Kirkland Lake Gold’s Tony Makuch our Mining Person of the Year for 2019 – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – February 20, 2020)

Global mining news

Tony Makuch, president and CEO of Kirkland Lake Gold, is The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year for 2019. Under his leadership, Kirkland Lake Gold has outperformed its peers in the last 24 months. The company’s shares rose by 60% last year, it raised its dividend twice and more than doubled its cash position, ending 2019 with US$707 million in cash and equivalents.

Kirkland Lake Gold operates two of the highest grade gold mines in the world and produced a record 974,615 ounces of gold in 2019, a 35% year-on-year increase, anchored by its Macassa mine in Ontario, Canada and its Fosterville mine in the state of Victoria, Australia. It also produces gold at its Holt complex – a trio of mines (Holt, Taylor and Holloway) in Ontario.

Consolidated operating cash costs fell 22% year-on-year to US$284 per oz. sold, while all-in sustaining costs declined 18% to US$564 per oz. sold. Net earnings jumped 104% year-on-year to US$560 million or $2.67 per share, and free cash flow totalled US$463 million, an 81% increase over 2018.

In January the company completed the all-share acquisition of Detour Gold, adding Detour’s mine in northern Ontario to its portfolio of producing assets, and entrenching Kirkland Lake Gold as a senior gold producer. The transaction added 14.8 million oz. gold in open-pit reserves to Kirkland Lake Gold’s mineral reserve base and exploration targets within its 1,040 sq. km land position in the prolific Abitibi Greenstone belt.

The low grade open-pit Detour mine adds near-term risk and marks a departure for Kirkland Lake Gold, which has had such success at its high-grade underground operations, but Makuch and his team believe the long-life Detour mine and associated exploration upside makes it an attractive cornerstone asset.

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