Agnico Eagle sees continued promise in Quebec – by Peter Diekmeyer (Northern Miner – May 7, 2019)

Northern Miner

High-profile investments by Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM) in two new Nunavut gold operations will drastically alter the company’s production profile with the onset of commercial production later this year.

However, perhaps lost in the excitement is that its core operations in Quebec — La Ronde, Canadian Malartic and Goldex — are also expected to expand. Help on the regulatory front from Quebec Premier François Legault, whose Coalition Avenir Quebec government took office last October, could speed up the process.

Currently, “start-ups take longer and are more complicated because we have to get approvals at the federal and provincial levels,” said Christian Provencher, Agnico Eagle’s vice-president for Canada, in an interview. The Coalition Avenir Quebec government, whose electoral base is concentrated in the province’s regions, has committed to reviewing the situation.

According to Claude Potvin, a spokesperson for Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, mining is a government priority. “Quebec was recently named [by the Fraser Institute] as the world’s fourth best mining jurisdiction,” Potvin said in an email. “We want to make it number one.”

Potvin would not commit to a specific date, but said that new measures could be announced later this year. According to Provencher, the province’s Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Jonatan Julien provided a signal of the government’s commitment to reform during a recent tour of Agnico Eagle’s facilities in Quebec.

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