B2Gold to open mid December
According to B2Gold, mining activities have progressed as planned and both high and low grade ore is currently being stockpiled in anticipation of final plant completion. Ore mining commenced in June 2014. B2Gold further stated that mining remained in budget, with a total of 12.7 million tonnes of rock mined to date.
B2Gold announced that process plant construction activities are now being finalised and commissioning of the plant has begun and is ongoing. “All leach and carbon-in-pulp tanks have been erected as well as the diesel and water reservoir tanks. Construction of the primary crusher and stockpile facility is complete.”
“Both the SAG and ball mills have been installed as has the gravity concentration circuit. The smelt house has been completed, as well as the 24 megawatt electrical power facility. The main mine communications tower has been constructed and commissioned. The tailings facility is complete, including the placement of a 1.5 km² impermeable plastic liner to protect the environment,” B2Gold said.
According to B2Gold, water has been captured for use during start-up of the mill. Additionally, production and de-watering boreholes have been drilled, pump tested and installed and surface mine development has progressed well.
Said B2Gold, “The current mine plan is based on probable mineral reserves of 29.4 million tonnes at a grade of 1.42 g/t containing 1.341 million ounces of gold at a stripping ratio of 5.59:1 to be mined over an initial 12 year period. The current average annual production for the first five years is estimated to be approximately 141,000 ounces of gold per year at an average cash operating cost of $524 per ounce and for the life of mine approximately 112,000 ounces of gold per year at an average cash operating cost of $689 per ounce. However, based on the positive drill results from the Wolfshag zone to date.” On January 21, 2014 B2Gold announced plans to expand the Otjikoto mine in 2015, increasing ore throughput from 2.5 million tonnes per year to 3 million tonnes. The increased throughput will be achieved through the installation of a pebble crusher, additional leach tanks and mining equipment at a total cost of approximately $15 million. Once the expansion is completed at the end of 2015, B2Gold expects annual gold production from the main Otjikoto pit would increase to approximately 170,000 ounces per year. B2Gold further expects to complete a new Otjikoto Mine plan that will include the mill expansion and Wolfshag Mine plan in the first quarter of 2015.