Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. gained permission to build a key $21 million roadway in northern Canada that is part of its plan to develop its Meliadine gold project, the Toronto-based company said Tuesday.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board has permitted Agnico-Eagle to build the 24 kilometer, all-weather road from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, to the Meliadine project.

Agnico-Eagle bought Meliadine, which is 186 miles from its Meadowbank gold mine, last year from Comaplex. First discovered in 1990, Meliadine has 3.29 million ounces of measured and indicated gold resources from 12,947,500 metric tons, the company said.

The NIRB decision is a major milestone in the development of the Meliadine project as this will allow us to move to year-round operations, the company said in a statement. We hope to begin construction later in March.

Work is already underway to obtain the remaining approvals prior to the start of construction: a Type B Water License from the Nunavut Water Board, land use permits from the Kivalliq Inuit Association, Government of Nunavut and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and navigable water crossing approvals from Transport Canada.