Midtier gold producer Kirkland Lake is positioned for a strong finish to the year, president and CEO Tony Makuch said on Tuesday, announcing another revision to the company’s production guidance for 2018.
The miner, which operates in Canada and Australia, increased its full-year guidance to between 655 000 oz and 670 000 oz, at an all-in sustaining cost of $735/oz to $760/oz.
This compares with a previous guidance of more than 635 000 oz and its initial guidance of 620 000 oz.
“Based on our performance year to date, we have been able to announce significant improvements to our 2018 consolidated production and unit cost guidance for a second time during the year,” said Makuch.
In the first nine months of the year, Kirkland Lake produced 492 484 oz – a 15% improvement on the prior-year period. Its third-quarter production increased to 180 155 oz, a 30% increase from 139 092 oz in the third quarter of 2017 and a 9% increase from 164 685 oz in the second quarter of 2018.
The company reported third-quarter net earnings of $55.9-million, or $0.27 a share, and adjusted net earnings of $60.6-million, or $0.29 a share. Net earnings increased by 28% year-on-year.
Record gold sales of 184 517 oz in the third quarter pushed revenue up by 26% year-on-year to $222.7-million.
At September 30, Kirkland Lake had $257.2-million in cash – an 11% improvement on December 31.
“The third quarter provided a clear demonstration of our company’s ability to internally fund the growth projects needed to reach our goal of a million ounces per year of production. We generated over $50-million of free cash flow during the quarter at the same time that gold prices declined and we ramped up growth capital expenditures,” Makuch said.
At Macassa, in Canada, work on the #4 shaft project included sinking the shaft collar and completing the headframe foundation in preparation for the concrete work to establish the 215-ft headframe, which started in early October and was completed later in the month. The miner remains on track to start full-face shaft sinking of the #4 shaft by the second quarter of next year.
Makuch reported that Kirkland Lake had also advanced the ventilation, paste-fill plant and water treatment projects at Fosterville, in Australia, which resulted in higher growth capital expenditures compared with the previous quarter. A new gravity circuit was also installed and commissioned at the Fosterville mill during the third quarter and had since seen the recovery of gravity gold increase to more than 50% of total ounces produced.
“Entering the fourth quarter, we are positioned for a strong finish to 2018. Our operations are poised to deliver another quarter of solid production, cost and financial results. We will also continue our exploration programmes and anticipate releasing additional drill results before year end, building on the encouraging results we have already announced from Fosterville, Macassa, the Northern Territory and Taylor.
“While still finalising our budgets, we can look ahead to 2019 as another year of strong results and progress, including higher levels of production, continued low unit costs and solid financial performance,” he said.