Otjikoto Mine expected to produce around 170,000 ounces of gold in 2018
B2Gold’s Otjikoto mine made a strong start to the year, following a record year of gold production in 2017, with first quarter gold production of 39,499 ounces which was above budget by 6% (2,174 ounces), according to an announcement on the SENS platform last week
According to the announcement, mill throughput, recoveries and processed grade were all slightly above budget, as the mine continues to incrementally optimize its operations.
“Compared to the prior-year quarter, gold production was lower by 8% (3,275 ounces), as planned, due to a negligible amount of Wolfshag ore being mined in 2018 while Phase 2 of the Wolfshag Pit is being developed,” the company said.
B2Gold said ore production is planned to resume again from the Wolfshag Pit in 2019 when it is projected to provide higher grade open-pit mill feed while the Otjikoto mill continued to operate well, processing 827,227 tonnes (Q1 2017 – 832,805 tonnes) in the quarter at an average grade of 1.51 g/t (Q1 2017 – 1.62 g/t) with gold recoveries averaging 98.7% (Q1 2017 – 98.6%).
For first quarter 2018, Otjikoto´s cash operating costs were US$569 per ounce, US$57 per ounce (9%) below budget, and AISC were US$758 per ounce, US$50 per ounce (6%) below budget.
According to the company for full-year 2018, the Otjikoto Mine is expected to produce between 160,000 and 170,000 ounces of gold, primarily from the Otjikoto Pit, at cash operating costs of between US$480 and US$525 per ounce and AISC of between US$700 and US$750 per ounce.
Meanwhile, B2Gold said Otjikoto´s solar plant commenced full commissioning in early April and by changing the power plant to an HFO solar hybrid plant is expected to reduce Otjikoto´s HFO consumption by approximately 2.3 million litres and reduce associated power generation fuel costs by approximately 10% in 2018.
According to B2Gold, the total exploration budget for the country in 2018 is approximately US$5 million.
“Exploration in 2018 will include 17,000 metres of diamond drilling and 4,000 metres of RAB drilling split between the Otjikoto Project and the Ondundu joint venture,” they added.