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Detour Gold purchase helps drive Kirkland Lake to higher gold production in 2020

CALGARY — Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. is reporting full-year 2020 gold output of 1.37 million ounces, a 41 per cent increase from 2019 and in line with guidance.

The increase in production was driven largely by the all-stock $4.34-billion purchase of Detour Gold Corp. early in the year, which contributed 517,000 ounces from Jan. 31 to Dec. 31.

But the Toronto-based miner says all three of its "cornerstone assets" finished strongly, achieving their highest quarterly production levels of 2020 in the fourth quarter.

It says consolidated production in the last three months of 2020 was 369,000 ounces, up 32 per cent from the year-earlier period and nine per cent higher than the third quarter.

The company says its Fosterville mine in Australia beat its 2020 guidance by 30,000 ounces, registering a record 640,000 ounces in 2020 versus 619,000 ounces in 2019.

Kirkland Lake reports returning US$848 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividend payments in 2020, including US$732 million to repurchase 18.9 million shares. It adds it bought more than one million more shares in the first week of January to reach its goal of 20 million announced last February.

"Looking at our operating performance, in many respects our team had its best year ever in 2020," said CEO Tony Makuch in a statement, noting the negative impact of COVID-19 provisions at its Detour Lake and Macassa mines in Ontario.

"Looking at Detour Lake, we are extremely pleased with our acquisition of the mine on Jan. 31, 2020, which was clearly a case of the right deal at the right time."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:KL)

The Canadian Press