Kirkland Lake Gold is set to suspend test mining and processing at the Cosmo mine and Union Reefs processing plant in the Northern Territory by the end of the month.
This follows Kirkland Lake’s strategic review rendering the North Territory assets as non-core, given the quality of the Fosterville mine (Victoria), Detour Lake and Macassa (both in Canada).
The decision will impact around 250 employees, with up to 40 employees being retained to advance Kirkland Lake’s existing rehabilitation and exploration work plans in the Northern Territory.
Sixty per cent of company employees are locally based.
“(Kirkland Lake) highly values the hard work and dedication of its workforce in the Northern Territory and will provide full entitlements and redeployment assistance to employees affected by the decision,” the company stated in a media release.
“Opportunities for re-deployment for employees will be explored with the Minerals Council – (Northern Territory) branch with support from the Territory Government and the company’s human resources department.”
Kirkland Lake stated it had already received expressions of interest from other companies in the mining sector which were looking to complement their workforce.
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) Northern Territory director Drew Wagner said securing future jobs for the North Territory’s minerals workforce would be the priority for the mining industry.
“A joint taskforce of industry, registered training organisations and government should be formed immediately to create pathways to employment across other sites and similar industries, including retraining to help Territory families stay here,” he said.
“The Northern Territory Government can also assist by accelerating project approvals, opening up the project pipeline and creating new jobs.”
Kirkland Lake intends to continue exploration activities at the Pine Creek region and progress the environmental impact statement for the Union Reefs North underground mine.
It also plans to continue upgrading water treatment infrastructure at the Cosmo Howley mine and Union Reefs to meet all water discharge conditions.