B2Gold’s Otjikoto Mine continues to perform strongly according to a release issued by B2Gold last week. According to the Company, Otjikoto produced 38,252 ounces of gold in the third quarter of 2015, approximately 4% (or 1,361 ounces) above budget.
“Gold production exceeded budget mainly due to better than expected mill throughput (704,132 tonnes processed versus 602,097 tonnes budgeted) and very high mill recoveries of 99.1% (versus 95.7% budgeted),” the Company said.
The average gold grade processed was 1.71 grams per tonne compared to budget of 1.78 g/t.
According to the release, the Company continues to work on a new geologic resource model for the Otjikoto Pit incorporating 2014 drilling, grade control data, and in-pit mapping. The new geologic model and related engineering work are expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Meanwhile, year-to-date, the Otjikoto Mine produced 106,349 ounces of gold (including 18,815 ounces of pre-commercial production), approximately 5% (or 5,257 ounces) above budget.
Expansion of the Otjikoto mill from 2.5 million tonnes per year to 3.0 million tonnes per year was completed on time and schedule in September. The plant expansion included the installation of two additional leach tanks and a pebble crusher.
For the full-year 2015, the Otjikoto Mine is expected to produce between 140,000 to 150,000 ounces of gold (including pre-commercial production) at a cash operating cost in the $500 to $525 per ounce range. Further more the release said that all ore in 2015 and most ore in 2016 is expected to come from the existing Otjikoto Pit. Beyond 2016, Otjikoto´s gold production is expected to be further enhanced by the development of the Wolfshag zone, adjacent to the main Otjikoto Pit.
“A conceptual mining study, incorporating the high-grade Wolfshag zone as well as the new geologic model for the Otjikoto Pit, is scheduled to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2015. This mining study will determine the optimal point to transition from open pit to underground mining at Wolfshag,” the Company said.