Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank Mine reports record first quarter gold production

by Keith Powell
Aerial view of Meadowbank mine

Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (NYSE:AEM) (TSX:AEM) reported earlier this spring their first quarter net income of $108.9 million, or $0.63 per share for the first quarter of 2014.

This result includes a non-cash foreign currency translation gain of $8.3 million ($0.05 per share), non-cash stock option expense of $9.5 million ($0.05 per share) and other non-recurring gains of $3.3 million ($0.02 per share). Excluding these items would result in adjusted net income of $106.8 million, or $0.61 per share. In the first quarter of 2013, the Company reported net income of $23.9 million, or $0.14 per share.

First quarter 2014 cash provided by operating activities was $247.7 million ($193.7 million before changes in non-cash components of working capital), compared to cash provided by operating activities of $146.1 million in the first quarter of 2013 ($134.5 million before changes in non-cash components of working capital).

The higher net income and cash provided by operating activities in 2014 was in spite of lower gold prices. Realized gold prices in the first quarter of 2013 were 23% higher than those realized in the first quarter of 2014. Significantly higher gold production (55%) combined with lower production expense in 2014 were largely responsible for the strong financial results, when compared to the first quarter of 2013.

"The record production for the first quarter of 2014 continues to build on Agnico Eagle's 2013 operational success. Once again, Meadowbank has been a key contributor to our outstanding production results. Given the strong first quarter performance, we currently expect to exceed the top end of our production guidance and do better than the lower end of our cash cost forecast for 2014" said Sean Boyd , President and Chief Executive Officer.

Operating highlights include:

  • Record quarterly gold production - 366,421 ounces at total cash costs1 of $537 per ounce
  • Record quarterly gold production at Meadowbank - 156,444 ounces at a total cash cost of $434 per ounce
  • Declaration of commercial production at La India on February 1, 2014
  • Ventilation and cooling system at LaRonde now fully operational - expected to have a positive impact on operating flexibility especially during the summer
  • 2014 production expected to exceed the high end of guidance with costs expected to be better than the low end of the forecast range

Payable gold production in the first quarter of 2014 was 366,421 ounces compared to 236,975 ounces in the first quarter of 2013. The higher level of production in the 2014 period was primarily due to higher grades at Meadowbank, a full quarter of production at Goldex, higher grades and better recoveries at LaRonde, and the ramp-up to commercial production at La India, where commercial production was achieved as of February 2014. A description of the production and cost performance for each mine is set out further below.

Total cash costs for the first quarter of 2014 were $537 per ounce. This compares with $740 per ounce in the first quarter of 2013. The lower costs in the 2014 period were largely attributable to record quarterly production and lower costs at Meadowbank and higher grades at LaRonde.

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