Fekola Project – Mali(1)

B2Gold acquired the Fekola Project in Mali through a merger with Papillion Resources Limited in October 2014. After completing an optimised feasibility study(2) in June 2015 (click here for details), the Company commenced construction of its fifth and flagship mine, with initial construction activities in February 2015, followed by the official ground-breaking in November 2015. 

Property Location and Access:

Fekola is situated in southwestern Mali, on the border between Mali and Senegal. The Fekola deposit is located about 210 kilometres (“km”) south of Kayes and approximately 40 km south of the city of Kéniéba, in the Kayes Region. From Bamako, the Malian capital, it is about a 480 km drive along the Millennium Highway to Kéniéba, then 40 km along a newly-completed two-way traffic road from the Millennium Highway to the mine site. The mine can also be accessed by road from Dakar in Senegal. The mine is also serviced by a purpose-built gravel airstrip. Click here for B2Gold’s Annual Information Form ("AIF") 2017 for more details on the project’s “Property Description, Location and Access”.

Key Project Highlights:

The Fekola Project mine construction remains approximately three months ahead of schedule and on target for an October 1, 2017, production start. Fekola remains on budget and is expected to be a large low-cost producer and should enable the Company to significantly reduce its longer-term cash operating costs(3) per ounce and all-in sustaining costs (“AISC”)(3) per ounce.

On June 29, 2016 B2Gold announced an exploration update for Fekola (click here for "Exploration" section). Based on positive drill results (at both near-surface targets and deeper along strike below the main Fekola pit) and exploration potential, the Company is expanding the throughput at the Fekola Mine to 5 million tonnes per year. The optimised feasibility study and Environmental and Social Impact Study were both prepared to accommodate an uplift in throughput from 4 million tonnes per year to 5 million tonnes per year. The design factors built into the original design included 5 million tonnes per year assumptions for plant design, general infrastructure and tailings dam design and location. This means that the capacity for throughput of ore at Fekola could reach up to 5 million tonnes per year in the initial years of production, beyond the optimised feasibility study's originally modelled 4 million tonnes per year, for low additional capital cost.

On August 2, 2016 B2Gold decided to proceed with the mill expansion and approved an $18 million expansion budget for additional items including a pebble crusher, one additional leach tank and an additional generator. With this additional capital investment, the Fekola mill expansion is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017 and commissioned in conjunction with the main plant commissioning.

Gold production under the optimised feasibility study was estimated to average 276,000 ounces over the life of Fekola with an average of 350,000 ounces over the first seven years. The open-pit phase designs and production plans were subsequently updated to correspond to the updated Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve models, in addition to the mill capacity increase to 5 million tonnes per year. Based on the updated production plans(4), Fekola is now projected to produce an average of 375,000 to 400,000 ounces of gold per year for the first five years of production (2018 to 2022) and 365,000 to 390,000 ounces per year over the first seven years of production (2018 to 2024). The mining schedule has been adjusted to ensure sufficient feed for the October 1, 2017, start date. Mining rates will not materially change to supply the 5 million tonne per year plant, as the additional material will be diverted from planned stockpiles. Under the 5 million tonne per year updated production plan, the initial mine life for Fekola is expected to be approximately ten years. B2Gold is currently updating the financial analysis for Fekola to include the updated Mineral Reserves, updated mining production schedule, 5 million tonne per year process throughput, current costs, and reconciliation to actual construction and pre-stripping progress. The updated cost model is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2017. For additional information regarding the feasibility study and the anticipated production at Fekola, readers should click here for our AIF 2017.

Q1 2017 – Fekola Construction Update:

In the first quarter of 2017, the B2Gold construction team continued to develop Fekola. At the end of the first quarter, the project was approximately 75% complete with civil earthworks construction and process plant construction approximately 91% and 54% complete, respectively.

Significant activities included :

  • Development of the open pit continued to progress ahead of schedule, with a total of 3.0 million tonnes of waste and 300,000 tonnes of ore mined
  • First phase of the mining fleet, including six CAT 777E haul trucks and two CAT 6020B excavators, is in operation
  • Installation of the ball and SAG mills continues with commissioning expected to start in August 2017
  • Concrete work and plate work at the primary crusher and stockpile feed conveyor has been completed
  • Installation of pipe supports, pipework, mechanical equipment and electrical cables continued site wide and is >50% complete
  • Instrumentation installation at the leach and CIP tanks, leach thickener and tailings thickener also commenced
  • Construction and lining of the site ponds with high density polyethylene (“HDPE”) geomembrane has been completed
  • Underground utility installation including fresh water, sewage lines, and fire water continued throughout the plant site
  • Erection of the various buildings around site also commenced, with a completion rate of approximately 55%
  • Earthworks construction of the phase 1 tailings storage facility (“TSF”) embankment has been completed and HDPE lining of the facility is 100% complete
  • The network of under-drains in the basin of the TSF has also been completed
  • The two of the three decant structures have been finished along with the decant access road above the HDPE liner
  • The TSF and the site water management structures are complete
  • Construction of the run of mine pad continued through the quarter with over 1,700,000 m3 of material placed to date
  • Manpower on site saw an increase through the first quarter with an average of 1,100 employees and contractors (this is the peak number and the numbers will start to decrease down to 880 necessary for operations)

Resettlement Action Plan –  Fadougou Village:

B2Gold has also approved a plan to relocate the village of Fadougou, located adjacent to the main Fekola pit. While the relocation of the village was not a requirement in the Construction Permit, after extensive stakeholder engagement with the local population, the Company decided to proceed with it because of the near proximity of the village to the mine site. Relocation of the village will be completed in accordance with a Resettlement Action Plan ("RAP") that was completed by an independent consultant in consultation with all stakeholders. The RAP is now underway with estimated costs at approximately $20 million

Recent News Releases:

Please click here for the full news release “B2Gold Corp. Reports Strong First Quarter 2017 Results Exceeding its Budget Guidance; Fekola Project Mine Construction Remains on Target for an October 1, 2017 Production Start”, dated May 3, 2017.

Please click here for the full news release "B2Gold Reports 2016 Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Results; Achieves 2016 Record Gold Production, Record-Low Cash Operating Costs and Record Operating Cash Flow; Outlook Provides for Very Strong Gold Production Growth Profile by 2018", dated March 16, 2017.

Click here for details on the Fekola “Exploration" section.

Footnotes (Click to expand)

  1. The disclosure contains forward-looking statements. Refer to the Legal section of the website (click here) for caution regarding forward-looking statements and the basis for presentation of Mineral Reserves, Mineral Resources and other technical disclosures
  2. On a 100% pre-tax basis, based on original optimised feasibility study. Final Fekola ownership is expected to be 80% held by B2Gold and 20% held by the State of Mali
  3. Refer to “Non-IFRS measures” in the Company’s most recently filed Management’s Discussion and Analysis (“MD&A”). Click here for MD&A
  4. Based on current assumptions

Certain portions of the information provided herein are derived from and based on the technical report entitled “NI 43-101 Technical Report Feasibility Study on the Fekola Gold Project in Mali” that has an effective date of June 30, 2015, and was prepared by Tom Garagan, P.Geo, William Lytle, P.E, Peter Montano, P.E., Ken Jones, P.E., Sandra Hunter, MAusIMM(CP), and David J. T. Morgan, MIEAust CPEng and from our most recent Annual Information Form (“AIF”) - click here for AIF, and are based on the assumptions, qualifications and procedures set out therein. For a more detailed overview of the Fekola Project, please refer to the documents noted above, which are available on SEDAR at and on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s website at

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