In 2018, with the planned first full year of production from the Fekola mine, consolidated gold production is forecast to be between 910 000 and 950 000 ounces.
This represents an increase in annual consolidated gold production of approximately 300 000 oz for B2Gold in 2018 versus 2017.
The Fekola mine is projected to be a large, low-cost producer that will also result in a significant reduction in the company’s forecast cash operating costs per ounce and AISC per ounce.
The company’s forecast consolidated cash operating costs per ounce and AISC per ounce are both expected to decrease in 2018 by approximately 15% compared to 2017 and be between $505 and $550/oz and between $780 and $830/oz, respectively.
These increased production levels and low costs are expected to dramatically increase B2Gold’s production, revenues, cash from operations and cash flow for many years, based on current assumptions (including a gold price assumption of $1 300 per ounce).
On average over the next three years, beginning in 2018, B2Gold is projecting per annum gold sales revenues of approximately $1.2 billion, cash flow from operations of approximately $0.5 billion and a significant increase in free cash flow (operating cash flows less investing cash flows).
The Fekola mine is expected to produce between 400 000 and 410 000 oz of gold in 2018, the first full year of production. Cash operating costs are expected to be between $345 and $390/oz and AISC between $575 and $625/oz.
In 2018, the mine is budgeted to process a total of 5 Mt of ore at an average grade of 2.69 g/t and process recovery of 92.7%.
Sustaining capital costs in 2018 at the Fekola mine are budgeted to total $33.8 million, including $26.3 million for pre-stripping. Non-sustaining capital costs are budgeted to total $33.3 million, including $15 million for relocating the village of Fadougou.
Outstanding performance in 2017 as well
For B2Gold, 2017 was an outstanding year of performance, with the achievement of another record year of consolidated gold production (for the ninth straight year).
For full-year 2017, B2Gold’s consolidated gold production was an annual record of 630 565 oz (including 79 243 oz of pre-commercial production from Fekola), exceeding the upper end of its revised guidance range (of 580 000 to 625 000 oz) and surpassing the top end of its original guidance range (of 545 000 to 595 000 oz).
Consolidated gold production for the year also increased by 15% (or 80 142 oz) over 2016. B2Gold’s record performance in 2017 reflected the early start-up and strong ramp-up performance of the new Fekola mine and the continued, very strong operational performances of both the Masbate mine in the Philippines and Otjikoto mine in Namibia.
Feature image credit: B2Gold