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Wesdome announces 2020 production results and 2021 Guidance

Jan 15, 2021

Production from the Eagle River Complex in Q4 2020 totaled 20,006 ounces of gold, putting full year 2020 production at 90,278 ounces, meeting the low end of our unadjusted 2020 production guidance.

2020 Highlights:

  • Eagle River gold production of 196,441 tonnes at a head grade of 14.2 grams per tonne and a recovery rate of 97.7% producing 87,560 ounces, 1% lower than 2019
  • Mishi gold production of 39,856 tonnes at a head grade of 2.7 grams per tonne and a recovery rate of 77.8%, producing 2,718 ounces of gold, Mishi mining operations finished in Q4. The Mishi stockpile now contains over 40,000 tonnes of ore and is planned to be milled in 2021.
  • Operations have successfully maintained Covid-19 free status with extensive screening and protocols since the outset of the pandemic
  • Revenue from gold sales of $215.3 million, a 31% increase over 2019 at an average realized sale price of $2,360 per ounce (2019: $1,853)
  • Drilling extended the Falcon Zone over 1 km down plunge and is interpreted to connect with Zone 7, currently being mined underground. The recent drilling will be included in the annual resource and reserve update in March 2021
  • The high grade 300 East Zone has now been extended from the 750 metre level to the 1400 metre level
  • Sold 1,500 ounces to date from the bulk sample at the Kiena Deep A Zone Kiena Mine in Val d’Or, Quebec for revenue of $3.6 million with additional processing remaining and full reconciliation ongoing
  • Published Kiena Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) and advanced Pre-Feasibility Study (“PFS”) to be published in Q2 2021 based on an updated resource estimate completed in December 2020 (Indicated resources increased by 77% to 717,400 ounces)
  • Included in TMX 30 recognition program for the second consecutive year. This flagship program showcases the TSX's 30 top-performing stocks based on dividend adjusted share price appreciation

Duncan Middlemiss, President and CEO commented, “First and foremost I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to all our employees and stakeholders for working safely in the challenging circumstances of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which affected quarterly and yearly results since March. Our performance in the fourth quarter was impacted by certain temporary operational challenges late in the quarter which prevented us from achieving the mid-point of guidance. Specifically, there was a loss of six days of milling in December due to mechanical downtime associated with our cone crusher in the mill and underground we experienced geotechnical challenges affecting the grade performance in one of the stopes. Both issues were remedied within the month; however, these events resulted in reduced gold production. On a positive note, the Company still met its original production guidance at Eagle, and was able to extract and process a bulk sample at Kiena, which considering the challenges we faced with the pandemic throughout, I believe is a significant achievement.

Despite the stoppage of some exploration work during the year due to the pandemic, 2020 was a successful year for exploration. Significant drilling was completed on the newly discovered Falcon Zones and will meaningfully contribute to the upcoming resources and reserves update. This zone has now been interpreted to join the 7 Zone within the mine diorite 1,000 m down plunge from the initial near surface discovery. Kiena exploration was also very successful, and despite a significant reduction in the 2020 drilling program, we were able to increase the A Zones indicated resources by 77% in preparation for the ongoing PFS. The PEA completed in June demonstrated robust economics, low pre-production capital, and a short timeframe to commercial production.

Looking ahead to 2021, guidance is set at 92,000 – 105,000 ounces at Eagle River, and 15,000 – 25,000 ounces at Kiena (based upon a positive restart decision). The company is also undertaking the largest drilling program in its history. We are now turning our attention to a regional focus while maintaining aggressive in mine exploration. The exploration expenditure of $32M is equally divided, reflecting our strong belief in both the Eagle River and Kiena properties. Both properties have exciting targets which require follow up and have never been afforded the opportunity until now. At Eagle we continue to progress with our desire to fill the mill capacity with high grade underground ore and our 2021 plans include an annual mining rate of over 600 tonnes per day of ore, an increase of 15% versus 2020 once the ventilation upgrade is completed in Q1. Eagle production is now approaching the 100,000 ounce per annum milestone and we consider this as base case moving forward. The Kiena Mine is advancing closer to a potential restart with our PFS, which is ongoing and slated to be completed in Q2 of 2021. The pre-production timeframe is minimal and we could potentially have Kiena in commercial production within 4 – 6 months of a restart decision. The advent of a second producing asset represents an inflection point for the company as it increases scale and diversifies its cash flow sources, both key steps towards becoming a mid-tier Canadian producer.”

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