Fosterville resilient to COVID-19 impacts

Fosterville gold mine in Victoria. Image: Kirkland Lake Gold

Kirkland Lake Gold has recorded strong production results for the June quarter as the Fosterville gold mine in Victoria continues to bolster its gold output.

The Fosterville mine achieved the highest production numbers out of the company’s assets, recording 155,106 ounces for the June quarter compared with 140,701 ounces in the prior corresponding period.

This was similar to last quarter’s figure (159,864), highlighting Fosterville’s resilience during COVID-19.

In total, Kirkland Lake produced 329,770 ounces in the June period, marking a 54 per cent increase from the 214,593 ounces produced in the prior corresponding quarter.

Kirkland Lake president and chief executive Tony Makuch said the second quarter had demonstrated the company’s solid performance.

“We had a very solid second quarter despite the impact of COVID-19 and the extensive measures we took to protect our workers, their families and our communities,” he said.

“In Australia, Fosterville continued to perform well, with tonnes processed increasing in the quarter and grades continuing to average around 40 grams per tonne.”

Year-to-date (YTD) production at Fosterville (314,970 ounces) was up by 17 per cent on the YTD results for 2019 (269,145 ounces).

The company stated the increase was due to a 21 per cent improvement to Fosterville’s average gold grade.

Kirkland Lake had revised its 2020 guidance as a result of COVID-19’s impact and uncertainties.

A production guidance of 1.35–1.4 million ounces has been set for this year, with production at the Detour Lake and Macassa mines in Canada expected to continue to increase.

Gold output at the Detour Lake Mine and Macassa mine totalled 131,992 ounces and 41,865 ounces for the June quarter, respectively.

“At Detour Lake, the ramp up of business activities after the mine was placed on reduced operations in March due to COVID-19 commenced in early May and has gone very well,” Makuch said.

“Detour Lake produced over 130,000 ounces in Q2 2020 even with lower average grades during the period of reduced operations due largely to processing stockpiled material.

“Turning to Macassa, our processing volumes were impacted by COVID-19 more than at other operations, which in combination with lower grades resulted in Q2 2020 production below planned levels.

“With our workforce now back to pre-COVID- 19 levels, recognising that our social distancing protocols remain in place, we expect to see higher volumes and improved grades at Macassa during the second half of the year.”

Operations at the company’s Holt Complex has been suspended since April, with the company continuing to assess “options for the future” at the site.

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