Under the guiding force of gold bull Eric Sprott, Kirkland Lake Gold is starting to cement its position as one of the leading backers of underdeveloped WA gold projects.
CHAIRED by renowned billionaire gold investor Eric Sprott, Kirkland Lake Gold emerged as a global mid-tier miner after acquiring Newmarket Gold in November 2016 for $US764 million and amassing stakes in other prospective Canadian and Australian assets.
The company owns and operates five underground gold mines, including the Macassa, Holt and Taylor mines in Ontario, Canada; the Fosterville mine in Victoria and the Cosmo mine in Northern Territory.
Mr Sprott owns 10.3 per cent of Kirkland, and has been a guiding hand in the company’s Australian strategy.
This has included the development of Fosterville gold mine near Bendigo, Victoria, and opportunistically boosting stakes in gold explorers based in the WA Pilbara – the location of Australia’s newest gold rush.
The former Merrill Lynch investment banker – a self-proclaimed “gold bull” – said he had a “long term view” of Kirkland and may acquire additional shares either on the open market or through private acquisitions.
The Pilbara: Australia’s newest gold province?
Hype around the Pilbara’s high grade exploration results did not gone unnoticed by Kirkland.
In September last year the miner paid $56m to boost its stake in fellow Canadian miner Novo Resources to 17 per cent; the latter having farmed-in to ASX-listed Artemis Resources four months earlier as part of a $2m exploration joint venture (JV) in the WA Pilbara.
Artemis had kicked off the so-called ‘Pilbara gold rush’ early last year when it uncovered highly prospective gold mineralisation at its Purdy’s Reward deposit.
In September, neighbouring explorer De Grey Mining received a $5m investment from Kirkland after it found similar gold nuggets at its Loudens Patch deposit.
De Grey chairman Simon Lill described Kirkland’s investment as a “game changer” for the company.
“Together with our recent August capital raising of $3m, we have now raised $8m, which confirms funding for our exploration programs through until the end of 2018,” he said.
Independent of Kirkland, Mr Sprott is also lifting his exposure to WA gold through his investment arm Sprott Capital Investments.
In October he made a $5m investment into lithium-turned-gold explorer Kairos Minerals.
Kairos’ key assets are its Mt York Lithium-gold project 90km southeast of Port Hedland and Roe Hills gold project east of Kalgoorlie.
Kairos executive chairman Terry Topping said the backing by Sprott Capital Investments was a “watershed” moment for the company’s focus in the Pilbara.
“We are delighted to welcome Eric Sprott as a cornerstone shareholder and participant in this pivotal capital raising, which puts Kairos in an exceptionally strong position to pursue aggressive exploration programs across our key projects,” Mr Topping said.
Speaking to WestBusiness at November’s Precious Metals Investment Symposium in Melbourne, Mr Sprott said he believed the region could host a gold resource of the same scale as Witwatersrand, from which more than a third of the world’s gold has been mined.
“We know conglomerate rock exists over a wide area of the Pilbara and we’ve discovered gold nuggets unlike any other nuggets in the world,” he said.
“We now need drilling and assays to test the grade and thickness of the mineralisation.
“It’s not yet conclusive but it’s looking good.”
“We’ve discovered gold nuggets unlike any other nuggets in the world.”
Gold bull Eric Sprott has a keen interest in Australia’s prospective gold projects.