JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Triple-listed Kirkland Lake Gold has finished the 2017 financial year strong, achieving record production across the board and surpassing an already-improved guidance.
Kirkland achieved full-year 2017 production of 596 405 oz – a 10% increase on the prior year – beating its revised guidance of 580 000 oz to 595 000 oz, with all operating mines across Canada and Australia individually achieving record full-year output.
“We had a successful year in 2017, achieving record results at all of our operating mines, beating our improved consolidated production guidance, which had been increased three times during the year, and reporting solid growth in mineral reserves,” said Kirkland CEO and president Tony Makuch.
Star performer Fosterville, in Victoria, Australia, reported a 74% year-on-year increase in output to a record 263 845 oz of gold, while Macassa, in Ontario, Canada, also produced a record 194 237 oz, an 11% increase from full-year 2016 production of 175 167 oz.
Full-year 2017 production at Holt, in Matheson, Ontario, increased 17% to a record 66 677 oz, while production at Taylor, also in Matheson, increased 19% to 50 764 oz.
The Cosmo operation, in the Northern Territory, Australia, produced a total of 20 595 oz prior to its suspension on June 30, 2017. No production was recorded from Cosmo in the fourth quarter.
“Particularly encouraging was our strong finish to the year, with the fourth quarter of 2017 being our best quarter ever for production,” Makuch said.
Consolidated quarterly production in the last quarter of the year under review totalled 166 579 oz, a 9% increase from the corresponding period the year before and a 20% rise on the preceding third quarter.
The company also posted strong growth in mineral reserves, particularly at Fosterville, where reserves more than doubled in 2017 to over one-million ounces at an average grade of 17.9 g/t, and at Macassa, where mineral reserves increased 37% to two-million ounces at an average grade of 20.8 g/t.
“Over the last year, Fosterville has joined our Macassa mine as one of the world’s highest-grade gold producers, with mineral reserve ounces and the average reserve grade more than doubling, and yearly production capacity increasing to over a quarter-million ounces a year, with more growth to come,” he commented.
Kirkland plans to “keep building momentum” through additional production growth, improved unit costs and further increases to mineral reserves and resources based on continued exploration success.
“We will also remain focused on generating shareholder returns through continued operational effectiveness, strong financial performance and disciplined investment for future growth,” Makuch said.
The company ended the year with a strong balance sheet, with cash and cash equivalents of about $230-million as at December 31, 2017, and no debt.