Our eight mines are located in the mining friendly regions of Canada (Quebec and Nunavut), Finland, and Mexico, with exploration and development activities in each of these regions as well as in the United States and Sweden.
We maintain a solid financial profile, and expect to maintain net free cash flow with stable annual production and costs.
We produced 1,662,888 ounces of gold in 2016 and 4.8 million ounces of silver.
Agnico has a strong track record of growing gold reserves and resources through exploration — our gold reserves stand at 19.9 million ounces. We also have approximately 54 million ounces of silver, 153,000 tonnes of zinc and 77,000 tonnes of copper in reserves as of December 31, 2016.
In 2017, we expect to produce 1,555,000 ounces of gold.
LaRonde mine has produced over 5.0 million ounces of gold since 1988 and remains a consistent engine of earnings and cash flow.
The Meadowbank mine in the Nunavut, Canada is our largest gold producer, with production of 312,214 ounces in 2016.
The mine life has been extended to 2018 to partially bridge the production gap with the development of the Amaruq satellite deposit.
The Amaruq satellite deposit at Meadowbank was approved for development in February 2017, pending the receipt of the required permits, which are expected to be received by the third quarter of 2018. Production is forecast to begin in the third quarter of 2019.
Gold in open pit indicated resources at Amaruq is estimated at 2.1 million ounces as of December 31, 2016, almost all in the Whale Tail deposit, which will host the first pit. In addition there are inferred mineral resources estimated at 2.1 million ounces gold (36% open pit and 64% underground).
Construction of a 62 km all-weather access road to Amaruq commenced from the Meadowbank mine in early 2016. The road is expected to be completed as an exploration road by the fourth quarter of 2017, and expanded to a production road once all the necessary permits are received.
The Kittila mine in northern Finland is the largest primary gold producer in Europe, and hosts the company's largest mineral reserves.
The Sisar zone was discovered in 2015 at depth, subparallel to the main Kittila ore zone, and could potentially provide an additional source of underground ore to the mill with relatively little underground development.
The Meliadine mine development in Nunavut has one of Agnico Eagle’s largest mineral resources with reserve grades more than three times the Company average.
In May 2016, the Company received the final permit needed before commencing construction activities. Agnico Eagle approved construction of the Meliadine project in February 2017, and operations are expected to begin in the third quarter of 2019.
The El Barqueño project in Jalisco State, west-central Mexico, was acquired in late 2014; an aggressive exploration campaign resulted in an initial inferred mineral resource estimate in 2015 and an initial indicated resource estimate in 2016.
Agnico Eagle acquired a 55% interest in the Barsele project in northern Sweden in 2015. Substantial drilling led to an initial inferred mineral resource estimate in 2016, including both open pit and underground resources.