The LaRonde mine in northern Quebec, Canada is considered the largest mine in Canada in terms of reserves. It is also counted as one of the deepest at 2,200 meters in LaRonde I and plans to chase mineralization to a depth of 3,100 meters in the LaRonde II expansion project. The expansion project is expected to start production in 2011. LaRonde is the largest gold mine in Canada...

With its ability to increase reserves year over year, which now are estimated to be 12.5 million ounces, the mine has a long life remaining, the expansion project alone will add 9 years. Since commissioning in 1988, the mine has produced more than 4 Moz of gold. In addition to the over 245,000 ounces of gold procuced in 2006 the mine also yielded 4.96 million ounces of silver, 82,200 tonnes of zinc and 7,300 tonnes of copper. Ownership Summary
Name: Agnice Eagle Mines
Interest: 100%
Note: public
Reference: 31 Dec 2006

With a population of 26,000, Rouyn-Noranda's mining sector is the most important economic activity in the region. Agnico-Eagle is one of the largest employers in the Abitibi region with more than 600 experienced and highly skilled people working at the LaRonde operations, many of which have been with the mine since its opening.

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Location - The LaRonde property is located in the municipalities of Preissac and Cadillac, roughly 60 kilometres between the cities of Rouyn-Noranda and Val d'Or, Quebec.

The property is relatively flat with a maximum relief of 40 meters and the topography slopes relatively gently down from north to south. All the surface water drains southeast into Dormenan Creek, which follows the southern property boundary and is a tributary to Noir Creek, located 2 kilometres to the east. The latter flows northward into Lake Preissac, about 4 kilometres to the north of the LaRonde property.

Location Summary
Nearest Landmark: VAL D'OR
Distance from Landmark: 56km
Direction from Landmark: WEST
Latitude: 48 deg 15 min N
Longitude: 78 deg 15 min W
Satellite Image: <click to view>Climate allows for year-round mining. Surface mining, milling and mine tailing infrastructures cover roughly 60% of the LaRonde mining lease. A boreal-type forest consisting mainly of black spruce, poplar and minor birch, tamarack and balsam fir covers the remaining portion of the LaRonde and nearby properties.

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Property - The LaRonde property consists of 35 contiguous mining claims and one provincial mining lease and covers in total approximately 884.1 hectares. The El Coco property consists of 22 contiguous mining claims and a provincial mining lease and covers in total approximately 356.7 hectares. The Terrex property consists of 20 mining claims that cover in total approximately 408.4 hectares.

Deposit Summary
Deposit Type: massive sulphide
Primary Commodity: gold
Most of the mining and milling activities are centred on mining lease BM-796 which covers 491,886 hectares in Cadillac and Bousquet townships, Rouyn-Noranda mining district, north-western Quebec, Canada. This puts the property in the southern portion of the Archean-age Abitibi volcanic belt within the Bousquet Formation of the Blake River volcanic Group. The geology is east west trending, steeply southward dipping and generally southward facing.

Gold-copper and zinc-silver mineralization occur in the form of massive and disseminated sulphide lenses that vary in size and occur throughout the southern felsic unit of the Blake River Group. Five different mineralized horizons are known to exist adjacent to shaft no 3: Zones 6, 7, 20 North Gold, 20 North Zinc and 20 South.

Reserves Summary
Name: LaRonde
Commodity: gold Class: Proven + Probable
Tonnage: 35.6 Mtonnes
Grade: 4.5 g/t

Note: Containing 5.2 million ounces of gold. The property also contains byproduct reserves of 49 Moz silver, 111,000 t copper, and 730,000 t zinc.
Reference: 31 Dec 2006

Zones 6 and 7 are one to two million tonne-size gold bearing polymetallic massive sulphide lenses. The 20 North Gold and Zinc zones consist of two parallel lenses of disseminated to massive sulphide up to 25 metres in thickness and up to 22 million tonnes in size. Gold-copper mineralization occurs in the northern lens and zinc-silver mineralization occurs immediately to the south. Deep drilling for Zone 20 North confirms the trend of increasing gold/copper and thickness at depth. At least two separate one to two million tonne-size lenses of Zone 20 South occur along the southernmost gold bearing polymetallic disseminated to massive sulphide horizon known on the property and occurs less than 30 metres north of the Cadillac Group sediments.

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Operation - The LaRonde Mine was originally developed utilizing a 3,961 foot deep shaft (Shaft #1) and an underground ramp access system. Shaft #1 is currently being used as a second escape way and provides ventilation, compresses air and water services for the Penna Shaft. A second production shaft (Shaft #2), located 4,000 feet to the east of Shaft #1, was completed in 1994 down to a depth of 1,722 feet and was used to mine Zones #6 and #7. Shaft #2 now serves as a water cistern for production at the Penna Shaft as it has been flooded to the 6th level.

The Penna Shaft (formerly called Shaft #3), located approximately 1,640 feet to the east of Shaft #1, was completed down to a depth of 7,380 feet in March 2000. This shaft is used to mine Zones 20 North, 20 South, 7, and 6 and is the only production area currently active at LaRonde.

The Penna Shaft is circular, 18.2 feet in diameter and cement lined; it is arranged in longitudinal compartments: 2 compartments for hoisting of waste and ore rock to the surface using 27 ton-capacity skips connected to two 4,000 horsepower hoisting motors located on the surface; 1 compartment for transporting personnel and materials from surface to each level using a double-decked cage and an additional 4,000 horsepower hoisting motor located on the surface; 1 compartment that is equipped with ladders for use as an alternate escape way; and a final compartment that serves as a utility access from surface to underground. Mine Production Summary
Mine - LaRonde
Capacity: 6,300 tonnes/day
Rate: 7,324 tonnes/day
Note: Hoisting capacity
Reference: 31 Dec 2006

From the Penna shaft, access to the ore zones is provided by a series of sublevels spaced at regular 100 foot and 130 foot intervals, depending on their depth, from either a service ramp or directly from the shaft stations. Access throughout the mine by all mechanical equipment is assured by drifts that are generally 14 feet by 15 feet in cross-sectional size and driven at a grade of 4% from horizontal (service ramps are generally driven at a grade of 17% from horizontal).

Equipment maintenance and major repairs are done in either of three main garages located on surface and underground on levels 134 and 206 at the Penna Shaft. A maintenance garage located on Level 10 at Shaft #1 has been abandoned. Surface road maintenance and rock haulage equipment are furnished, operated and maintained by contractors under LaRonde Division supervision.

Waste rock and ore extracted during mining are transported along each sublevel and dumped into a network of passes that generally lead by gravity directly (or by transfer using hauling equipment) to two separate shaft loading stations (located on levels 152 and 220). Waste rock also serves to fill empty stopes or is stored in abandoned drifts. The ore pass systems lead to crushing stations linked by conveyors to the shaft loading stations.

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Process - There are two crushing stations at LaRonde, each with a capacity to crush 400 tonnes per hour to less than 4 inches size; one station is located below Level 149 and the other on Level 219. Waste rock and crushed ore are stored in dedicated silos located near the loading stations on Levels 149 and 220 until it can be loaded into skips for transport to surface. Total underground ore and waste storage capacity is roughly 10,000 tonnes and 5,000 tonnes, respectively. Waste rock can either be skipped to the surface or to a mid-shaft dumping station located near level 86 so that it can be recycled into the waste pass system. The crushing, conveying, loading and dumping operations are fully automated.

Surface facilities at the LaRonde Mine include a 7,000 t/d milling complex, which has been expanded three times from the original 2,000 t/d rate that was established in 1988. The latest expansion, to 7,000 t/d was completed in October 2002. This expansion consisted of additions to the grinding and precious metals circuits and modifications to the copper and zinc flotation circuits. A new ore handling system was completed at the end of 1999. It included a truck dump linked by a new conveyor gallery to a 5,000-tonne coarse ore bin. The coarse ore bin feeds a SAG mill that was also installed in 1999. Ore from the Penna Shaft is transported over the 1.2 kilometer distance to the ore handling facility by 35-tonne trucks.

The milling complex consists of a grinding, gravity, copper flotation, zinc flotation, and a precious metals recovery circuit and refinery. A copper concentrate containing approximately 75% of the gold and byproduct silver and copper is recovered. The zinc flotation circuit produces a zinc concentrate containing approximately 5% of the gold. The remaining 20% is recovered by a precious metals circuit including a refinery using the Merrill Crowe process and shipped as doré bars. Both the zinc and copper flotation circuits consist of a series of column and mechanical cells that sequentially increase the zinc concentrate and copper concentrate quality. The precious metals circuit, that processes the tails from the base metal flotation circuit, consists of: 1) A leaching circuit (using cyanide); 2) A counter-current decantation (CCD) circuit that progressively removes the solids from the precious metal-rich leachate; and 3) A refinery that precipitates, filters, and finally, calcines the precious metal-rich zinc pulp in order to produce doré. Processing Summary
Facility - LaRonde
Capacity: 7,000 tonnes/day
Rate: 7,300 tonnes/day
Commodity: gold
Quantity: 245,826 oz
Cost: (690) US$/oz
Note: The negative cash cost is due primarily to higher byproduct revenue.
Reference: 31 Dec 2006

Currently, water is treated at various facilities at the LaRonde Division. Prior to the water entering the tailings pond system, cyanide is removed at a cyanide destruction facility (associated with the paste backfill plant) using a sulphur dioxide process. A secondary treatment plant located between the #1 and #2 polishing ponds uses a peroxysilica process to complete the cyanide destruction process. In addition, water with higher than permissible acidity is treated by lime in the mill complex prior to being released to the environment. A new water treatment plant was completed in the first quarter of 2004 that will eliminate tailing effluent toxicity immediately prior to discharge. The plant uses a biological treatment process. The flow rate is steadily being increased as the biomass used to effect treatment continues to build up.

Tailings not recycled underground in paste backfill, are stored in tailings ponds covering an area of approximately 293 acres and waste rock is stored in two waste rock piles with a combined volume of approximately 50.4 million cubic feet. The Company holds mining claims to the north-east, to the east and to the south-east of the tailings ponds that would allow expansion of the tailings ponds and the establishment of additional waste disposal areas.

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Environment and Community - Agnico-Eagles is committed to helping the community by supporting local initiatives and organizations that build the health, strength and cultural diversity of the area. Their community commitments include funding to support the social and civic infrastructure in Rouyn-Noranda, Amos and Val D'Or.

Their environmental commitment includes a $150,000 grant to the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, to set up a chair in environmental studies. In addition they are a founding partner of E3 - Environmental Education in Exploration - providing tools for the application of exploration best practices worldwide.