The Fosterville mine in Victoria. Image: Kirkland Lake Gold

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Kirkland Lake Gold plans to invest $US75 million ($98 million) in environmental technology centres over each of the next five years to reduce its carbon footprint while embracing automation and digitisation.

The investment was announced in the company’s 2021 sustainability report and hopes to establish centres for technology and innovation near its Australian and Canadian operations.

Kirkland Lake president and chief executive officer Tony Makuch said the investment would reduce the company’s carbon footprint, build smarter mines, and support the health and well-being of the local communities it works with.

“We plan an investment of $US75 million per year for five years to establish and fund these centres, which will focus on three key areas; reducing our carbon footprint to reach net-zero by 2050, or sooner; building smart mines through innovation, automation and digitisation; and, supporting the communities where we work in the areas of health and well-being,” he said.

“We are proud of our people and their efforts to promote sustainability in 2020 and are excited about the prospects for additional progress in 2021.”

Makuch said sustainability was an essential aspect to the company’s business practices.

“Mining in an environmentally and socially responsible way is essential to our operating and financial success and we are committed to integrating and promoting sustainability into all facets of our business,” Makuch said.

“Our 2021 sustainability report highlights a year of significant progress in advancing our efforts to mine responsibly and maintain our social license.”

Kirkland Lake operates across Canada and Australia and is targeting more than 1.3 million ounces of production in 2021.

Despite such throughput levels, Kirkland Lake’s three sites have maintained greenhouse gas levels well below industry averages.

Kirkland Gold’s Fosterville gold mine in Victoria is 20 kilometres from Bendigo and produced 640,467 ounces in 2020, surpassing its guidance of 590,000–610,000 ounces.