The Fekola project, situated in Mali, also remains on budget and is expected to be a large low-cost producer and should enable B2Gold to significantly reduce its longer term cash operating costs per ounce and AISC per ounce.
B2Gold made this announcement during delivery of its Q1, 2017 results.
At the end of the first quarter, the project was approximately 75% complete with civil earthworks construction and process plant construction approximately 91% and 54% complete, respectively.
Development of the open pit continued to progress ahead of schedule, with a total of 2.6 Mt of waste and 200 000 t of ore mined during the quarter. The first phase of the mining fleet, including six CAT 777E haul trucks and two CAT 6020B excavators, are in operation.
Through the quarter average daily mining rates have increased from 25 000 t to 42 000 t. The second grade control drilling campaign commenced in the third week of March 2017.
Installation of the ball and SAG mills at the process plant commenced in February 2017, following arrival and preparation of the components in January 2017. Concrete progress and structural steel erection at the mill is approximately 99% and 94% complete, respectively.
Concrete work and platework at the primary crusher and stockpile feed conveyor has been completed while approximately 80% of the structural steel at the primary crusher has been erected. Installation of pipe supports, pipework, mechanical equipment and electrical cables continued site wide. Instrumentation installation at the leach and CIP tanks, leach thickener and tailings thickener also commenced during the quarter.
Construction and lining of the site ponds with high density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembrane has been completed. Underground utility installation including fresh water, sewage lines, and fire water continued throughout the plant site. Erection of the various buildings around site also commenced, with a completion rate of approximately 35% at the end of the quarter.
Earthworks construction of the phase 1 tailings storage facility (TSF) embankment has been completed and HDPE lining of the facility is 100% complete. The network of under-drains in the basin of the TSF, which aids in consolidation of the tailings and extending the life of the facility, has also been completed.
The first of the three decant structures, designed to return water back to the process plant, has been finished along with the decant access road above the HDPE liner. The TSF and the site water management structures are approximately 98% and 93% complete, respectively.
Construction of the run of mine (ROM) pad continued through the quarter with over 1 700 000 m3 of material placed to date and 750 000 m3 of material placed in the quarter.
The manpower on site saw an increase through the first quarter with an average of 1 050 employees and contractors.