B2Gold submits application for Wolfshag zone
Seeking to extend its mining operations into the Wolfshag zone and also increase its processing throughput, B2Gold recently lodged an application with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET). It will form part of an already concluded Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) carried out by B2Gold for the Otjikoto project.
Resource drilling within Mining Licence (ML) 169 led B2Gold to discover an inferred mineral zone adjacent to the original planned Otjikoto deposit open pit. The Wolfshag zone is a 1,600 meter long zone, 250 metres east of the Otjikoto deposit. Earlier this year, B2Gold announced that the initial inferred resource estimate for the Wolfshag zone stood at 6.8 million tonnes at 3.2 grams gold per tonne ore, leading to an estimate of 703,000 ounces gold.
“The proposed changes to the mine include increasing the pit to cover an area stretching at least 40 hectares (ha). The open pit mine will be 220 metres deep and alterations to its processing plant form part of the EIA, which would allow throughput to increase from 2.4 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 3 Mtpa and will include additional infrastructure in the form of two leach tanks and a pebble crusher” said SLR Consulting, the company performing the assessment on behalf of B2Gold, in a statement released this week.
Due to the additional mine pit, more waste rock was expected to be dumped and a further extension of the original Otjikoto waste dump comes into play, extending the waste rock dump area to approximately 330 ha. The approved and already constructed Tailings Storage was designed for a capacity of 36 million tonnes, of which it was found to be sufficient, SLR Consulting said in the statement.
According to SLR Consulting, potential environmental considerations include; impact on water quality and quantity associated with the proposed changes, a loss of fauna and flora, a loss of archaeological resources, and an increase in gaseous emissions and greenhouses gases. The EIA process is expected to be completed by August 2014.
Based on probable reserves, the mine is estimated to have a life span of 12 years with an annual gold production of approximately 141,000 ounces for the first 5 years at an average operating cash cost of US$524 per ounce of gold and for the life of the mine approximately 112,000 ounces of gold per year at an average operating cost of US$689 per ounce.