Gold miner Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. reported Thursday a first-quarter profit of $78.5-million (U.S.), boosted by a rising price for gold .
The Toronto-based company said the profit amounted to 46 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31, up from a profit of $45.3-million, or 26 cents per diluted share, a year ago.
Revenue totalled $474.1-million, up from $418.1-million.
“A strong first quarter from our five mines has set the company up for a solid operating year,” Agnico-Eagle president and chief executive officer Sean Boyd said.
“In fact, Agnico-Eagle produced more gold in the first quarter of 2012 than in the first quarter of 2011, which included production from the now suspended Goldex mine.”
“While a scheduled 40-day maintenance shutdown of Kittila’s mill, beginning in May, will result in lower second-quarter gold production than the first quarter, all of our operations are performing to expectations,” Mr. Boyd said.
Gold production in the first quarter of 2012 was 254,955 ounces compared to 252,362 ounces in the first quarter of 2011, while the cash cost amounted to $594 per ounce, up from $531.
The company attributed the higher cost to lower byproduct revenue at its LaRonde operation in Quebec, higher costs at the Meadowbank mine in Nunavut, and the shut-down of its relatively lower cost Goldex mine in Quebec.
Agnico-Eagle’s average realized price for gold was $1,684 per ounce, up from $1,400 a year ago.
The company has said it expects to produce 875,000 to 950,000 ounces of gold for the year at total cash costs per ounce of $690 to $750.
Shares in Agnico-Eagle were hit hard last year after troubles at its Goldex mine in Val D’Or, Que. The company stopped operations at the mine due to unstable rock formations and flooding in the operation.
The Goldex mine is in the Abitibi region of Quebec and part of a group of mines that Agnico-Eagle owns including the LaRonde mine and Lapa mine.
Agnico-Eagle has mining operations, exploration and development projects in Canada, Finland, Mexico and the United States. The company’s LaRonde mine is Canada’s largest operating gold project in terms of reserves.