Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. is about to get its “forever” wish — full ownership of one of North America’s biggest gold mines.
The world’s third-biggest bullion producer has split ownership of the Canadian Malartic mine with Yamana Gold Inc. since 2014, but that’s about to change thanks to some swift dealmaking. Yamana shareholders have endorsed a US$4.8 billion deal that sees Agnico consolidate the open pit mine in northwestern Quebec while Pan American Silver Corp. takes over Yamana’s Latin American assets.
Agnico is gaining full operational control of Canada’s top gold mine by annual output. Malartic generated almost 715,000 ounces of bullion in 2021, ranking it as North America’s fourth-largest producing bullion mine.
“We wanted that other half of Malartic forever, but it never came for sale,” Agnico Chief Executive Officer Ammar Al-Joundi said in a Jan. 6 interview. Last year’s failed takeover attempt of Yamana by South Africa’s Gold Fields Ltd. left the mine available “at a decent price,” he said, “and we saw our chance.”
Agnico only started hammering out a pact with Pan American in September to acquire Yamana and split the assets, according to regulatory filings. The pair pitched their proposal on Oct. 21, triggering the unraveling of the Gold Fields offer by early November.
Agnico’s deal comes nearly a year after the Toronto-based miner bought Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd., owner of Detour Lake Mine in northeast Ontario, Canada’s second-biggest gold mine.