Kirkland Lake to bolster Fosterville output with exploration boost

The Fosterville operation. Image: Kirkland Lake Gold

Kirkland Lake Gold has reduced the bottom range of its 2021 production guidance on this year’s forecast after revealing it anticipates lower output from the Fosterville gold mine in Victoria.

The production would be lower from the 2019 and 2020 levels as the high-grade components of Fosterville’s existing mineral reserve involved a short production life.

Kirkland Lake is now targeting to produce 1.3 to 1.4 million ounces of gold next year, representing a slight reduction of its bottom range on this year’s guidance of 1.35 to 1.4 million ounces.

This drives Kirkland Lake to plan for the largest exploration a program at Fosterville since acquiring the mine in 2016, including $US85 to $US95 million ($113 to $126 million) of drilling and development next year.

The company seeks to identify additional high-grade zones to provide future production at Fosterville, following a streak of rising production at the site over the years.

“When you consider that we have identified a number of large mineralised systems, all including intersections containing quartz with visible gold, we remain optimistic that additional high-grade zones can be identified,” Kirkland Lake president Tony Makuch said.

“Our challenge is to maintain a sustainable and economic operation while we continue to drill to identify the next high-grade area for future mining.”

Kirkland Lake expects to produce 400,000–425,000 ounces at Fosterville next year, before moving to a range of 325,000–400,000 ounces in 2022 and 2023.

As of early November this year, the company has delivered 476,459 ounces of gold for 2020.

Kirkland Lake also flagged that the 2021 production at all its sites would be weighted to the second half of the year.

Production at the company’s Canada operations in Detour Lake and Macassa is expected to grow significantly next year, while the Fosterville mine transitions to a lower grade profile.

Kirkland Lake expects to deliver 680,000–720,000 ounces at Detour Lake and 220,000–255,000 ounces at Macassa.

The company is maintaining its all-in sustaining costs target at $US790–$US810 ($1046–$1073.

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