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Kirkland Lake Gold to axe two Australian projects, cut staff -report

MELBOURNE, March 11 (Reuters) - Toronto-listed Kirkland Lake Gold will shut two gold projects in Australia’s Northern Territory by the end of the month, after it deemed their operations surplus, media said on Wednesday.

Kirkland will wind down its Cosmo mine and Union Reefs processing plant near the remote, coastal city of Darwin by the end of the month, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said.

Kirkland Lake said it would have to let approximately 250 employees go in a letter to workers on Tuesday, obtained by the ABC. The broadcaster added that the firm had been in the final stage of permitting for an underground mine at Union Reefs.

Kirkland did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside business hours in Canada.

Last month, the miner said it had designated its Northern Territory operations as non-core and was seeking “strategic options to maximise the value” of the assets, given better-quality growth projects elswhere. In January, Kirkland bought Detour Gold to add to its Macassa operations in Canada’s province of Ontario, and will focus on those, as well as its Fosterville mine in Australia’s southeastern Victoria state for growth, it said.

The three operations are expected to produce around 1.4 million ounces of gold in 2020, it said. (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)