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Alberta

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

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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)

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Alberta

Trevali plans to reopen New Brunswick’s Caribou zinc mine but with 150 fewer staff

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CALGARY — Trevali Mining Corp. says it plans to reopen its Caribou Mine near Bathurst, N.B., after idling it 10 months ago amid poor zinc prices, but will operate it with a workforce of about 250, down from about 400 employees and contractors before it was closed.

The Vancouver-based miner says it expects to return to mining in early February, with first payable zinc production expected by the end of March.

Chief financial officer Brendan Creaney says zinc prices have rebounded from about 82 cents US per pound when mine production stopped to the current level between US$1.20 and US$1.30 and Trevali has contracted about 80 per cent of Caribou’s volumes for two years to remove price risk.

The company says it has brought in Redpath Mining Inc. as an underground mining contractor and its expertise and supply of larger equipment is expected to allow production to resume at cash flow positive costs of between 84 and 90 cents cents per pound of zinc by 2022.

It hopes to produce up to 65 million pounds of payable zinc, 23 million pounds of lead and 650,000 ounces of silver in 2021. Zinc output is expected to rise to as much as 77 million pounds in 2022.

It plans capital spending at the mine of $9 million this year and $2 million next year.

“Our initial two-year plan includes several enhancements which are designed to improve the mine’s economics, including the involvement of a contracted mining operator and the entry into fixed-pricing arrangements for a significant portion of the mine’s forecasted production,” said Trevali CEO Ricus Grimbeek.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to study the potential to extend our initial mine plan, as well as explore further potential in the Bathurst mining camp.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TV)

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Alberta

French oil giant Total leaves U.S. energy group, months after exiting CAPP

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CALGARY — French oil and gas company Total says it will ditch its membership in the U.S.-based American Petroleum Institute because it disagrees on climate-related policies.

The move announced Friday follows its decision last July to drop out of the Calgary-based Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and write off $9.3-billion worth of oilsands assets in Alberta.

Total said in a statement Friday it would not renew its membership for 2021 following an analysis of API’s position on climate issues that has shown “certain divergences.”

The company notably mentions API’s “support during the recent elections to candidates who argued against the United States’ participation” in the 2015 Paris Agreement to curb climate change.

Total says it is working to provide cleaner energy and its CEO, Patrick Pouyanne, said the group wants to ensure that “the industry associations of which we are a member adopt positions and messages that are aligned with those of the group in the fight against climate change.”

Total said last summer it was leaving CAPP because of a “misalignment” between the organization’s public positions and those expressed in Total’s climate ambition statement announced last May.

At the time, CAPP CEO Tim McMillan called the decision “disappointing” and Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage called it “highly-hypocritical” given Total’s investments in other parts of the world.

Total’s decision to leave the API is significant, said Peter Frumhoff, the director of science and policy at the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

“It’s a very big deal for an oil major to take a position basically leaving the major trade association here in the United States,” he said.

With more than 600 members, API represents all segments of the oil and natural gas industry in the U.S.

Frumhoff said the move came just days after API’s president, Mike Summers, made a speech in which he said the group would fight regulation of methane emissions, restrictions on drilling on public lands and support for charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

He added that Total’s decision put pressure on oil companies BP and Shell, which both said they aim at fighting greenhouse gas emissions, “to put their political power where their mouth is and do the same.”

President-elect Joe Biden, who has said he wants to focus on fighting climate change, has pledged to have the U.S. rejoin the Paris accord on the first day of his presidency.

With files from the Associated Press

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january, 2021

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