TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Toronto-based gold-miner Agnico-Eagle Mines earned $54,3-million in the first three months of 2009, 88% higher than net income of $28,9-million a year earlier.
Earnings were boosted by a $38,6-million tax recovery, as well as a gain on foreign currency translation of $7,5-million.
Agnico-Eagle produced a highest-ever 91 812 oz of gold in the first quarter, but revised its full-year targets downwards, because of a slower-than-expected ramp-up at the new Kittila mine, in Finland.
Production in 2009 is now forecast at between 550 000 oz and 575 000 oz of gold, compared with an earlier estimate of 590 000 oz.
The company has left its guidance for 2010 unchanged, at 1,2-million ounces of gold.
Total cash costs an ounce increased year-on-year to $312/oz in the first quarter, because the new Goldex mine, in Quebec, does not produce by-product metals like zinc and silver, which the firm uses to offset costs at its LaRonde mine, and also because of lower prices for these metals.
In the same period of 2008, cash costs were minus $399/oz.
Agnico-Eagle is bringing a string of new mines into operation, beginning with Goldex last year, followed by Kittila early in 2009, and production is now under way at the Lapa mine, in Quebec.
The first ore was fed into the Lapa circuit at the LaRonde mill this month, and the first gold pour is expected this week, the company said.
Kittila is expected to reach commercial production in the third quarter of 2009, and first gold production is also expected at the Pinos Altos mine, in Mexico, by the end of September.
First production at a fifth new mine, Meadowbank, in northern Canada, is still scheduled for the first quarter of next year.