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The best place in the world to mine - Agnico Eagle Mines CEO Al-Joundi names his two criteria

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(Kitco News) - The Abitibi region is a top focus of Agnico Eagles Mines CEO Ammar Al-Joundi.

In February Al-Joundi was interviewed by Kitco correspondent Paul Harris at the BMO Global Metals, Mining & Critical Minerals Conference.

Agnico Eagle (NYSE:AEM) is a senior Canadian gold mining company producing precious metals from operations in Canada, Australia, Finland and Mexico. In November Agnico and Pan American launched a takeover of Yamana Gold. The deal trumped a takeover bid by Gold Fields announced earlier in the year. The Agnico Eagle-Pan American-Yamana Gold deal is scheduled to be completed in March. After the deal closes, Agnico will own 100% of the Canadian Malartic mine, 100% of the Wasamac project located in the Abitibi region of Quebec and several other exploration properties located in Ontario and Manitoba.

Al-Joundi named two criteria for the company's focus on select regions: geological potential and political stability.

"It's always been our strategy to consolidate what we think are the best regions in the world," said Al-Joundi. "Does the region have the geologic potential for multiple mines over multiple decades...and does it have the political stability?"

"Based on those two criteria, arguably the best place [to mine] in the entire world is the Abitibi."

Al-Joundi said inflation is still a concern at Agnico, noting that the company didn't set its recent budget with the expectation that costs would start to fall.

"It's still too early to say if it's peaked or not," said Al-Joundi noting however that the company has seen some relief in energy costs and currency. "You have to be careful that people like me don't blame everything on inflation."

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Regarding other big deals in the gold space, Al-Joundi said consolidation is good " long as the best assets end up in the right hands."

In February number one gold miner Newmont announced $16.9 billion takeover bid for number seven gold miner Newcrest Gold.

"Smart consolidation is good for the industry and sometimes they present opportunities beyond just the deal itself."

Coverage of BMO Global Metals, Mining & Critical Minerals Conference was sponsored by First Majestic Silver.

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