First gold flows from Otjikoto at end 2014
Just over a week ago at another groundbreaking ceremony, Swakop Uranium officially opened its Husab Project close to Arandis in the Erongo Region.
The new gold mine is the property of B2 Gold Corporation, a Canadian company, and local empowered investors, Evi Mining Ltd. The mining site is known as the Otjikoto Project and will be operated by B2Gold Namibia.
The groundbreaking event was officiated by Hon. Isak Katali, Minister of Mines and Energy. A number of other national and regional government representatives were also present, including Hon. Samuel Nuyoma, Governor of Otjozondjupa. In a festive atmosphere, the Chief Executive Officer of B2Gold Corporation, Clive Johnson, was assisted by Hon. Katali to formally launch the construction of the Otjikoto gold mine.
Chairman of B2 Gold Namibia, Dr Leake Hangala said the Otjikoto Project will cumulatively pump close to N$4 billion of investment into Namibia’s economy; diversify the economic base; give jobs to over a thousand workers through construction and operation; and provide a model for “ how partnership can carry us forward as we pursue our nation’s economic development agenda.”
Gold at Otjikoto was first found by Goldfields when the South African gold miner was exploring for another mineral, copper.
Continued Dr Hangala, “Then Teal Mineral and Exploration, a South African outfit, shepherded the prospect, followed by Auryx Gold Corporation, a Canadian company. In December 2011, Auryx Gold was acquired by B2Gold Corporation, also a Canadian company.”
“ Several of the managers from Auryx Gold have stayed with the venture and this day must bring them special pleasure, as I know it does to the shareholders and directors of Evi Mining Ltd. Evi Mining, the local partners who have committed their own time, energy and money to Otjikoto Gold Project almost from the beginning, is a broad-based Namibian company and is owned by Nam-mic Investment Holdings, Pamue Investment Corporation, Omankete Investments, Patron Investment Corporation, Price Properties and Omusati Women Empowerment Group.”
In his keynote address, Minister Katali emphasised that a groundbreaking ceremony was an expression of optimism, hope for the future, and celebration. He called upon the mining fraternity to emulate the example set by B2Gold by fast-tracking the Otjikoto Project through the involvement of local stakeholders:
“Local participation is the only way that mineral resources can benefit the country’s citizens on the one hand, and foreign investors on the other. This is the only way to ensure sustainable and mutually rewarding relationship in our mineral sector.”
The minister also thanked B2Gold for the confidence shown in Namibia and its people.
The main investors of the Otjikoto project are B2Gold (92%) and EVI Gold (Pty) Ltd (8%), a Namibian broad-based black empowerment group. The site is located 300 kilometres north of Windhoek, between the towns of Otjiwarongo and Otavi. The property has excellent infrastructure and is located adjacent to a major paved highway and drilling has outlined water on site well in excess of the life-of-mine requirements.
Otjikoto will be an open pit gold mine with an initial life of mine of 12 years based on the probable mineral reserves.
When it goes into full production towards the end of 2014, it is estimated that approximately 540 people will be permanently employed by the mine.