B2Gold has a 2017 exploration budget totalling $46 million. Approximately $22 million of the 2017 budget will be used to support brownfields exploration at the producing mines (which for accounting purposes will be capitalized and included in the mine's sustaining and non-sustaining capital costs). In addition, a significant portion of the 2017 exploration budget will be used at all sites to drill several targets that exhibit potential based on early stage exploration in 2016. West Africa and Nicaragua will be a primary focus of 2017 exploration expenditures.
In 2017, approximately $20 million will be spent on exploration in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana. Exploration on the licences in Mali will total $11.6 million focusing on multiple targets close to the Fekola deposit. The 2017 budget for West Africa envisions completing 16,500 metres of diamond drilling, 41,000 metres of RC drilling, 22,000 metres of air-core drilling and 8,500 metres of auger drilling.
In addition to its development of the Fekola project in Mali, the Company continues to pursue its organic growth strategy. Sustainable organic growth also requires a continued focus on exploration, permitting and feasibility programs at the Company’s existing projects. Exploration will also focus on drilling additional greenfield opportunities.
With its existing growth profile, B2Gold remains one of the fastest-growing gold producers in the world. The Company’s objective is to continue growing as a profitable and responsible gold producer through ongoing exploration of its existing projects and accretive acquisitions, irrespective of the gold price.