UPDATE 2-Agnico-Eagle profit drops; La India ahead of schedule

Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:07pm EDT
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* Q1 EPS $0.14 vs $0.46 a year earlier

* Revenue drops 11 percent to $423.2 million

* CEO sees opportunity in low prices; highlights South America

By Allison Martell

TORONTO, April 25 (Reuters) - Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd reported a drop in quarterly profit on Thursday, hurt in part by lower gold prices and production, and raised its forecast cash costs for the year.

The Toronto-based company said its La India project in Mexico is now expected to start commercial production in the first quarter of 2014, rather than the second quarter.

Agnico is pushing to increase production, despite the fact that economic uncertainty had prompted many of its rivals to clamp down on spending and shelve new developments even before gold prices plunged earlier this month.

"We think it's an over-reaction in the market," Chief Executive Sean Boyd said of the price drop. "We just see it really as a time of opportunity, we don't view it as a time to sit on our hands."

The company has made several small investments in junior miners in recent months.   Continued...