(All amounts expressed in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted)
TORONTO, July 8, 2021 /CNW/ - Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (NYSE: AEM) (TSX: AEM) ("Agnico Eagle" or the "Company") is pleased to provide an update on exploration activities at several projects and select mine sites. The Company's exploration focus remains on pipeline projects, near-mine opportunities and mineral reserve and mineral resource replacement and growth. Key exploration highlights during the first half of 2021 include:
Odyssey Underground Project at Canadian Malartic – Infill drilling continues to return solid results in the core of the East Gouldie deposit, with recent results returning up to 6.3 grams per tonne ("g/t") gold over 52.0 metres at 1,109 metres depth, including 8.9 g/t gold over 21.0 metres at 1,102 metres depth. The eastern extension of the deposit continues to be tested and a new mineralized horizon was discovered approximately 400 metres south of the East Gouldie deposit and returning 3.5 g/t gold over 8.6 metres at 2,103 metres depth, demonstrating the excellent exploration upside for new discoveries in the vicinity of the Odyssey Project
Kirkland Lake Project – The conversion and expansion drilling program at depth at the Upper Beaver deposit continues to intersect significant high-grade mineralization, further expanding the Footwall Zone. The new results include highlight intercepts such as 21.2 g/t gold and 0.67% copper over 14.8 metres at 1,190 metres depth
Meliadine – Exploration and conversion drilling is ramping up close to existing deposits and in the surrounding region. Recent drilling at depth in the Pump deposit demonstrates the excellent potential to increase mineral resources with intercepts such as 22.6 g/t gold over 4.2 metres at 508 metres depth, approximately 250 metres below the current mineral resource envelope. Regional exploration has resumed between the Tiriganiaq and Discovery deposits, encountering interesting results on the Aquarius occurrence such as 21.7 g/t gold over 3.5 metres at 93 metres depth
Hope Bay – Activity is ramping up with a total of seven drill rigs now operating on the Doris and Madrid deposits. Recent results at Doris confirm the potential to expand the BTD Extension Zone (currently being mined), with results including: 10.9 g/t gold over 2.5 metres at 309 metres depth, potentially expanding the zone 100 metres north of the current mineral reserve limits; and 12.0 g/t gold over 7.1 metres at 282 metres depth in the West Valley Zone, potentially extending the zone along plunge by 75 metres from the current mineral reserve outline. The results confirm the potential to expand zones currently being mined at Doris while drilling is ramping up at Madrid
Kittila – Exploration drilling in the Sisar Zone continues to show the potential to significantly expand mineral resources and mineral reserves at depth. Recent drilling has provided the deepest intercept to date at the Kittila mine, intersecting 10.7 g/t gold over 7.8 metres in the Sizar Zone at 1,957 metres depth and confirming that the Sisar Zone remains open at depth and extends significantly below the current lower limit of the mineral resources at 1,540 metres below surface
Santa Gertrudis – Exploration drilling of the Amelia deposit is extending and validating the lateral continuity of high-grade gold and silver intercepts, with highlights including 2.7 g/t gold and 11 g/t silver over 33.9 metres at 395 metres depth, which includes 5.7 g/t gold and 15 g/t silver over 8.3 metres at 402 metres depth
"Last year, the Company generated strong exploration results at several of its key projects. As a result, in 2021, we embarked on the most ambitious exploration program in Agnico Eagle's 64-year history to investigate the full potential of existing operations and key projects in the Company's pipeline," said Sean Boyd, Agnico Eagle's Chief Executive Officer. "At mid-year, we are continuing to see positive results from this initiative, with drilling encountering a new parallel gold zone at East Gouldie, significant high-grade mineralization that further expands the Footwall Zone at Upper Beaver, and results confirming the potential to expand the Doris Deposit at Hope Bay. In addition, we continue to generate significant exploration results at key production assets such as Kittila and Meliadine," added Mr. Boyd.
Record exploration spending in 2021 – Based on significant exploration results observed in 2020 at several operating mines and pipeline projects, the Company initiated a review of the full potential of its portfolio of assets and increased its exploration budget in 2021 to approximately $163 million (from $113 million in 2020), making it the largest exploration budget in the Company's history (see the Company's news release dated February 11, 2021 for a breakdown of the exploration budget). An update on selected exploration programs and budgets are set out in the sections below.
Targeting replacement and growth of the Company's Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources from a record level at year-end 2020 – Gold mineral reserves totaled 24.1 million ounces of gold (348 million tonnes grading 2.15 g/t gold) as at December 31, 2020. Gold contained in measured and indicated mineral resources totaled 15.3 million ounces (341 million tonnes grading 1.40 g/t gold) and inferred mineral resources totaled 23.4 million ounces (283 million tonnes grading 2.57 g/t gold). See the Appendix for details on the Company's Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources.
ABITIBI REGION, QUEBEC AND ONTARIO
Agnico Eagle is currently Quebec's largest gold producer with a 100% interest in the LaRonde Complex (which includes the LaRonde and LaRonde Zone 5 ("LZ5") mines) and the Goldex mine and a 50% interest in the Canadian Malartic mine. The Company has a multi-decade track record of exploration success in the Abitibi region, building on the discovery in the 1980's of the world-class LaRonde gold-rich polymetallic volcanic massive sulphide deposit which has served as an operations and exploration hub that provides operating synergies and allows for the sharing of technical expertise.
At the LaRonde Complex, the Company expects to spend $14.1 million in 2021 to develop three new exploration drifts (track drifts 9.0 and 215 and exploration drift 291 west) from the LaRonde 3 infrastructure towards the west below the LZ5 mine workings and for 39,800 metres of drilling. Exploration is expected to focus on extensions to LZ5, Zone 6, Zone 20N, the recently discovered Zone 20N Zn South, and the extensions to the past producing Bousquet mine. The aim of this drilling is to add new mineral reserves and mineral resources to extend the mine life of the LaRonde Complex into the 2030's.
At the end of the second quarter of 2021, rehabilitation of track drift 9.0, the enlargement of track drift 215 and the development of exploration drift 290 had progressed as planned.
On track drift 9.0, the first drill station is close to completion and a drill rig is expected to be mobilized in the third quarter of 2021. The initial exploration drilling program will target the down plunge of the historical Bousquet Zone 3-1.
On track drift 215, the first drill station is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022. The exploration drilling program will test for extensions of mineralized zones between two- and three-kilometres depth at the past producing Bousquet Mine.
On exploration drift 290, a new drill platform was completed in the second quarter of 2021. The exploration drilling program is expected to start in 2022 and will test for mineralization below three-kilometres depth at the past producing Bousquet Mine.
Odyssey Underground Project at Canadian Malartic
In June 2014, Agnico Eagle and Yamana Gold Inc. acquired Osisko Mining Corporation (now Canadian Malartic Corporation) and created Canadian Malartic GP (the "Partnership", in which Agnico Eagle and Yamana each have an indirect and direct 50% ownership interest) that owns and operates the Canadian Malartic open pit mine on the Canadian Malartic Property, located near the town of Malartic in the Province of Quebec.
Since the acquisition, the exploration strategy of the Partnership around the mine has been directed to the consolidation of adjacent properties and the compilation of the vast amount of historical information of the historical underground mines within the 12,568-hectare property package. This strategy led to the discovery of the Odyssey North and Odyssey South deposits (with mineral resources first declared as of December 2016), followed by the integration of historical information with new drilling leading to the declaration of initial mineral resources in the East Malartic deposit as of December 2017 and finally the discovery of the East Gouldie deposit in late 2018 (with initial mineral resources declared as of December 2019).
In February 2021, the Partnership approved the construction of the underground Odyssey Project, located east of the current mining operation, upon completion of an internal preliminary economic assessment. The preliminary economic analysis estimated 410,000 ounces of gold in indicated mineral resources (6.2 million tonnes grading 2.07 g/t gold) and 6.9 million ounces of gold in inferred mineral resources (75.9 million tonnes grading 2.82 g/t gold). See the Appendix for a detailed breakdown of mineral resources by deposit. The development of this project combines the exploitation of four main mining zones by ramp and shaft: Odyssey North, Odyssey South, East Malartic and East Gouldie.
The Canadian Malartic Property straddles the southern margin of the eastern portion of the Abitibi Sub-Province. The deposits on the property are mainly located along the contact between the Larder Lake–Cadillac Fault Zone and the Pontiac Group metasedimentary rocks. The East Malartic, Odyssey North and Odyssey South deposits are generally associated with massive porphyritic intrusions with gold mineralization mostly located along the sheared margins of the porphyries. The East Gouldie deposit is located farther south, constrained in a west-trending high-strain corridor within the Pontiac Group. The main ore host at East Gouldie is a greywacke with 1% to 2% disseminated pyrite and associated silica, sericite and carbonate alteration.
East Gouldie Deposit Infill Program
During the first half of 2021, 10 drills were active for the near-mine exploration and 3 drills for regional exploration. The priority has been the reduction of drill spacing to 75 metres across the East Gouldie deposit. Exploration also continued to test the lateral extensions of the East Gouldie mineralized corridor and expand the mineral resources envelope. During the first half of 2021, 46 new pierce points totaling 58,365 metres (100% basis) were completed in the near-mine East Gouldie definition drilling program.
Selected recent drill intercepts from the program are set out in the table, composite longitudinal section and plan map below.
Selected recent drill results from the East Gouldie deposit and Chert Zone at Canadian Malartic
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