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2022 Was A Transformative Year for Agnico Eagle’s Operations in The Abitibi Gold Belt

Feb 22, 2023

Agnico Eagle Mines reported financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2022, as well as future operating guidance.

In the fourth quarter of 2022 and throughout 2022, Agnico Eagle delivered solid operating performance in a challenging cost and workforce environment. The company had strong production and cost control, increased mineral reserves and mineral resources, progressed expansion projects and delivered the best safety performance in the company's 66-year history. 

The year also saw important strategic acquisitions aimed at furthering Agnico Eagle's core strategy of consolidating positions in premier mining jurisdictions, with the integration of Kirkland Lake Gold, and the announced acquisition of Yamana Gold's Canadian assets (including the other half of the world-class Canadian Malartic mine).

Operations delivered in the fourth quarter despite challenging cost environment – Payable gold production1 in the fourth quarter of 2022 was 799,438 ounces at production costs per ounce of $834, total cash costs per ounce2 of $863 and all-in sustaining costs ("AISC") per ounce3 of $1,231. (All amounts expressed in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted).

Quarterly unit costs were affected by the impact of inflationary pressures at the Nunavut and Kittila operations and lower production at LaRonde, Kittila and Pinos Altos. Solid quarterly financial results – The company reported quarterly net income of $0.45 per share in the fourth quarter of 2022, with adjusted net income4 of $0.41 per share. Operating cash flow was $0.84 per share.

"It was a transformational year for Agnico Eagle. The merger with Kirkland Lake Gold and the pending acquisition of Yamana's Canadian assets will result in the consolidation of the Abitibi Gold Belt, one of the best gold regions in the world, and positions us well to continue to grow and create value for all our stakeholders for years to come,” said Ammar Al-Joundi, Agnico Eagle's President and Chief Executive Officer.  

“ In 2023, our focus will be on optimizing and growing Detour Lake and Canadian Malartic and on establishing a plan to capitalize on existing infrastructure, including our excess mill capacity, in the Abitibi region of Quebec, with the potential to produce up to 500,000 ounces of gold per year by the end of the decade," added Al-Joundi.

"From a safety and operational standpoint, 2022 was another strong year as we had our best safety performance in our 66 year history, we met production forecasts and managed our costs in a highly inflationary environment," Al-Joundi noted.

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Agnico recorded annual gold production and operating cash flow resulting from solid operational performance across the recently integrated asset portfolio – payable gold production in 2022 was 3,135,007 ounces at production costs per ounce of $843, total cash costs per ounce of $793 and AISC per ounce of $1,109. 

Including the full year of production from the legacy Kirkland Lake Gold mines, which were acquired on February 8, 2022, total payable gold production in 2022 was 3,280,731 ounces at production costs per ounce of $821, total cash costs per ounce of $780 and AISC per ounce of $1,090, in line with the mid-point of 2022 production guidance and slightly above the top end of the cost guidance announced in February 2022.

Gold mineral reserves increased to a record level – Year-end 2022 gold mineral reserves increased by 9% to 48.7 million ounces of gold (1,186 million tonnes grading 1.28 grams per tonne ("g/t") gold).  The year-over-year increase in mineral reserves is largely due to significant additions at Detour Lake as well as successful conversion of mineral resources at several other operations.  At year-end 2022, measured and indicated mineral resources were 44.2 million ounces (1,178 million tonnes grading 1.17 g/t gold) and inferred mineral resources were 26.3 million ounces (311 million tonnes grading 2.63 g/t gold).

The acquisition of Yamana's Canadian assets expected to close in March 2023, leading to continued consolidation of the Abitibi gold belt. The pending acquisition of Yamana Gold's Canadian assets is subject to regulatory approvals.  Following the closing, Agnico will own 100% of the Canadian Malartic mine, 100% of the Wasamac project located in the Abitibi region of Quebec and several other exploration properties located in Ontario and Manitoba.  

The Yamana transaction further solidifies Agnico’s presence in the Abitibi gold belt, a region of low political risk and high geological potential, where the company has a strong competitive advantage from having operated there for over 50 years.  With the acquisition, Agnico’s production in the Abitibi gold belt is forecast to be approximately 1.9 million ounces to 2.1 million ounces of gold per year through 2025.

2023 and Expected Future Highlights – Optimizing Detour Lake, Canadian Malartic, and Leveraging Existing Infrastructure
In 2023, Agnico Eagle will focus on optimizing its expanded strategic positions in the Abitibi Gold Belt region of Ontario and Quebec, with the aim of increasing profitable production.  Agnico will evaluate opportunities to leverage existing infrastructure which has the potential to significantly increase future gold production at lower capital costs and a reduced environmental footprint.  If realized, these opportunities have the potential to deliver increased capital returns with reduced execution and operating risk.

Detour Lake Mine – Mill expansion activities progressed as planned in 2022.  These activities, combined with strong operational performance, resulted in record annual gold production of 732,572 ounces for the full year 2022, which the Company believes makes Detour Lake the largest gold mine in Canada. 

 In 2023, the focus remains on optimizing mill processes and improving runtime to achieve, and potentially surpass, 28.0 million tonnes per year ("Mtpa") throughput.  Continued exploration success in 2022 resulted in the addition of 5.6 million ounces of gold in mineral reserves to 20.7 million ounces of gold (850.4. million tonnes grading 0.76 g/t gold) and 3.2 million ounces in measured and indicated mineral resources to 18.5 million ounces of gold (731.5 million tonnes grading 0.79 g/t gold) compared to December 31, 2021. 

In 2023, exploration is expected to focus on extending mineralization to the west and establishing an initial underground mineral resource in order to support potential underground mining operations.  Later in 2023, the Company expects to provide an update on the pathway to potentially increase production to one million ounces of gold per year.
Odyssey Project – Underground development remains on schedule with initial production and start of shaft sinking expected in March 2023.  Delineation drilling of the internal zones at Odyssey South in 2022 showed potential to add production in 2024 to 2026.  

Exploration in 2023 is expected to focus on further testing of the internal zones, expanding the East Gouldie Zone to the east and west and mineral resource conversion.  Drilling will also be carried out to test other near surface and underground opportunities to leverage excess mill capacity and infrastructure.

Optimization of assets and capital infrastructure, including excess mill capacity in the Abitibi region of Quebec:
At Canadian Malartic, Agnico expects to have up to 40,000 tonnes per day ("tpd") of excess mill capacity starting in 2028.  
At the LaRonde Complex, the Company could have up to 2,000 tpd of excess mill capacity at the LaRonde Zone 5 ("LZ5") mill circuit starting in the second quarter of 2023. 

 By maximizing the mill throughput in the region, the Company believes there is potential to increase future gold production at lower capital costs and a reduced environmental footprint, which could also be beneficial to facilitating the permitting process.  Additional production could begin at approximately 20,000 ounces in 2024 which will use this excess capacity and has the potential to increase up to approximately 500,000 ounces of gold per year by 2030.  Potential future sources of ore could include:
- Macassa near surface deposits and the Amalgamated Kirkland ("AK") deposit
- Upper Beaver and other Kirkland Lake satellite deposits
- Wasamac project.

Gold production guidance shows 7% estimated growth through 2025 when compared to 2022 gold production – Annual payable gold production is forecast to grow from 3.28 million ounces in 2022 (full-year basis) to an expected range of approximately 3.40 to 3.60 million ounces in 2025. Payable gold production for 2023 is forecast to be approximately 3.24 to 3.44 million ounces (substantially unchanged from prior three-year guidance issued on February 23, 2022. 

Agnico’s 2023 production and costs guidance assumes 50% ownership of Canadian Malartic for the first three months of 2023 and 100% ownership for the last nine months of the year. The addition of nine months of 100% production from Canadian Malartic and improvements in Amaruq's production profile compared to Previous Guidance are offset by revisions to the mine plans at LaRonde, Fosterville, Kittila and Pinos Altos.  

Payable gold production is expected to increase to approximately 3.35 to 3.55 million ounces in 2024 and 3.40 to 3.60 million ounces in 2025.  There is potential to add between 30,000 to 80,000 ounces of annual gold production starting in 2023, subject to the resolution of permits and noise restrictions at Kittila and Fosterville, respectively.

Unit cost forecasts reflect the expectation of inflationary cost pressures in 2023 and lower costs in 2024 and 2025 – Total cash costs per ounce and AISC per ounce in 2023 are forecast to be $840 to $890 and $1,140 to $1,190, respectively.  This compares to the Previous Guidance range of $725 to $775 and $1,000 to $1,050, respectively. The expected cost increases in 2023 are mostly related to inflationary pressures on labour, electricity, fuel and consumables. The Company expects some easing on input costs to occur later in 2023 and, combined with increased gold production, unit costs are expected to be lower in 2024 and 2025.

2023 capital expenditures are forecast to be in line with 2022 – Capital expenditures in 2023 (excluding capitalized exploration) are forecast to be approximately $1.42 billion, which is in line with Previous Guidance of $1.41 billion.  Development capital expenditures5 are forecast to decrease to approximately $616.0 million in 2023, as a result of the substantial completion of several major development projects in 2022.  Sustaining capital expenditures5 are forecast to increase to $799.6 million in 2023, as a result of additional capital expenditures at Canadian Malartic (which includes 100% ownership for the last 9 months of 2023), higher deferred stripping costs at Detour Lake and Amaruq and overall inflationary cost pressures.

Pipeline projects continue to advance – The Company has a number of advanced stage projects in the pipeline and the current focus is on how to advance these projects to production in a cost efficient and environmentally friendly manner.  Highlights include:

-AK and Near Surface Deposits at Macassa – These deposits are accessible from an existing surface ramp at Macassa.  Production from the Near Surface deposits are expected to begin in 2023.  Production from the AK deposit could potentially begin in 2024. Alternatives to process these ores at the LaRonde Complex, which is approximately 130 kilometres away, and avoid capital costs associated with a mill expansion at Macassa are under review.  Average annual production from these two deposits could potentially be 20,000 to 40,000 ounces of gold, commencing in 2024.

-Upper Beaver Project – Upper Beaver has the potential to be a low-cost mine with the Company modelling scenarios with annual production of 150,000 to 200,000 ounces of gold with moderate capital outlays.  The Company believes initial production could potentially commence in 2029.  Processing scenarios with the potential to reduce initial capital costs are being evaluated, including transporting the ore to the Canadian Malartic mill for processing. An updated technical evaluation of the project is expected to be completed in late 2023.
Wasamac Project – The Wasamac property will be acquired as part of the Yamana Transaction and contains historical mineral reserves of 2.2 million ounces of gold. The Company believes this has the potential to be an underground bulk mining operation with production of up to 200,000 ounces of gold per year.  The Company is reviewing technical aspects of the project with a focus on ore processing at the Canadian Malartic mill, which is expected to reduce the project footprint and capital cost.  An internal evaluation of the project is expected in the fourth quarter of 2023.

-Hope Bay Project – Drilling in 2022 confirmed the potential to upgrade and expand mineral resources at Doris.  Exploration in 2023 will primarily shift to the Madrid deposit to further expand the mineral resources with a focus on defining areas of higher-grade mineralization.  Work continues on evaluating larger production scenarios (targeting 350,000 to 400,000 ounces of gold per year).

About Agnico Eagle
Agnico Eagle is a senior Canadian gold mining company, producing precious metals from operations in Canada, Australia, Finland and Mexico.  It has a pipeline of high-quality exploration and development projects in these countries as well as in the United States and Colombia. Agnico Eagle is a partner of choice within the mining industry, recognized globally for its leading environmental, social and governance practices.  The Company was founded in 1957 and has consistently created value for its shareholders, declaring a cash dividend every year since 1983. For 2022, a quarterly dividend of $0.40 per share has been declared.

For Further Information: 
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Fax: +1 (416) 367-4681

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