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Record production, reserves, free cash flow and a strong exploration program for Agnico Eagle

Apr 30, 2024

By Kevin Vincent

Senior management at Agnico Eagle have a lot to be proud of these days. The company is riding high with outstanding production, growing reserves, and a balance sheet that make it the envy of its rivals.
“We had a fantastic close to the year with strong operating performance across the board resulting in a solid year overall. We achieved record quarterly in annual gold production finishing the year at the very top end of our production guidance. From a cost perspective we finished the year with total cash costs per ounce at the midpoint of our guidance which reflects the great work from all teams in managing costs in a difficult and persistent inflationary environment,” said CEO Ammar Al-Joundi in a 2023 summation to shareholders.
Al-Joundi says all of it was done safely. 2023 was the strongest safety performance in the company’s history.
Year-end 2023 gold mineral reserves increased by 10.5% to 53.8 million ounces of gold (1,287 million tonnes grading 1.30 grams per tonne (“g/t”) gold). The year-over-year increase in mineral reserves is largely due to the declaration of initial mineral reserves at East Gouldie, the acquisition of the remaining 50% interest in the Canadian Malartic complex and mineral reserve replacement at Macassa and Fosterville. At year-end 2023, measured and indicated mineral resources were 44.0 million ounces (1,189 million tonnes grading 1.15 g/t gold) and inferred mineral resources were 33.1 million ounces (411 million tonnes grading 2.50 g/t gold), including initial underground inferred mineral resources at Detour Lake.

The Company’s ambitious exploration program in 2023 and continuing into 2024 is yielding great results

At Detour Lake, step-out drilling suggests potential for an underground operation and together with optimization of the current open pits and mill, bringing the Detour Lake mine to a production rate of one million ounces per year. At Odyssey, step-out drilling continues to significantly extend the East Gouldie deposit to the west and east. At Hope Bay, drill results confirm the expansion of the Madrid deposit at depth with wide high grade intercepts, in line with our expectations for the exploration upside of this project,” said Guy Gosselin, Agnico Eagle’s Executive Vice-President, Exploration. “In addition, we continue to generate significant exploration results elsewhere across our portfolio, including Fosterville, Amaruq, Macassa and Kittila. These positive results demonstrate the success of our strategy, and we will continue the steady funding of our exploration efforts in 2024 as we aim to grow the deposits at existing operations and to realize the potential of the key projects in the Company’s pipeline,” added Mr. Gosselin.

SNAPSHOT – 2024 exploration budget
Abitibi region – Quebec

Approximately $20.4 million for 137,000 metres of drilling at the Canadian Malartic complex, $2.8 million for 16,700 metres of drilling at the Wasamac project in 2024 as part of a larger Quebec regional exploration budget totalling $7.1 million for 39,700 metres, $10.4 million for 50,200 metres of drilling at the LaRonde complex and $5.1 million for 40,400 metres of drilling at Goldex mine.

SNAPSHOT – 2024 exploration budget
Abitibi region – Ontario

Approximately $27.7 million for 160,000 metres of drilling at Detour Lake in 2024 ($20.3 million for 120,000 metres of capitalized drilling into the western plunge of the main deposit and approximately $7.4 million for 40,000 metres of regional drilling to explore satellite targets on the Company’s large 107,400 hectare land position around the Detour Lake and adjacent Detour East properties that could potentially provide mill feed to the Detour Lake operation), $19.2 million for 161,900 metres of capitalized drilling at Macassa in 2024, aiming to increase and upgrade mineral resources. The exploration program will continue to build the mineral resource base to the east in the SMC East and Main Break, and to the west in the Lower/West SMC. Drilling in the AK and NSUR deposits will target mineral resource expansion. In addition, $14.1 million is budgeted for capitalized exploration to further develop exploration drifts that will allow drilling to the east of current mine infrastructure along strike and at depth of the SMC and Main Break towards the historic Lake Shore mine and as a part of an Ontario regional exploration budget totaling $13.5 million for 19,400 metres, a surface exploration campaign will include drill holes to test the deep extensions of the Main Break east of the underground infrastructure of the SMC and below all historical mining levels of the Kirkland Lake camp to provide support for future underground exploration drifts.


Multi decade mine potential seen from Agnico’s near mine exploration targets


“We continue to see significant upside from near-mine exploration targets. We are talking multi-decade potential from this world class asset,” said Al-Joundi.
The company’s strong operating performance paired with a higher gold price and a weaker Canadian dollar resulted in record operating cash flow.
“We also continue to advance our key value-drivers, leverage synergies in the Abitibi gold belt and add value through the drill bit,” he added.
Agnico increased mineral reserves to a record level. 2023 also brought its share of challenges to Agnico operations such as wildfires in Quebec, Ontario and Australia and a transformer outage at Detour Lake.
“Facing challenges is the nature of our business and Agnico Eagle has the distinct ability and track record of managing challenges effectively,” said Al-Joundi.
He says a strong operating, financial and safety performance puts Agnico in an excellent position to continue investing in the business and advancing projects as well as returning cash to shareholders.
“We will continue optimizing our assets with a focus on regional mining platforms in our core operating regions. At Detour Lake we are assessing the potential to grow to one million ounces per year. “We are targeting 28 million tons per year through the mill in 2024 and we are pursuing mill optimization beyond that.”
The company is also advancing an underground mine study which they expect to be completed in the first half of 2024.
At the Canadian Malartic complex in Quebec, Agnico is transitioning from being one of the largest open-pit gold mines in Canada to what it feels will be the largest underground gold mine in Canada.
Al-Joundi says Agnico Eagle has a track record of executing and delivering. “That’s what we did that’s what we will continue to do - because that’s how we create long-term value for shareholders - create a great place to work for our employees - and contribute positively to the communities in which we operate.”


Agnico Eagle's Vice President of Ontario Operations, Andre Leite will be providing an update on Agnico Eagle’s Ontario operations including the Detour Lake and Macassa Mines and the Upper Beaver project as part of the Canadian Mining Expo, Projects in the Pipeline Conference. Register today to get your tickets before they sell out. Lunch is included. https://virtex.canadianminingexpo.com/expoactivity/activitypage/type/expoactivity_pipeline


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