Canadian Mining Journal

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GOLD: Kirkland Lake reduces Detour Lake activities due to COVID-19



Detour Lake mine Credit: Detour Gold

Detour Lake mine Credit: Detour Gold

TORONTO – Kirkland Lake Gold has announced that it is temporarily reducing its workforce at the Detour Lake mine site to 300 people due to the COVID-19 threat; the camp typically hosts 1,100 workers.

As part of its COVID-19 response plan, the company also suspended all non-essential work across its mine sites. Additional precautions include medical screening prior to entry, enhanced cleaning and social distancing of staff as well as increased use of technology. There are no confirmed cases of the virus at any of Kirkland Lake’s projects.

Exploration activities have been suspended on a company-wide basis.

At the remote Detour open pit, some mill processing of mined and stockpiled material will continue, in addition to water level management during the spring run-off and environmental management work. Employees from First Nations communities and those who require airline transport are planned to remain off-site until the end of April.

At Detour Lake, additional site protocols have been implemented for assessment, isolation and medical evacuation of employees.

“While none of our employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the actions we are taking represent our best judgement, based on what we know today, on how to responsibly protect our people from the pandemic,” Tony Makuch, the company’s president and CEO, said in a release. “In the case of Detour, the increased risk represented by the remoteness of the mine and the camp environment requires a more extensive response. As a result, we are transitioning to reduced operations until April 30, 2020 in order to minimize the number of people required at the site.”

Detour will continue to produce gold, although at a lower output level. At this time, the impact of the reduced operations on the mine’s production guidance for the year is unknown.

In addition, the company announced that it will terminate its automatic share purchase plan (ASPP), launched in February, to maintain financial strength. To date, the company has repurchased 10.4 million of its common shares under a normal course issuer bid for repurchase of up to 10.5 million shares, including 1.9 million shares through the ASPP.

The company’s most recent production guidance for this year was at 1.47 million oz. to 1.54 million oz., including 11 months of operations at Detour following closing of the takeover transaction at the end of January.

For more information, visit www.KLGold.com.