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Fosterville gold mine in Victoria. Image: Kirkland Lake Gold

Kirkland Lake Gold president and chief executive officer Tony Makuch has described 2020 as the company’s best year ever despite it withdrawing production guidance in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company overcame the challenges associated with the pandemic, with Victorian gold mine Fosterville leading the way with record production of a record 640,467 ounces of gold in the 2020 financial year.

Fosterville carried this momentum into the 2021 financial year, producing 164,008 ounces during the December quarter, compared with last December’s record quarterly production of 191,894 ounces.

This helped the company through tougher times at its international assets, including the Holt complex in Canada, at which Kirkland Lake conducted a strategic review of the assets in July, leading to its suspension until further notice.

“Faced with unprecedented challenges, we generated solid results, with production of 1.36 million ounces, achieving our full year 2020 guidance,” Makuch said.

“Our strong performance was driven by Fosterville, which generated record production of 640,467 ounces, including better than expected results during the fourth (December) quarter.

“Looking at our operating performance, in many respects our team had its best ever year in 2020.”

As well as continuing high gold production levels at Fosterville, Kirkland Lake completed a twin exploration drive into the Robbin’s Hill target, advancing more than 3200 metres.

The company will begin further underground drilling from the drive later this year, securing a long future of gold mining at the Fosterville operations.

Fosterville infill drilling also returned higher than expected grades from the Swan Zone and confirmed mineralised systems at Robbin’s Hill, Cygnet and Harrier.

This makes the company confident that it may discover new high-grade zones within these three targets.

“We achieved very encouraging drill results at all of our cornerstone assets,” Makuch said.

“(This) supports our view that Detour Lake (Canada), Macassa (Canada) and Fosterville are not just three very profitable operations, they are also three of the most exciting exploration stories in the industry.”