TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Canadian gold-miner Agnico-Eagle Mines earned $47,9-million in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with $21,9-million a year earlier, after the company ramped up new mines and benefited from higher metals prices.
Agnico-Eagle, which now has five mines in production and is commissioning a sixth, produced a best-ever 163 276 oz in the fourth quarter, an increase of 83% compared with the same period of 2008.
For the full year, the Toronto-based company produced 492 972 oz of gold in 2009, compared with just 276 762 oz a year earlier.
"Earnings and cash flow increased significantly this quarter on the back of record quarterly gold production,” CEO Sean Boyd said in a statement.
Fourth quarter cash costs decreased to $297/oz after by-product credits, a significant improvement on costs of $463/oz in the same period a year earlier.
The company said the decline in costs was mainly due to increased gold production and "significantly higher" realised prices for zinc and copper, which it uses to offset the costs of producing gold.
Agnico-Eagle started 2008 as a one-mine company, with just its LaRonde operation, in Quebec, but has since commissioned the new Goldex mine in Quebec, Kittila in Finland, Lapa in Quebec, and, most recently, Pinos Altos in Mexico.
The fifth new mine, the Meadowbank project in Canada, is undergoing commissioning and the company expects to pour the first gold towards the end of this month.
Commercial production is targeted for April at Meadowbank, Agnico-Eagle said on Wednesday.