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KL Gold’s Q1 production exceeds guidance

The Fosterville gold mine in Australia. Credit: Kirkland Lake Gold

Kirkland Lake Gold (TSX:KL) (NYSE:KL) (ASX:KLA) recorded total production of 302,847 gold ounces in Q1 2021, exceeding its guidance of 270,000-290,000 ounces for the quarter, the company announced on Friday.

The strong results largely resulted from higher than expected production at both the Fosterville mine and Detour Lake mine in March, with Fosterville benefiting from significant grade outperformance and Detour Lake achieving higher than planned grades and tonnes processed.

Also during Q1 2021, the Macassa #4 Shaft project remained ahead of schedule, with shaft sinking reaching the 5,000-foot level as at March 31. The project remains on track for completion in late 2022.

All-in sustaining costs per ounce sold were expected to average over $900 during the first six months of 2021

“Q1 2021 is expected to be the lowest production quarter of the year with all three of our cornerstone assets being in low-grade cycles during this period. As we emerge from Q1, we are on track to achieve our full-year 2021 production guidance and are poised to have three strong quarters over the balance of the year,” CEO Tony Makuch said in the news release.

In December, Kirkland Lake indicated that production in 2021 would be weighted to the second half of the year largely reflecting mine sequencing, with lower grades expected at all three cornerstone assets early in the year, particularly in the first quarter. At that time, production guidance was provided, including 600,000-650,000 ounces for the first half of the year and 700,000-750,000 ounces for the final six months of 2021.

The December release also indicated that all-in sustaining costs (AISC) per ounce sold were expected to average over $900 during the first six months of 2021, with Q1 2021 being the highest, and then improving to approximately $700 in the second half of the year.

Later, in February 2021, the company reiterated this guidance and provided additional information on expected production during the first half of 2021, including production guidance of 270,000-290,000 ounces for Q1 and 330,000-360,000 ounces for the following quarter.

Shares of Kirkland Lake Gold rose 2.2% by midday’s trading on the NYSE. The Canadian gold producer has a market capitalization of around $9.7 billion.