Agnico-Eagle Mines reported in early September 2010 ongoing exploration success at existing properties combined with its acquisition of the Meliadine property in Nunavut, Canada, has prompted it to increase its 2010 exploration budget by 45% to $110 million, double what it spent in 2009.

During 2010, Agnico-Eagle drilling has extended deep mineralization at the Suuri and Roura zones at its Kittila mine in Finland, where strike length has been increased by 30%. Including shallower exploration drilling in the Rimpi, Ketolam, and Etela zones and conversion drilling at Suuri South, overall 2010 drilling at Kittila through the end of July totaled 58,570 m out of approximately 80,000 m expected for the full year.

At Agnico-Eagle’s Pinos Altos property in Chihuahua, Mexico, a $10.8-million 2010 exploration program is in progress. The program is divided between converting and extending resources in the areas of the Santo Nino and Oberon de Weber mines and the Creston Mascota satellite mine development, while also exploring several potential new satellite operations, such as the Sinter deposit and the new Cubiro zones, which already have initial gold resources.

At Meliadine, Agnico-Eagle plans to spend $130 million on project development over the next two and a half years, including a 200-km drill program, extraction of an underground bulk sample, permitting, and proposed construction of an all-season road. A feasibility study is scheduled for completion in 2012.