2017 stellar year for gold production at Otjikoto, helps propel new B2Gold records
Owner and operator of the Otjikoto Gold Mine, B2Gold last week reported that it has set a new record in gold production in the 2017 fourth quarter, exceeding its consolidated full-year target by 5000 ounces.
The Canadian mid-tier gold miner listed in Windhoek, Toronto and New York, operates two gold mines in Africa, one in the Philippines and two in South America. The two African mines are Fekola in Mali and Otjikoto in Namibia. The Fekola mine is the group’s flagship mine but Otjikoto’s contribution is very substantial, still outperforming Fekola for the calendar year.
B2 Gold’s consolidated production across all five mines came to 630,565 ounces, some 5565 ounces more than the upper limit of its revised guidance range of 580,000 to 625,000 ounces. Of this, Otjikoto’s share was 191,534 ounces or just over 30% of the total indicating the Namibian mine’s relatively higher value in the group as a whole. As a comparison, the newly commissioned Fekola mine produced only 111,450 ounces albeit for only a part of the year.
B2Gold recorded consolidated revenues of US$739.5 million for 2017.
“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” the company said on Thursday 11 January 2018 in a trading statement released in Vancouver.
“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, and the successful construction and commissioning of its flagship Fekola Mine in southwest Mali which achieved commercial production on 30 November 2017, one month ahead of the revised schedule and four months ahead of the original schedule,” stated B2Gold adding that 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.
Gold production at Otjikoto set its own local record, reaching new heights on the back of increased throughput. The mine, which posted its first full-year results only in 2016, ranks almost on par with Masbati Mine in the Philippines.
“The Otjikoto Mine in Namibia had a record year in 2017, producing an annual record of 191,534 ounces of gold which exceeded the upper end of its revised production guidance range by 6% (or 11,534 ounces) and the top end of its original production guidance range by 9% (or 16,534 ounces)” said B2Gold. Otjikoto’s 2017 production was 25,249 ounces more than in 2016, constituting a 15% growth in output.
According to the parent company, Otjikoto´s outperformance in 2017 was mainly the result of better than expected high-grade ore tonnage from the Wolfshag Phase 1 Pit and higher than expected mill throughput. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the Otjikoto Mine produced 52,446 ounces of gold, exceeding both budgeted and reforecast production by 10% or 4,655 ounces.
For 2018 B2Gold is expecting to produce between 160,000 and 170,000 ounces at Otjikoto at an operating cost of US$480 to US$525 per ounce, and an All-in Sustaining Cost of between US$700 and US$750.
“In 2018, Otjikoto is budgeted to process a total of 3.3 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 1.59 g/t and process recovery of 98%. The slight drop in grade versus 2017 is due to a negligible amount of Wolfshag ore being mined in 2018 as phase 2 of the Wolfshag Pit is being developed,” B2Gold advised.
“Sustaining capital costs in 2018 at the Otjikoto Mine are budgeted to total US$16.6 million. Non-sustaining capital costs are budgeted to total US$28.5 million, including US$26.6 million for Wolfshag pre-stripping and US$1.7 million to complete phase one of the solar power project which is expected to decrease fuel oil consumption and power costs starting in the second quarter of 2018.”
B2Gold said it will spend US$5.1 million in 2018 on further exploration at Otjikoto and at the Ondundu JV.