Mad Money

Agnico Eagle CEO: There won't be a 'substantial' number of new gold mines built

Key Points
  • Agnico Eagle Mines CEO Sean Boyd says there won't be a "substantial" number of gold mines built in the coming years.
  • "It's getting much tougher to grow reserves. It's getting much tougher to grow production," Boyd tells Jim Cramer.
  • Boyd attributes it to increased lead time from additional permitting, as well as geographic difficulties.
Sean Boyd, CEO, Agnico Eagle
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

While demand for gold remains strong, the act of building mines has grown more difficult over the last decade, the CEO of a Canadian miner told CNBC's Jim Cramer on Tuesday.

"It's a lot tougher now than it was 10 or 15 years ago," ' Sean Boyd said on "Mad Money."

Several factors contribute to the increasing difficulty, including the geographic realities of opportune locations, Boyd said.

"The deposits that are being found now ... are found in parts of the world which lack infrastructure, are in parts of the world which countries may not want you there," Boyd said. "That's why it's also getting more challenging to find deposits."

Even if those challenges are met, there are more hurdles on the other side, Boyd explained, pointing to "mostly permitting" associated with tougher environmental regulations.

"That's another thing which limits supply. The lead time to build these assets [is] a lot longer, the capital required to build them a lot larger," he said. "That just makes it more difficult."

Shares of Agnico Eagle, which celebrated its 25th anniversary of being a public company Tuesday at the New York Stock Exchange, were trading slightly down Wednesday, around $58.

But for the year, the Toronto-based company is up about 44%.

The price of gold fell Wednesday as amid renewed optimism around a U.S.-China trade deal.

Spot gold was trading around $1,455 in the early afternoon, the fifth session in six that it fell.

It's also down from its September levels, when it was above $1,500, but Boyd said demand is still in a quality position.

"Still very strong demand coming out of central banks, coming out of regions like China and India," he said. "It's getting much tougher to grow reserves. It's getting much tougher to grow production, not just grow production but grow it in a way that actually improves the underlying quality of the business."

Even so, "I think that bodes well — even if gold is at $2,000, we're not going to see a substantial amount of new mine supply because it's just so difficult," he said.

Agnico Eagle CEO: Demand for gold remains strong, but it's increasingly difficult to build new mines
Agnico Eagle CEO: Demand for gold is strong, but it's hard to build new mines

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