Wolfshag resource much higher than inferred
B2Gold recently announced a significantly higher grade updated gold mineral resource estimate for the Wolfshag zone, located directly adjacent to the east and northeast of the company´s new open pit, Otjikoto Mine. In their announcement earlier this week, B2Gold said the updated inferred mineral resource contains 675,000 ounces of gold within 2.581 million tonnes grading 8.14 grams of gold per tonne utilizing a 3 g/t cut-off. This inferred resource is below a pit shell containing an additional 1.035 million tonnes at 2.81 g/t gold (93,000 ounces gold) in the indicated category.
The previously released initial inferred resource estimate for the Wolfshag zone was 6.8 million tonnes at 3.2 g/t gold containing 703,000 ounces of gold as stated last year in the company’s news release. Said B2Gold, the Wolfshag mineral resource estimate has been prepared using a total of 202 core drill holes (58,050 metres). An additional 31 drill holes (8,207 metres) were completed after the October 24,2014 database cut-off date. The preliminary results of the holes drilled after the cut-off date do not materially change the results of this mineral resource estimate. Mineral resources are reported within a pit shell based on a 0.5 g/t cut-off grade. Mineral resources located below and down plunge of the shell are reported above at 3.0 g/t gold cut-off grade. Said B2Gold, the reason that the down plunge resource is still in the inferred category is because the 2014 drill spacing was designed to evaluate the Wolfshag zone from an open pit extraction perspective using a drill spacing of 25 metres by 100 metres. “As the majority of the Wolfshag zone is now envisioned to be mined underground, additional drilling will be required to infill the resource to the indicated category (25 metre by 25 metre spacing),” they added. Meanwhile engineering studies are under way to determine which portion of Wolfshag could be mined by open pit and which portion by underground mining. The Company currently plans to commence open pit mining at Wolfshag in 2016. The conceptual plan would be to blend higher grade material from Wolfshag with ore from the Otjikoto pit resulting in an increase in annual gold production at Otjikoto and improved project economics. The main Otjikoto open pit deposit is 29.4 million tonnes at a grade of 1.42 g/t gold containing 1.34 million ounces of gold. B2Gold said for 2015, Otjikoto is expected to produce between 140,000 to 150,000 ounces of gold at a cash operating cost of approximately US$500-US$525 per ounce and all in sustaining costs of approximately US$700 per ounce. “Once the planned mill expansion is completed in the third quarter of 2015, increasing the annual throughput at the mill from 2.5 million tonnes of ore per year to approximately 3 million tonnes per year, the company expects annual gold production to increase to approximately 200,000 ounces in 2016 and 2017,” said B2Gold. According to B2Gold, they plan to complete an updated mine plan by then end of 2015 which will further evaluate open pit and underground mining at Wolfshag.