Agnico Eagle Finland – Proud of our Past, Focused on our Future

Agnico Eagle Mines Limited is a Canadian gold producer that has been in the precious metals business for 60 years. It began in 1957 as a silver company in Cobalt, Ontario and is now one of the largest gold producing companies in the world. Today, it operates eight mines located in Canada, Finland and Mexico, with exploration and development activities in each of these regions, as well as the United States and Sweden. The Company employs over 8,300 people. 

Agnico Eagle Finland Oy is a subsidiary of Agnico Eagle and owns the Kittilä mine - the largest primary gold producer in Europe. It is located in the Lapland region of northern Finland, approximately 900 kilometres north of Helsinki and 150 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

History of the Suurikuusikko Gold Deposit

The discovery of the Kittilä deposit came about by accident some thirty years ago in 1986 when the road between Kittilä and the village of Pokka was being constructed. A piece of rock with visible gold was found after a construction crew had blasted some rock. 

The Geological Survey of Finland undertook an exploration program to explore the potential deposit and sold the claim to a Swedish junior company named Riddarhyttan Resources Ab, which continued exploration in the area. 

In the spring of 2002, Agnico developed a keen interest in this deposit and by 2005 had acquired 100% of Riddarhyttan. The Kittilä mine became Agnico Eagle’s first mining venture outside Canada. 

Bright Future

The Kittilä mine poured its first gold on 14 January 2009 and achieved commercial production four months later. In February 2016, it produced its one millionth ounce of gold. Today, the mine is producing more than 5,000-tonne-per-day and is expected to produce about 200,000 ounces of gold a year. 

Operations at the Kittilä mine began in 2008 from two open-pits that operated until 2012.  Today, mining operations are conducted solely from underground with a network of ramps and tunnels that extend more than 60 km.

Agnico Eagle Finland has discovered significant new gold reserves and resources at Kittilä since it first invested in the project in 2004. Today, Kittilä is one of the largest known gold deposits in Europe, with reserves containing almost 4.8 million ounces of gold and a mine life estimated through to 2035.

In 2015, a new mineralization zone called the Sisar Zone was discovered 100 to 200 metres east of the main Kittilä ore zone through exploration drilling from the underground ramp. The Sisar Zone lies at a depth of approximately 800 to 1,800 metres below surface.

Responsible Mining

Over its 60-year history, Agnico Eagle Mines has built a strong culture of responsible behaviour, achieving high standards of sustainability performance with a long-term goal of being a responsible miner. 

Agnico Eagle Finland’s focus on sustainability is embedded in their day-to-day business. Their approach is supported by Agnico Eagle Mines’ Sustainable Development Policy and Responsible Mining Management System, along with the integration of sustainability-focused standards and codes of practice. 

To help achieve these high standards of performance, Agnico Eagle has adopted the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative at all of its operating mines. 

TSM helps the mining industry sustain its position as a leading economic contributor, while protecting the environment, and helps the industry maintain its social license to operate by providing a framework for companies to become proactive and socially responsible operators.

In recognition of their efforts to achieve a higher standard of performance, the Kittilä mine was recognized by the Mining Association of Canada for their outstanding performance in the TSM initiative and for raising the bar in environmental and social performance.

Agnico Eagle Finland also helped to facilitate the adoption of the TSM initiative by FinnMin, the Finnish Mining Association. This marked the first time that TSM was adopted by a mining association outside of Canada.

Our Approach to Sustainable Development

At the core of Agnico Eagle’s sustainable development program is a commitment to create value for its shareholders while operating in a safe, socially and environmentally responsible manner and contributing positively to the prosperity of its employees, their families and the communities in which Agnico Eagle operates. 

The Kittilä mine is located in a developed region of northern Finland, close to a popular ski resort. The Company benefits from local infrastructure, including an international airport. 

Agnico Eagle Finland values its relationship with the nearby communities of Kittilä and Levi and aims to create benefits and opportunities that contribute to the region’s economic, social and environmental sustainability.  

The Kittilä mine contributes to the social and economic development in northern Finland in many ways. It is one of the largest employers in Lapland, employing more than 800 permanent employees and subcontractors’ employees. Over 50% of the employees of the mine live in Kittilä with their families, with more than 90% of the personnel hailing from Lapland.

In accordance with Agnico Eagle’s Sustainable Development Policy, the Kittilä mine strives to purchase all the services and products it needs as near as possible to the mine site location. On average, the Kittilä mine purchases about 27% of all materials and supplies locally for a value of about Euro 47.7 million annually. The goal is to foster the development of the community and boost local businesses. 

Thanks to the Kittilä mining operations, the local economic structure has diversified, with the mining investments having a positive effect and attracting more people to fill new jobs in other sectors such as hospitality and hotel services and health care.

Agnico Eagle Finland believes the biggest contribution it can make to the wellbeing of the communities is through the creation of long-term employment opportunities and the provision of economic development opportunities.

The success of the past has set the stage for Agnico Eagle Finland’s next phase of growth which will create new opportunities for its employees and allow the Company to continue creating value for the communities where it operates. 

Birgitta Brusila