B2gold to Hit 555 000 Ounces in 2015

PRODUCTION at B2Gold’s Otjikoto mine is expected to reach 555 000 ounces in 2015.

“With the first full year of gold production from the Otjikoto gold project in Namibia scheduled for 2015, the company is projecting 2015 gold production of 555 000 ounces, based on current assumptions,” B2Gold said in its 2013 fourth quarter financial results posted on the Namibian Stock Exchange.

The company said construction at the open pit Otjikoto Mine remains on schedule and on budget.

“Construction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014 and production is scheduled to commence thereafter,” the company said.

Pre-development cost estimates of US$244 million and deferred stripping estimates of US$33 million remain in line with original pre-feasibility study estimates. In addition to these costs, the company planned to lease finance a total of US$60 million for mobile mining equipment and power plant construction costs.

“However, as a result of Namibian regulations governing the securitisation of certain assets, the company plans to lease only the mobile mining fleet for a total of US$41 million,” the company said.

The current mine plan is based on probable mineral reserves of 29,4 million tonnes to be mined over an initial 12-year period.

The current average annual production for the first five years is estimated to be approximately 141 000 ounces of gold per year at an average cash operating cost of US$524 per ounce and for the life of mine approximately 112 000 ounces of gold per year at an average cash operating cost of $689 per ounce.

“However, based on the positive drill results from the Wolfshag zone to date, on January 21, the company announced plans to expand the Otjikoto mine in 2015, increasing ore throughput from 2,5 million tonnes per year to three million tonnes. The increased throughput will be achieved through the installation of a pebble crusher, additional leach tanks and mining equipment at a total cost of approximately US$15 million.

Once the expansion is completed at the end of 2015, the company expects the annual gold production from the main Otjikoto pit to increase to approximately 170 000 ounces. The 2014 Otjikoto exploration programme is budgeted at US$8 million.

Source : The Namibian