B2gold Expects Record Production in 2015

Following a B2Gold Namibia board decision taken late last year, Mark Dawe has been appointed as the managing director of B2Gold Namibia. This follows the promotion of Bill Lytle, outgoing managing director, to the position of B2Gold Corp. vice-president for Africa.

Lytle will hand over the reins to Dawe over a six-month period and, going forward, will oversee the B2Gold Corp. Africa portfolio which currently includes the Fekola project in Mali, the Kiaka project in Burkina Faso and the Otjikoto mine in Namibia.

Otjikoto, which is B2Gold Namibia’s flagship project and only the second gold mine commissioned in the country, celebrated its first gold pour on December 11, 2014. Meanwhile, Dawe will take up his position on February 01. He was previously employed as vice-president: key raw materials and head of global mining operations for Solvay’s global business unit: special chemicals.

In this role he was responsible for overseeing all of the mining operations and projects of the unit – including Okorusu fluorspar mine in Namibia (also Otjikoto’s closest neighbour).

Dawe has worked in Namibia for more than 26 years and has extensive experience working with the government both as a managing director and as a former president of the Namibian Chamber of Mines. He comes to the company with an extensive technical background, including an extractive metallurgy degree and a keen interest in environmental protection and corporate social responsibility. Lytle explained that Dawe exemplifies what B2Gold looks for in leadership: “He shares a similar passion for team building and maximizing employee potential. I am confident that Mark will lead B2Gold Namibia to unparalleled success and will make our company the shining star for the mining industry in Namibia. I am looking forward to introducing Mark to our staff and am excited about the future growth of B2Gold in Namibia.”

Meanwhile, B2Gold achieved another record year of production in 2014 producing 384 003 ounces of gold and completed the year with a record fourth quarter producing 111 804 ounces of gold. In addition, the new Otjikoto mine had a g start-up with its first gold poured one week ahead of schedule in December and is anticipated to ramp up quickly to commercial production in the first quarter of 2015.

In December 2014, the Otjikoto mill processed 152 874 tonnes of ore (compared to a budget of 93 632 tonnes) and produced 7 159 ounces of gold (compared to budget of 5 228 ounces).

For accounting purposes, gold revenue earned and related production costs from the sale of pre-commercial production will be credited to Otjikoto’s mineral property development costs prior to commercial production. At December 31, 2014, approximately 774 000 tonnes of high-grade ore had been stockpiled. In 2014, Otjikoto continued its exceptional overall safety performance with a lost time incident frequency rate of 0.07. B2Gold is projecting another record year for gold production in 2015. Company-wide production in 2015 from the newly constructed Otjikoto mine, and the Masbate, La Libertad and Limon mines is expected to be in the range of 500 000 to 540 000 ounces of gold (including pre-commercial production from Otjikoto), an increase of approximately 35 percent over 2014 production.

Consolidated cash operating costs are expected to be in the range of US$630 to US$660 per ounce (2014 guidance range was US$667 to US$695 per ounce). The substantial increase in the company’s consolidated gold production and the reduction in consolidated cash operating costs per ounce reflect the positive impact of new production from the company’s low-cost Otjikoto mine.

For the first half of 2015, gold production is expected to be in the range of 225 000 to 245 000 ounces, which will be lower than the gold production in the second half of the year of 275 000 to 295 000 ounces, due to a number of factors including the continued ramp-up of gold production at Otjikoto.

For 2015, the Otjikoto gold mine is expected to produce between 140 000 to 150 000 ounces of gold (including pre-commercial production) at a cash operating cost in the US$500 to US$525 per ounce range. All ore in 2015 will come from the existing Otjikoto pit. Once the planned mill expansion is completed in the third quarter of 2015, B2Gold Namibia expects that annual gold production from the main Otjikoto pit will increase significantly to approximately 200 000 ounces in 2016 and 2017. Otjikoto’s gold production will also be enhanced by the development of its Wolfshag zone, adjacent to the main Otjikoto pit.

This week B2Gold Namibia announced a significantly higher grade updated gold mineral resource estimate for the Wolfshag zone. The updated inferred mineral resource contains 675 000 ounces of gold. The company anticipates to be in a position to declare commercial production in the first quarter of 2015.

Source : New Era