PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The shareholders of ASX-, TSX- and NYSE-listed Kirkland Lake Gold have approved a merger of equals with TSX- and NYSE-listed Agnico Eagle Mines.
The two companies in September struck a C$13.4-billion ‘merger of equals’, under which Kirkland Lake shareholders would receive 0.7935 of an Agnico Eagle common share for each share held.
Kirkland on Monday reported that more than 186.8-million shares, representing 70.85% of the company, had been voted at the meeting, with the merger approved by more than 150.6-million shares, or 80.65% of the votes cast by shareholders.
Agnico Eagle shareholders also approved the issuance of Agnico shares in connection with the merger, at a special meeting.
“We are pleased that our shareholders have voted in favour of the merger of equals with Agnico Eagle,” said Kirkland president and CEO Tony Makuch.
“Through the merger, we will establish a new leader in the gold industry, with superior performance, significant financial strength, an extensive pipeline of development and exploration projects to support sustainable, low-risk growth and leadership in key areas of environmental, social and governance. We look forward to completing the merger following receipt of final regulatory approvals, and to moving ahead with the new Agnico Eagle.
“We believe this will be a company positioned to generate superior long-term returns for shareholders going forward,” Makuch added.
The transaction, which would establish the new Agnico Eagle, implies a combined market capitalisation of about $24-billion. Upon closing, existing Agnico Eagle and Kirkland Lake Gold shareholders will own about 54% and 46% of the combined company, respectively.
Upon closing of the merger, the company will have $2.3-billion of available liquidity, a mineral reserve base of 48-million ounces of gold and an extensive pipeline of development and exploration projects.
Meanwhile, Kirkland on Monday told shareholders that the company had received advice from the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of low-level frequency noise being detected at the Fosterville operations.
The EPA has provided the company with a Notice to Investigate and an Improvement Notice focused on the low-level frequency noise which it believes is emanating from the mine.
Included within the notices are stated timelines covering a period of just over two months for investigating and resolving the issue of low-frequency noise as well as reporting to the EPA on modifications introduced and new testing completed. In addition, the EPA has indicated that additional action may be taken by the EPA that could result in restrictions on the use of certain equipment, primarily surface ventilation fans and surface drill rigs in the south portion of the mining lease, during the night, while the remediation period is completed.
The potential impact of such measures on the Fosterville operations, should they be introduced, is currently being investigated.
Kirkland told shareholders that management at Fosterville has been aware of concerns expressed by residents in recent months regarding low-level frequency noise and has taken steps to evaluate and address these concerns.
As part of these efforts, Fosterville commissioned two independent studies on noise levels produced by the mine. The studies were completed by accredited noise and acoustic specialist firms based in Australia, with both studies concluding that all mine generated noise was within regulatory limits.
Kirkland is now working with the EPA to better understand the grounds for the notices being issued and will take the necessary steps to ensure its operations are in compliance with all relevant regulatory requirements.