While gold major B2Gold has significantly increased Group production on the back of its Fekola gold mine in Mali, it will continue exploring around the operation to increase its open pit reserves and resources.
Mali – This forms part of its strategy to pursue organic growth with a budgeted total of $56 million for exploration in 2018.
Brownfields exploration will make up approximately 80% of this budget, focusing on drilling campaigns on existing projects. In the second quarter of 2018, the 2018 Mali exploration budget was increased by $4 million (from $15 million to $19 million) to accelerate the current Fekola North Extension zone drill programme, which is extending and infilling mineral resources to the north of the main Fekola deposit.
These results and previous drill results indicate that the potential exists, subject to further drilling, to significantly increase open-pit resources and reserves, north of the current Fekola open-pit reserve.
The Fekola North Extension remains open to the north. Due to the increasing size of the mineralised area, B2Gold now intends to release a new mineral resource for the Fekola deposit including a portion of the Fekola North Extension early in the fourth quarter of 2018.
In addition, based on the positive exploration results to date, the company’s in-house technical team is conducting engineering and other technical studies to ascertain the potential to expand the current Fekola mine and mill facilities, and increase tonnage throughput, thereby increasing annual gold production, if, as expected, a larger open-pit resource is confirmed by the current exploration and in-fill drilling.
Results of these studies are projected to be available by year-end 2018.
In addition, B2Gold’s exploration teams will also continue drilling to infill and determine the ultimate size of its significant exploration targets at El Limon Central in Nicaragua and at the Toega project in Burkina Faso.
Finally, B2Gold will continue to acquire and explore grassroots exploration opportunities directly and consider potential growth through joint ventures and investments in junior companies with high-quality exploration projects.