The company reports that it has produced a record amount of gold over the past three months. Meadowbank’s deposit is no longer being mined, but the mine’s infrastructure is now being put to work processing gold from the nearby Amaruq satellite deposit. (Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. / Flickr via Nunatsiaq News)

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. produced a record amount of gold over the past three months, thanks to its Meliadine mine in Nunavut hitting its stride.

The company’s third-quarter earnings show a net income of $76.7 million. That’s up from $17.1 million over the same period last year.

The company’s net income for the first nine months of 2019, meanwhile, is $141.5 million, up from $67 million one year ago.

Agnico Eagle’s first Nunavut mine, Meadowbank, is also receiving a new lease on life, now that its Amaruq satellite deposit began commercial production earlier this month. Ore is being hauled about 50 kilometers from Amaruq to Meadowbank’s existing processing facility.

Meliadine achieved commercial production in May. The company says that since the new mine is already able to process more than its expected capacity of 3,750 tonnes per day, it’s looking to accelerate the mine’s expansion by two years.

“With record performance at several of our operations and the ongoing ramp up of our two new mines in Nunavut, we achieved record quarterly gold production in the third quarter of 2019. As expected, this strong result, combined with the completion of the extensive construction spending program in Nunavut, resulted in the generation of substantial free cash flow in the quarter,” said Sean Boyd, Agnico Eagle’s chief executive officer, in an Oct. 23 news release.

“With the expectation of growing production and strong free cash flow generation, we are in a good position to continue to invest in our project pipeline, improve our financial flexibility and grow our dividend. We are pleased to announce a 40 percent increase in our quarterly dividend.”

Agnico Eagle has nudged up its production estimates for 2019, to between 1.77 million and 1.78 million ounces of gold, up from 1.75 million ounces of gold.