Fosterville pushes through COVID-19 restrictions

The Fosterville operation. Image: Kirkland Lake Gold

Kirkland Lake Gold expects the coronavirus pandemic to impact the production profile of the Fosterville operations in Victoria.

The company achieved a grade of 42.4 grams per tonne at Fosterville in the March quarter, a 46 per cent increase from the prior corresponding period.

However, it falls short of the record grade of 49.3 grams per tonne in the previous quarter.

Fosterville has continued to be Kirkland Lake’s key driver of performance in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.

Though all non-essential work was suspended at the mine, operations continued throughout the crisis.

Fosterville’s output largely remained at target levels, with Kirkland Lake producing 159,864 ounces during the first quarter.

This was 24 per cent higher than the 128,445 ounces produced in the prior corresponding period.

Kirkland Lake withdrew its three-year production guidance to assess the pandemic’s impact on Fosterville, as well as on the Macassa and Holt Complex operations in Canada.

The company also suspended test mining, processing and exploration activities at the Cosmo mine in the Northern Territory. The operations were declared as non-core in February to reflect their test production results to date.

“Throughout my career, I have seen that, in times of adversity, quality people rise to the occasion. Faced with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our team did extremely well protecting themselves and each other, while also turning in a very solid performance for the quarter,” Kirkland Lake chief executive Tony Makuch said.

“We also have … attractive exploration targets at Fosterville and Detour Lake and, though our exploration programs have been disrupted by COVID-19, we are taking steps to resume work and continue to see exploration success at our cornerstone assets as an important potential catalyst for value creation in 2020.”

Kirkland Lake also saw an increase in royalty expense by $7.2 million due to the Victorian Government’s introduction of 2.75 per cent sales royalty in January.

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