Fekola project - Mali
B2Gold acquired the Fekola project through a merger with Papillon Resources in October 2014. Following on from the preliminary economic (“PEA”) assessment that Papillon had completed, B2Gold filed an Optimized Feasibility Study (“OFS”) in June 2015 (click here for highlights).
One of B2Gold’s core mining activities is the construction of its Fekola mine. The Fekola project is progressing well, on schedule and on budget, and is scheduled to commence production in fourth quarter of 2017. Fekola is expected to be another low-cost mine and should enable the Company to significantly increase its production base while at the same time reduce its consolidated cash operating costs and all-in sustaining costs.
Key Highlights 2016:
In March 2016, B2Gold put several new funding measures in place. A total of $120 million was received from Prepaid Sales arrangements with the Company’s Revolving Credit Facility (“RCF”) syndicate, and the Company signed a commitment letter for Euro 71.4 million Equipment Facility with Caterpillar Financial SARL (subject to financing conditions). In the form of metal sales forward contracts, the Prepaid Sales transactions allow the Company to deliver predetermined volumes of gold on agreed future delivery dates in exchange for upfront cash pre-payment. Settlement will be in the form of physical deliveries in 2017 and 2018 of approximately 9% and 6% of projected production (approximately 51,600 ounces), respectively.
During the first quarter of 2016, B2Gold increased its 2016 exploration budget for Mali by $4.5 million from $6.9 million to $11.4 million (click here for Exploration section). B2Gold is approximately 70% through a 98,500 metre diamond, reverse circulation, auger and air core drill program, to follow up on a successful 2015.
On June 29, 2016, B2Gold announced an exploration update for its Fekola project. Based on the positive drill results to date (at both near surface and underground below the main Fekola pit) and exploration potential, the Company is expanding the throughput at the Fekola mine. The Optimized 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. This means that the capacity for throughput of ore at the Fekola mine could reach up to 5 million tonnes per year in the initial years of production, beyond the optimized Feasibility Study’s originally modelled 4 million tonnes per year, for relatively low additional capital cost.
On August 2, 2016, B2Gold decided to proceed with the mill expansion and approved an $18 million expansion budget. 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. The mill capacity increase could potentially raise annual production by up to 20% (subject to mine planning), surpassing initial Feasibility Study projections of approximately 350,000 ounces of gold per year for the first seven years of operation.
In the third quarter of 2016, B2Gold’s construction team continued to develop the Fekola project in Mali which remains on schedule and on budget. Significant activities during the quarter included:
- Water dam spillway - completed
- Permanent camp construction achieved substantial completion
- Phase 2 diversion channel south of pit - 85% complete
- Stage 1 pit overburden removal continues
- Concrete production site wide - 61% complete (15,481 m3)
- Structural steel erection commenced in September (conveyor, mill, tanks)
- Power plant construction on schedule - concrete pours continue and steel erection has started
- Workforce continually growing - daily manpower consists of 800 employees and contractors
Further production scheduling and cost guidance for the Fekola project under the 5 million tonne per year case will be available in early 2017.
The Company has also approved a plan to relocate the village of Fadougou, located adjacent to the main Fekola pit. This decision was not made based on a requirement in the Construction Permit but on extensive stakeholder engagement with the local population. It is anticipated that the relocation process will commence in the fourth quarter of 2016 and will take two years to complete.
Please click here for the full news release “B2Gold Corp. 2016 Exploration Update: West Africa.”
Please click here for the full news release “B2Gold Corp. Reports Q3 2016 Results; Operating Cash Flows Significantly Higher on Record Gold Production, Record Low Costs and Higher Gold Prices; 2016 Guidance Favourably Revised”.
Certain portions of the above information are derived from and based on the assumptions, qualifications and procedures set out in the technical report entitled “NI 43-101 Technical Report Feasibility Study on the Fekola Gold Project in Mali” dated effective June 30, 2015 prepared by Tom Garagan, P.Geo, BSc., William Lytle, P.E., M.Sc., B.Sc., Peter Montano, P.E., Ken Jones, P.E., Sandy Hunter, MAusIMM(CP), and David J. T. Morgan, MIEAust CPEng (the “Fekola Feasibility Study”). For a more detailed overview of the Fekola project, please refer to the Fekola feasibility study, which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.