Bullion producer Kirkland Lake, which is merging with Agnico Eagle, has finished 2021 with record full-year production, driven by a stellar performance from the Fosterville mine, in Australia.
The miner produced 1.43-million ounces of gold in 2021, exceeding its original guidance of 1.3-million to 1.4-million, as well as the improved guidance of 1.35-million to 1.4-million ounces issued in November.
Kirkland explained that the outperformance was driven by the Fosterville mine, which yielded 509 601 oz, compared with the original guidance of 400 000 oz to 425 000 oz and the improved guidance of about 500 000 oz.
The record full-year production was 5% higher than the group’s output in 2020 of 1.37-million ounces.
Fourth-quarter production was also at an all-time high, with output of 380 472 oz, driven by a record performance at Detour Lake of 210 980 oz and a 33% quarter-on-quarter increase in production at the Macassa mine to 51 336 oz. Both mines are in Ontario, Canada.
Meanwhile, Kirkland Lake has also made significant progress towards completing its merger with Agnico Eagle.
Both sets of shareholders approved the merger at special meetings in November, followed by approval from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in December.
President and CEO Tony Makuch reported on Monday that the companies were currently awaiting Foreign Investment Review Board approval in Australia.
“Based on expected timelines, we are targeting closing of the merger between late January and mid-February, after which we plan to finalise the consolidated 2022 budget for the new Agnico Eagle and to release consolidated guidance to the market in the second half of February,” he said.
Makuch added that, focusing on Kirkland Lake’s assets, both Detour Lake and Fosterville entered 2022 well positioned to achieve production during the year, in line with previously-issued guidance
At Macassa, however, Kirkland is reviewing the operation to assess opportunities to incorporate Agnico Eagle’s Amalgamated Kirkland Zone into the mine plan, to address ongoing performance and supply chain issues related to batteries and the battery-powered haul fleet, and to evaluate future plans for the near-surface ramp and mineralised zones, he said.
“Based on work to date, we expect a reduction in production in 2022 from levels included in our previously-issued three-year guidance.”
Makuch will be the CEO of the new Agnico Eagle.