Having successfully delivered its first Africa-based mine (Otjikoto) into its production portfolio in February 2015, B2Gold (listed on the TSX, NYSE and NSX) is looking to repeat the success with its Fekola development project in Mali in 2017. Once in operation the mine will be the company’s largest gold producer, by a significant margin, and will increase the company’s total gold production profile from around 500 000 ozpa to 850 000 ozpa, writes Laura Cornish.
B2Gold’s African portfolio is expanding thanks to the Fekola project which is on target to move into production in Q4, 2017. B2Gold has wasted no time moving Fekola up the value curve and into development. It acquired the project (with just a preliminary economic assessment (PEA)) through a US$570 million merger with Papillon Resources in October 2014 and is confident of bringing the mine into production in Q4, 2017.
Just four months after the merger in February 2015 B2Gold commenced initial construction activities at Fekola and announced the results of an optimised feasibility study for the project in June which revealed “robust economics”. It is located within the Kayes region in south western Mali, on the western border of Mali with Senegal, about 210 km south of Kayes and about 40 km south of the city of Kéniéba. “We recognised Fekola’s potential from the start,” says Mohamed Diarra, B2Gold’s country manager. “It has a 5 Moz resource and is expected to produce an average of 350 000 ozpa of gold for the fi rst seven years at an average operating cash cost of $418/oz (total cash costs including royalties and sales taxes of $518/oz) and 276 000 ozpa on average at an operating cash cost of $552/oz (total cash cost of $652/oz) over its twelve and a halve year lifespan. The ore body has an attractive average gold grade of 2.35 g/t.”
Making quick and steady progress
With all necessary mining, social and environmental permits secured, B2Gold has already achieved significant progress on site. Initial construction activities already completed include:
• Construction of a new site access road (40 km from the tar road to site) complete with a bridge across a major waterway to allow for year round access;
• Construction of an on-site airstrip designed to allow personnel to fl y directly in and out of the site (materially complete but waiting for final regulatory approvals);……