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Makuch steps aside as CEO at Agnico Eagle

Feb 24, 2022

Tony Makuch, the man who elevated Kirkland Lake Gold into global mining prominence, is stepping down as CEO of Agnico Eagle, the company that merged with KL Gold in 2021.  

"We built Kirkland Lake Gold by acquiring, developing and operating high-quality assets in good jurisdictions with significant exploration upside," said Makuch.  "Just as important, we built a business based on honesty, integrity, respect for all people and support for communities.  We have culminated all this with the merger of equals with Agnico Eagle and I am very proud to have been involved in creating the third largest global gold producer in the world.  I am leaving Agnico with a strong and dedicated leadership team and I believe they will continue to be successful.  I would like to thank the tremendous team of people at Kirkland Lake Gold for their years of hard work and support in building a truly special company."

Jeff Parr, Vice-Chair of Agnico Eagle and former Chair of Kirkland Lake Gold, said, "We want to thank Tony for his tremendous contribution to the success of Kirkland Lake Gold, building the company into a 1.4 million ounce per year producer with the industry's lowest unit costs and significant growth potential.  Tony's track record for enhancing the value of assets through investment in exploration, development and the optimization of performance is unsurpassed and we know he will continue to have great success in whatever venture he chooses next."

Agnico Eagle Mines Limited has announced senior management changes and reported fourth quarter and full year 2021 financial and operating results, as well as future operating guidance.

Ammar Al-Joundi has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.  Mr. Al-Joundi is a proven executive with a long history of mining industry experience who previously served as President of Agnico Eagle.  With this appointment, Mr. Al-Joundi joins the Company's board of directors.  Anthony Makuch advised the Board that he has decided to step down as Chief Executive Officer and as a director of Agnico Eagle.

Mr. Al-Joundi has over 20 years of experience in mining, capital markets and banking, with specialization in finance and business strategy.  He joined Agnico Eagle as President in 2015, after serving as Chief Financial Officer at Agnico Eagle (from September 2010 to June 2012) and as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Executive Vice President at Barrick Gold Corporation (from July 2012 to February 2015).  Prior to joining Agnico Eagle in 2010, he spent 11 years at Barrick in various senior financial roles including Senior Vice-President of Finance, Senior Vice-President of Business Strategy and Capital Allocation, and Executive Director and CFO of Barrick South America.

"Ammar has the right mix of skill, experience and knowledge to execute the new Agnico Eagle's strategic plan to become the world's leading and highest quality senior gold producer," said Executive Chair Sean Boyd.  "We are confident that Ammar is the right leader to complete the integration of Agnico Eagle and Kirkland Lake Gold and, working closely with our combined Board members and executive team and our outstanding employees, he will help drive the Company's successes as we continue to work to create long-term value for the Company's shareholders and other key stakeholders," added Mr. Boyd.

The Agnico Eagle Board expresses its thanks to Mr. Makuch for steering Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. through this transformative transaction and for his contributions to Kirkland Lake Gold during his tenure.

Agnico Eagle 2021 highlights:

  • Record annual gold production – Payable gold production1 in the full year 2021 was 2,030,176 ounces (excluding 56,229 ounces of payable gold production at Hope Bay, and including 24,057 ounces and 1,956 ounces of pre-commercial gold production at the Tiriganiaq open pit at Meliadine and the Amaruq underground project, respectively) at production costs per ounce of $835, total cash costs per ounce2 of $761 and all-in sustaining costs ("AISC") per ounce3 of $1,038. Production costs per ounce, total cash costs per ounce and AISC per ounce exclude the Hope Bay mine and the pre-commercial production ounces from Amaruq and Tiriganiaq
  • Strong Quarterly production in spite of COVID-19 impacts – Payable gold production in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 501,227 ounces (excluding 705 ounces of payable gold production at Hope Bay, and including 1,608 ounces of pre-commercial gold production at the Amaruq underground project) at production costs per ounce of $892, total cash costs per ounce of $812 and AISC per ounce of $1,126. Production costs per ounce, total cash costs per ounce and AISC per ounce exclude the pre-commercial production ounces from Amaruq. Production and costs in the fourth quarter of 2021 were negatively affected by a reduction in operating activities in Nunavut largely due to a COVID-19 outbreak in mid-December 2021
  • Several operational milestones achieved in the fourth quarter of 2021 and full year 2021 – In December 2021, new monthly records for gold production were set at Kittila and Canadian Malartic. In 2021, new annual records for gold production were set at Meliadine, Kittila and Canadian Malartic, while the LaRonde Complex had its best year ever in terms of tonnage milled. Several production milestones were also reached in the fourth quarter of 2021, with the LaRonde Complex pouring its seven millionth ounce of gold, Goldex reached one million ounces of gold produced (since the 2013 restart) and Canadian Malartic reached six million ounces of gold produced (100% basis)
  • COVID-19 still a concern, but risks appear manageable at this time – The Company has increased its efforts to monitor and manage risks associated with the Omicron variant of COVID-19. At this time, case counts appear to be dropping and the Company expects that it will be able to maintain budgeted production levels. The Company expects that its efforts to help protect the northern communities from this COVID-19 variant will have a slightly negative effect on production in the first quarter of 2022 as the Nunavut-based workforce ("Nunavummiut") were sent back to their communities in December 2021. Plans are being reviewed to re-integrate the local workforce as soon as possible

"The fourth quarter of 2021 was Agnico Eagle's fifth consecutive quarter of over 500,000 ounces of gold production, which is particularly impressive given the impacts of COVID-19 during the latter part of the quarter.  On a full year basis, in 2021 the Company achieved records in gold production, operating cashflow and mineral reserves, all while delivering the best safety performance in the Company's 64-year history", said Ammar Al-Joundi, Agnico Eagle's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Looking forward, all of our mines, both those contributed by Agnico Eagle and Kirkland Lake Gold, are well positioned for another strong year in 2022, and well into the future.  Furthermore, the Company is investing more than ever before at our mines and in exploration to build an even stronger business, in what we believe are the best places in the world to mine for gold", added Mr. Al-Joundi.

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