In the month of February, B2Gold Corporation produced 10,228 ounces of gold for commercial purposes ahead of schedule against its projected 8,863 ounces at its Otjikoto Gold Mine.
In early December last year, B2Gold Corp, at its open pit Otjikoto Gold Mine poured first gold one week ahead of schedule and again in January this year, the mine continued that trend and the project continued its strong ramp up to commercial production ahead of schedule and produced 8,587 ounces against a budget of 8,267 ounces.
B2Gold Corp’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Clive Johnson, said the better than budgeted performance was attributed to additional mill availability of 89.6% versus the budgeted 70% and better than anticipated throughput, which was 34% above budget.
Johnson, however, confirmed that the ounces of gold poured in February were a better grade than January at 1.57 grams per tonne versus budget of 1.71.
“February saw better mill recoveries at 97.82% versus the budget of 96.17%, and better mill availability at 91.7% for the month versus budget of 82%,” said Johnson.
Johnson added that based on the performance of the mill, and the fact that the Company met commercial production criteria of 30 consecutive days of mill throughput of 65% of faceplate capacity by February 28, 2015; the Otjikoto Gold Project is declaring commercial production as of that date.
Operating cash costs for the month of January were N$7099 (USD$612) per ounce versus a budget of N$8178 (USD$705) per ounce.
Johnson added that they are pleased to announce the Company’s new Otjikoto Gold Mine in Namibia achieving commercial production, ahead of schedule, on February 28, 2015, saying the ramp up of production continues well ahead of budget.
In 2015, Otjikoto Gold Mine is expected to produce between 140,000 to 150,000 ounces of gold at a cash operating cost of approximately N$5800-6090 ($500-$525) per ounce and all inclusive sustaining costs of approximately N$8120 ($700) per ounce.
Johnson noted that the Company expects annual gold production to increase to approximately 200,000 ounces in 2016 and 2017.
Meanwhile, the expansion of the Otjikoto mill from 2.5 million tonnes per year to 3.0 million tonnes per year continues on schedule with the installation of the first additional leach tank to be completed during the first quarter of 2015.
“Major additional work that must be completed includes installation of a second leach tank, construction of a pebble crusher and associated piping and pumping components. It is anticipated that this work will be completed by August 31, 2015,” said Johnson.
Johnson added that this will support additional throughput initially from the Otjikoto Mine and subsequently from the fully permitted Wolfshag deposit that is located immediately adjacent to the main, Otjikoto deposit.
“The project continued the excellent health and safety record with no lost time accidents for the months of January and February 2015. The high quality of construction has resulted in the rapid ramping up of production at the Otjikoto Mine,” said Johnson.
Currently, B2Gold Corp does not only have a mine at Otjikoto but it is a rapidly-expanding gold producer with three other mines (two in Nicaragua and one in the Philippines) and a strong portfolio of development and exploration assets in Mali, Nicaragua, Namibia, Philippines, Colombia and Burkina Faso.
“Including Namibia, the Company is projecting to produce approximately 540,000 ounces of gold in 2015 and ramping up to approximately 900,000 ounces annually by 2018 based on current assumptions” Johnson concluded.
Charmaine Ngatjiheue: The Villager