The Fosterville Mine in Australia was the main driver behind a “record year” for Kirkland Lake Gold.
The Toronto-headquarter miner announced its 2019 and fourth quarter results on Jan. 9.
“Kirkland Lake Gold had its best year ever in 2019,” said Kirkland Lake Gold president-CEO Tony Makuch in a news release.
“We increased production 35 per cent, more than doubled our cash position, and continued to achieve significant exploration success.”
The company's cash position increased 15 per cent during the fourth quarter, ending the year at $705 million.
The year-end combined results of gold production from its operations at Kirkland Lake, Matheson and in southern Australia came in at 974,615 ounces.
Fosterville, in the state of Victoria, exceeded its 2019 production target of between 570,000 and 610,000 ounces with a final tally of 619,000 ounces.
Production at the Macassa Mine at Kirkland Lake remained largely unchanged from the previous year, totaling 241,297 ounces, which was in line with its 2019 goal of between 240,000 and 250,000 ounces.
Full-year production at the Holt Complex near Matheson (consisting of the Holt, Taylor and Holloway Mines) dropped to 113,952 ounces in 2019, compared to the 127,344 ounces produced in 2018. The company said it's reviewing its plans for Holt.
Fosterville and Macassa continue to be a hotbed of exploration.
In Kirkland Lake, drilling continues to the east and west of the South Mine Complex to extend high-grade gold mineralization.
Makuch said the exploration drill results from Fosterville and Macassa “are very encouraging and support our view that these mines are not only among the world’s most profitable operations, they also represent two of the most exciting exploration projects in the gold industry today.”
The company also made some strategic moves in 2019, spending $32.5 million to acquire 57 million shares of Wallbridge Mining, then announced a Nov. 25 deal to acquire Detour Gold.
Adding a “third cornerstone asset” in the Detour Lake Mine, the company said, should create between $75 million and $100 million in “value creation opportunities” annually considering the expansion and exploration potential.
Kirkland Lake Gold shareholders have their chance to vote on the transaction on Jan.28.
The company said its Australian operations have not been affected by the devastating bush fires, but they will be donating $1 million to support relief and recovery efforts, and are initiating a program with Country Fire Authority to assist in funding new projects aimed at improving fire readiness.