B2Gold Corp. is monitoring the evolving political situation in Mali. B2Gold’s mining operations at its Fekola Mine have not been affected in any way and the Company has continued normal mining and milling operations.
The Company does not expect that any operational days will be lost due to the political situation in the country and has confirmed that all B2Gold’s personnel are safe. The Fekola Mine is projected to produce 530,000 to 560,000 ounces of gold in 2021.
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In addition, the Company has been made aware that L’Union Nationale des Travailleurs du Mali (the National Union of Malian Workers) has ended the national strike action in the country as of May 25, 2021, which to date had not had any significant impact on B2Gold’s operations in Mali.
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B2Gold will continue to monitor the evolving situation and work to ensure the safety of its personnel and that the Fekola mining operations continue normally, providing economic benefits and job creation both to the communities around the mine and to regional and national governments. Foreign investment and political stability in Mali are critical for the country.
B2Gold is committed to working with the governing authorities in Mali in order to build on the strong relationship it has enjoyed to date. The Company will continue to work in a transparent manner to ensure the continuation of the positive and mutually beneficial partnership between B2Gold and the Malian government for the benefit of the Malian people and all stakeholders. This will include a continuation of the ongoing discussions with respect to renewal of the Menankoto exploration permit, which the Company believes it is entitled to receive under proper application of Malian law.
B2Gold is one of the largest Canadian investors in Mali and the Fekola Mine, in which the State of Mali has a 20% ownership interest, and is a flagship investment in the country’s mining sector. In 2020, B2Gold produced 622,518 ounces of gold, an estimated 27% of Mali’s industrial gold production, from the Fekola Mine, generating approximately US$300 million in revenues for Mali, comprised of taxes and dividends. Since the Fekola Mine commenced production in 2017, it has generated approximately US$580 million in revenues for Mali.
The Company’s total investment in Mali to date is more than US$1 billion and B2Gold is a significant employer with more than 2,200 employees, of which more than 93% are Malian nationals. The Company paid approximately US$64 million in employee salaries and benefits in 2020. Through its investment, B2Gold has provided major economic benefits including job creation, training, capacity building and community investments, including a recently announced US$10 million Signature Agricultural Business Community Project to benefit local communities and provide sustainable livelihoods going forward.
Since the Company commenced its investment in Mali, B2Gold has always enjoyed a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with the Government of Mali. Most recently, B2Gold partnered with the Government of Mali to assist the people of Mali facing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its impact on the mining sector. B2Gold continues to explore additional ways in which it might help the government deal with the impact of the pandemic.