By Robb M. Stewart

 

Agnico Eagle Mines expects production for the year to come in toward the upper end of its target after a court in Finland restored the gold producer's operating permit for its Kittila mine in the country's north, allowing it to operate at a higher capacity.

The ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland reverts the operating permit for Kittila, the largest primary gold producer in Europe, to 2 million metric tons a year and overturns a lower court decision that restricted the operation to 1.6 million tons annually.

With the court ruling, the Canadian miner said it now expects an additional 30,000 ounces of gold output from the Kittila mine in the final quarter of the year, and for its total annual production of this year to be near the upper end of guidance for between 3.24 million and 3.44 million ounces.

The Regional State Administrative Agency of Northern Finland in 2020 granted Agnico Eagle environmental and water permits that would allow the mine to enlarge its storage facility for tailings and build a new discharge waterline, but the permits were appealed to the country's Vaasa Administrative Court. The appeals were granted in mid-2022, meaning the permits were returned to the regional administrative agency, and Agnico Eagle then appealed the lower court decision and requested the Supreme Administrative Court restore the permits.

If the ruling had gone against the company, it would have been forced to scale back operations this quarter to remain within the reduced permitted rate and would have meant production for the year of 190,000 to 210,000 ounces of gold. No further appeals are available, Agnico Eagle said.

 

Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 27, 2023 07:52 ET (11:52 GMT)

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