Fosterville operates as normal under new health and safety measures

The high-grade Fosterville mine in Victoria. Image: Kirkland Lake Gold

Kirkland Lake Gold has kept the Fosterville gold mine near Bendigo, Victoria at full levels of production after introducing new coronavirus health and safety protocols.

The measures include the suspension of all non-essential work at Fosterville, which has been introduced at the site on a precautionary basis.

Kirkland Lake has implemented a company-wide management taskforce, which meets daily to assess emerging developments both within Victoria and Australia-wide.

A separate Australian management taskforce also meets to ensure the utmost safety at the site.

At the time of writing, there have been no reported cases of coronavirus in the Bendigo area.

“We are working very hard to respond quickly and responsibly to new developments related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic,” chief executive officer and president Tony Makuch said.

“We do not make decisions to suspend or reduce operations lightly, recognising the impact such decisions can have on employment as well as community investment and support.”

In 2019, Kirkland Lake Gold produced 619,366 ounces of gold, at a recovery rate of 98.8 per cent.

This included a record production performance in the December 2019 quarter of 279,742 ounces.

In the Northern Territory, Kirkland Lake has permanently suspended test mining at the Cosmo mine and test processing at the Union Reefs mill.

These tests commenced last October, as part of an advanced exploration program to assess whether commercial operations could continue at these assets, which were placed on care and maintenance in 2017.

Based on results since October and other priorities for investments and growth, Kirkland Lake decided test mining and processing was not warranted at the present time.

Kirkland Lake has also suspended all exploration drilling, but a small workforce remains operational in the Northern Territory, completing ongoing mine rehabilitation programs.

The Canadian company’s home-based operations in Ontario have not been as lucky as Fosterville; with temporary suspensions at the Holt complex and reduced operations at the Macassa mine.

This is due to strict interprovincial travel limits in Canada, making it “increasingly difficult to maintain normal business activities.”

Kirkland Lake’s Canadian operations will be suspended and reduced until at least April 30.

The company is providing employees with their base wages for the month of April, to help them get through this period.

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