Kirkland Lake Gold (TSX: KL; NYSE: KL; ASX: KLA) announced that the new, $240-million #4 shaft at its Macassa gold mine reached its planned depth of 1,950 metres on Jan. 12. The remaining work includes construction of the loading pocket and additional development to connect the shaft to the mining operations. That work is to be completed by the end of this year.
The shaft sinking project was announced in January 2018, as part of Kirkland Lake’s push toward annual output of 1 million oz. gold.
The shaft will benefit the Macassa project in numerous ways. It will play a part in de-risking the operation, improving ventilation and working conditions, and support higher production and lower unit costs. Importantly, the shaft will allow efficient underground exploration to the east of the South mine complex, where previously deep drilling was done from the surface.
The four-compartment shaft is concrete-lined and has a diameter of 6.6 metres. It has a hoisting capacity is 4,000 t/d (ore and waste). The 66-metre headframe was erected in just 11 days. The double deck cage will accommodate 63 people per deck; and there is a double-deck auxiliary cage with capacity of seven people per deck. Loading pockets have been developed in the 5360, 6100 and 6300 levels.
Production at Macassa during 2021 totalled 210,192 oz. gold, an increase of 15% over the previous year. The new shaft is expected to help increase that to 400,000 oz. annually. The mill treated 333,386 tonnes at an average head grade of 20 g/t and average recoveries of 98.1% gold.
Kirkland Lake and Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM) announced their merger of equals last September. Shareholders of both companies have approved the move, and it has been announced that Kirkland Lake president and CEO will take up those responsibilities as CEO the new Agnico Eagle. Agnico president will retain his role, and current Agnico vice-chairman and CEO Sean Boyd will become chairman.
Upon closing, the new company is expected to have $2.3 billion of available liquidity, a mineral reserve base of 48 million oz gold (969 million tonnes at 1.53 g/t). There will also be an extensive pipeline of development and exploration projects.
Closing is to occur on or before Mar. 31, subject to customary conditions.
Kirkland Lake posted record production in 2021 ahead of the merger.