TSX- and NYSE-listed gold miner B2Gold is projecting another record year for gold production in 2015, with production expected to be in the range of 500 000 oz and 540 000 oz, which is an increase of approximately 35% over 2014 production.
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 B2Gold’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 oz 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.
Consolidated cash operating costs are expected to be in the range of $630 to $660 per ounce. Due to the anticipated timing of budgeted capital expenditures, all-in sustaining costs are expected to be higher in the first half of 2015 than in the second half. Overall, B2Gold’s consolidated all-in sustaining costs are expected to be approximately in a range of $950 and $1025 per ounce for 2015.
B2Gold sets the stage with 2014 highlights
B2Gold achieved another record year of production in 2014 producing 384 003 oz 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 strong start-up with its first gold pour one week ahead of schedule in December and is anticipated to ramp-up quickly to commercial production in the first quarter of 2015.
B2Gold also reported record annual gold production at La Libertad mine of 149 763 oz of gold, approximately 8% higher than in 2013. The main reasons for the improved production at La Libertad in 2014 were higher throughput and better gold recoveries. The Limon open pit and underground mine is projected to produce approximately 55 000 to 65 000 oz in 2015 at a cash operating cost of approximately $680 to $710 per ounce. Gold production in 2015 is expected to increase by approximately 25% over 2014 production.
For the full-year 2014, consolidated gold revenue was $ 486.6 million on record sales of 386 219 oz at an average realized price of $1260 per ounce compared to $544.3 million on sales of 380 895 oz at an average realized price of $1429 per oz in the same period last year. Gold revenue in 2013 also included the sale of 20 811 ounces relating to the Masbate Mine’s gold bullion inventory.
Acquisition of the high-quality Fekola Gold Project in Mali
In October last year, B2Gold acquired all of the issued ordinary shares of Papillon Resources, and remains committed to advancing Papillon’s Fekola Project and expects that a significant portion of its Otjikoto Mine construction team will provide the core construction team for Fekola.
Based on current assumptions and subject to completion of financing and mine construction, the Fekola project has the potential to increase the company’s annual gold production by approximately 300 000 ozpa.
Early construction activity is planned to begin at Fekola in February 2015, and assessment of construction equipment needs and mobilization planning for personnel is currently underway. B2Gold is also assessing and optimizing the feasibility work previously completed by Papillon.
The exploration program in Mali will include 19 300 m of drilling at Fekola and targets around Fekola. In addition, other properties included in the Papillon acquisition will also be evaluated. The total budget for 2015 will be $5.6 million.