Kirkland Lake was built around mineral extraction, and mining remains the community’s top industry. But that success is having a ripple effect, attracting new business and resulting in prosperity for the town as a whole.
Despite a recent downturn in the mineral industry, the town’s largest employer, Kirkland Lake Gold, is still going strong. In 2017, the company’s flagship operation, Macassa Mine, is expected to produce 190,000 to 195,000 ounces of gold. Stock shares are high and the company’s income grew by 80 per cent, year over year, during the most recently completed quarter. It’s among the strongest growth seen by any company in this industry.
The community is seeing an increase in mining-related activity, and a number of proposals have come forward in advance of the government’s plans to extend the Aggregate Act to Northern Ontario.
There has also been renewed interest in the industrial park: the community is currently courting two companies, a logistics firm and an innovative mining service and supply company.
“It’s always a challenge balancing different and sometimes competing demands within our industrial park,” said Wilf Hass, economic development officer for Kirkland Lake.
“In terms of industrial development, we need to balance new investments against other agendas such as the solar project, the potential expansion of existing clients, as well as the development goals of the mines, especially Kirkland Lake Gold and Canadian Malartic, which own the majority of mineral rights in the park.
Hass said the mining companies have historically been supportive of the town’s diversification efforts.
“As we go forward, it is imperative that we continue to respect each other’s rights and priorities, and avoid any inadvertent economic interference in each other’s affairs,” he said. “We need to work together for our common good.”
The town of nearly 9,000 services a wider catchment area of roughly 13,000 people within a 45-minute drive. On a daily basis, roughly 11,000 people are doing business or receiving services in Kirkland Lake.
In planning for a prosperous future, the town is thinking ahead. It recently secured funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to undertake a survey of potential new lots for commercial and industrial development in the community.
The town expects to issue a request for proposals for land planning consulting services this fall.