The Kittilä mine is the largest gold mine in Europe. We extract annually about 2 million tonnes of ore, yielding about 7,000 kg of gold. At current production volumes, the mine’s known ore reserves are expected to produce gold until 2034. The mine life could be extended, depending on the results of exploration. We provide jobs for about 500 employees and about 800 contractor personnel.
We began mining the Kittilä ore body in 2008, starting with two open pits ‘Suuri’ and ‘Roura’. In October 2010, we commenced underground mining operations. As open pit mining drew to a close in 2012, Kittilä became an underground-only operation.
Every year, we excavate over 16 kilometres of new tunnel, which allows sufficient ore production for the mineral processing plant. After removing the broken ore, we backfill the production stopes with a paste made from cement and tailings. This stabilises the mined stope ensuring that the surrounding ore deposit can be mined safely and efficiently. Mine trucks transport the ore up a ramp to the on-surface crushing plant.
1998: Swedish exploration company Riddarhyttan Resources AB purchases the Suurikuusikko gold deposit and continues the geological surveys in the area.
2001: A mining patent is granted.
2002: An environmental permit is granted.
2005: Agnico-Eagle acquires the remainder of Riddarhyttan’s share capital.
2006: A feasibility study is presented to the Agnico-Eagle Board of Directors, who in June decides that a mine will be constructed. Construction begins immediately.
2008: Ore excavation by means of open pit mining commences in May, and mineral processing begins in August. The construction phase concludes as the year draws to a close.
2009: In January, the first doré bars are poured. The official inauguration ceremony is held in June.
2010: Steady production begins. October sees the start of gold production from the underground mine.
2011: By the end of the year, the Kittilä mine has Agnico-Eagle’s largest proven and probable reserves containing 5.2 million ounces of gold.
2012: Open-pit mining ends in November; mining operations continue exclusively in the underground mine.
2014: The expansion of the mineral-processing plant is completed, increasing the amount of ore processed in the plant to around 4,000 tons a day. A new mine office is also built.
2016: Kittilä mine produces its one millionth ounce of gold.
2018: Construction of the shaft and mill expansion began and an underground depth of 1,000 metres was reached.