Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. (TSX:KL) (NYSE:KL) (ASX:KLA) announced record quarterly production for the second quarter of 2021 of 379,195 ounces, a 15% increase from the second quarter of 2020 and 25% higher than the previous quarter, with all three of the Company’s operations achieving increased production from both prior periods. For the first half of 2021, production totalled 682,042 ounces, a 3% increase from the first half of 2020, reflecting higher production at Detour Lake and Macassa. All dollar amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars, unless otherwise noted.
Highlights of Q2 2021 Production Results
Other Highlights of Q2 2021
Tony Makuch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kirkland Lake Gold, commented: “We generated record quarterly production in Q2 2021 and completed the first half of the year well positioned to achieve our full-year 2021 production guidance of 1,300,000 – 1,400,000 ounces, with our expectation now being to finish the year in the top half of the guidance range. The record production in Q2 2021 was largely driven by strong results at Fosterville, as well as higher levels of production at both Detour Lake and Macassa compared to both Q2 2020 and the previous quarter. Higher than planned production at Fosterville was mainly related to continued grade outperformance and changes in mine sequencing which resulted in an improved grade profile for the quarter. At Detour Lake, we achieved record production driven by increased mill throughput and a significant improvement in grade, with the average grade of 0.96 g/t in line with the current Mineral Reserve grade for the operation. Improved results at Macassa reflected increased processing rates, to an average of just under 1,000 tpd, as well as higher than expected grades. Both Detour Lake and Macassa are targeting further improvement in average grades over the balance of the year. At June 30, 2021, all three of our cornerstone assets were on track to achieve their full-year 2021 production guidance, with Fosterville positioned to potentially beat its guidance of 400,000 – 425,000 ounces.”
1) See “Non-IFRS Measures” beginning on page 26 of the Company’s MD&A for the three months ended March 31, 2021.
Q2 and YTD 2021 Production Results
|Q2 2021||Q2 2020||Q1 2021||YTD 2021||YTD 2020|
|Ore Milled (tonnes)||170,315||123,473||174,206||344,520||242,174|
|Grade (g/t Au)||29.2||39.5||19.8||24.4||40.9|
|Gold Production (ozs)||157,993||155,106||108,679||266,672||314,970|
|Ore Milled (tonnes)||90,796||77,624||76,231||167,027||159,880|
|Grade (g/t Au)||19.3||17.2||19.8||19.5||18.5|
|Gold Production (ozs)||55,322||41,865||47,437||102,759||92,726|
|Ore Milled (tonnes)||5,881,953||5,655,992||5,701,704||11,583,657||9,364,014|
|Grade (g/t Au)||0.96||0.79||0.87||0.91||0.81|
|Gold Production (ozs)||165,880||131,992||146,731||312,611||223,547|
|Ore Milled (tonnes)||–||6,192||–||–||215,318|
|Grade (g/t Au)||–||4.0||–||–||4.5|
|Gold Production (ozs)||–||807||–||–||29,391|
|Total Consolidated Production (ozs)3||379,195||329,770||302,847||682,042||660,634|
|Total Consolidated Gold Sales (ozs)||364,575||341,390||308,029||672,605||685,976|
|1)||The Detour Lake Mine was acquired on January 31, 2020. Q1 2020 production represents output from that date to March 31, 2020. YTD 2020 production represents output from that date to June 30, 2020.|
|2)||The Holloway Mine, a component of Holt Complex, was placed on care and maintenance in March 2020 with no plans for a resumption of operations. The remainder of the Holt Complex was placed on temporary suspension effective April 2, 2020 as part of the Company’s COVID-19 response. In July 2020, the Company announced that operations at the Holt Complex would remain suspended until further notice.|
|3)||Production numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.|
Performance Against Full-Year 2021 Production Guidance
|2021 Guidance (,000 ozs)||220 – 255||680 – 720||400 – 425||1,300 – 1,400|
|YTD 2021 Production (ozs)||102,759||312,611||266,672||682,042|
Review of Operations
The Fosterville Mine produced 157,993 ounces in Q2 2021 based on processing 170,315 tonnes at an average grade of 29.2 g/t and average mill recoveries of 98.7%. Production for the quarter was significantly above planned levels driven largely by continued grade outperformance in the Swan Zone, as well as changes to mine sequencing with high-grade Swan Zone stopes initially planned for Q4 2021 being advanced into Q2 2021. The 157,993 ounces of production in Q2 2021 was slightly higher than the 155,106 ounces produced in Q2 2020 and increased 45% from 108,679 ounces the previous quarter. The increase versus Q1 2021 was driven by a 47% improvement in the average grade. The Swan Zone accounted for 53% of tonnes milled in Q2 2021 and 79% of ounces produced compared to 62% and 85%, respectively, in Q2 2020 and 42% and 72%, respectively, the previous quarter.
Production at Fosterville for YTD 2021 totalled 266,672 ounces which compared to 314,970 ounces for YTD 2020. The change in production from YTD 2020 reflected a lower average grade consistent with the Company’s previously stated plan to reduce production in the Swan Zone by increasing mining activities in other, lower-grade, areas of the mine, with the intention of creating a more sustainable operation over a longer period while the Company continues its extensive exploration program. The Swan Zone accounted for 47% of tonnes milled and 76% of ounces produced in YTD 2021 versus 62% and 89%, respectively, for the same period in 2020. Fosterville ended YTD 2021 well positioned to meet, and potentially beat, its full-year 2021 production guidance of 400,000 – 425,000 ounces.
Detour Lake achieved record quarterly production in Q2 2021 of 165,880 ounces based on processing 5,881,953 tonnes at an average grade of 0.96 g/t and average recoveries of 91.5%. The 165,880 ounces of production was 26% higher than the 131,992 ounces produced in Q2 2020 and increased 13% from the previous quarter. The increase in production quarter over quarter mainly reflected a significant improvement in the average grade, as the mine sequenced into higher grade areas as part of the Phase 2 mining plan during Q2 2021, as well as an increase in tonnes processed, with first quarter throughput typically the lowest of the year due to seasonal factors (record first quarter throughput achieved in Q1 2021).
Production at Detour Lake for YTD 2021 totalled 312,611 ounces, which resulted from processing 11,583,657 tonnes at an average grade of 0.91 g/t and average recoveries of 91.8%. Production in YTD 2021 increased 40% from 223,547 ounces for the five months following the acquisition of Detour Lake on January 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020 and was 16% higher than the 270,043 ounces produced for the full six-month period ending June 30, 2020. The increase in production versus the same period in 2020 mainly reflected a 12% improvement in the average grade. Average grades are expected to improve further during the second half of the year, with the Company continuing to target full-year 2021 production at Detour Lake of 680,000 – 720,000 ounces.
Production at Macassa in Q2 2021 totalled 55,322 ounces based on processing 90,796 tonnes at an average grade of 19.3 g/t and average recoveries of 97.9%. Q2 2021 production was 32% higher than 41,865 ounces in Q2 2020 and increased 17% from 47,437 ounces the previous quarter. Higher tonnes processed in Q2 2021 compared to both prior periods mainly reflected increased tonnage due largely to better than anticipated widths and strike lengths from stopes in the South Mine Complex, as well as processing from surface stockpiles.
Production at Macassa for YTD 2021 totalled 102,759 ounces, based on processing 167,027 tonnes at an average grade of 19.5 g/t and average recoveries of 97.9%, an 11% increase from 92,726 ounces for the same period in 2020 reflecting a higher average grade and increased tonnes processed. The Company expects higher grades at Macassa over the remainder of 2021 with the mine continuing to target full-year 2021 production of 220,000 – 255,000 ounces.
Operations were suspended at the Holt Complex effective April 2, 2020. As a result, there was no production from Holt Complex during Q2 and YTD 2021. For YTD 2020, production from Holt Complex totalled 29,391 ounces, of which 28,584 ounces were produced during Q1 2020.
Natasha Vaz, P.Eng., Chief Operating Officer, is a “qualified person” as defined in National Instrument 43-101 and has reviewed and approved disclosure of the technical information and data in this News Release.
About Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd.
Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. is a senior gold producer operating in Canada and Australia that is targeting 1,300,000 – 1,400,000 ounces of production in 2021. The production profile of the Company is anchored by three high-quality operations, including the Macassa Mine and Detour Lake Mine, both located in Northern Ontario, and the Fosterville Mine located in the state of Victoria, Australia. Kirkland Lake Gold’s solid base of quality assets is complemented by district scale exploration potential, supported by a strong financial position with extensive management expertise.
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