The 2016 Amaruq drill program commenced in February with two drills testing targets in the Mammoth lake area. Eventually Agnico Eagle expects to have eight to 10 drills operating with a focus on infilling and expanding the known mineralized zones, testing other nearby targets with a focus on developing a second source of open pit ore and further evaluation of regional target areas. The initial 2016 exploration program contemplates approximately 75,000 metres of drilling with a budget of approximately $19 million. The 2016 program also includes engineering studies and permitting activities for the construction of an initial open pit mine and an underground exploration ramp.
The company expects to ultimately develop Amaruq as a satellite operation to Meadowbank, with the potential to begin production in 2019. The company believes there is good potential for Amaruq to have similar annual output to Meadowbank in its peak production years. The Meadowbank mine is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018.