TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Toronto-based Agnico-Eagle Mines has begun an “aggressive” exploration programme at its new Meliadine project, in Nunavut, and plans to complete a feasibility study in 2013.
Agnico bought Meliadine this year when it acquired junior Comaplex Minerals.
The company said on Wednesday it has increased its total exploration budget by around 45%, to $110-million, to include spending on Meliadine as well as accelerated exploration plans at other properties.
CEO Sean Boyd said in April that he did not expect production at Meliadine, before 2015.
Agnico has now approved a $130-million budget for exploration and early development work at the project, including a 200-km drill programme, bulk sampling, permitting and proposed all-season road construction over next two and a half years.
The company also reported on Wednesday it has continued to extend the mineralisation at depth at its Kittila mine, in Finland.
And at the Pinos Altos operation, in Mexico, step-out drilling has resulted in the discovery of a new vein zone, about 200 m away from the Cubiro vein.
Cubiro itself also continues to yield good gold intercepts, and could result in a standalone mining operation, Agnico said.
“We have begun an aggressive exploration programme at all of our new mines and our newly acquired Meliadine project, as we feel the exploration potential is excellent and these deposits are still relatively underexplored,” Boyd said on Thursday.
“With the largest drilling program in our history now under way, we look forward to getting a better understanding of the ultimate size of our deposits and incorporating these results into our ongoing expansion studies.”
Agnico-Eagle had just one mine in 2007, its LaRonde operation in Quebec, but has since started up the Goldex mine in Quebec, Kittila in Finland, Lapa in Quebec, Pinos Altos in Mexico and Meadowbank, in Nunavut, which poured its first gold bar this year.
The company is now looking at optimisations and expansions at the operations.