TORONTO – Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. (TSX:AEM) has reported a sharp drop in its first-quarter profits compared with a year ago due to lower gold prices and higher costs.
The gold miner, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, said Thursday it earned US$23.9 million or 14 cents per share in the quarter, down from $78.5 million or 46 cents per share a year ago.
Revenue for the quarter totalled $423.2 million, down from $474.1 million.
“This year is a building year for Agnico-Eagle as we prepare to bring two mines into production over the next several quarters,” chief executive Sean Boyd said in a statement.
He noted that the expected startup of its Goldex project in Quebec and La India project in Mexico are ahead of schedule. Goldex is expected to start production in the fourth quarter of this year, while La India is scheduled to be in commercial production in the first quarter of 2014.
“These two mines are expected to make a meaningful contribution to the growth profile of the company,” Boyd said.
Payable gold production in the quarter totalled 236,975 ounces, down from 254,955 ounces a year ago due to the Creston Mascota heap leach being suspended during most of the quarter.
Total cash costs for the quarter were $740 per ounce, up from $594 per ounce a year ago due to lower byproduct revenue at the company’s LaRonde mine, lower grades at Meadowbank and a lack of production from Creston Mascota.
The company’s realized gold price slipped to $1,611 per ounce, down from $1,684 a year ago.
Agnico-Eagle has operations in Quebec, Mexico, Finland and Nunavut, along with exploration activities in North America, Latin America and Europe.