La Libertad Mine
La Libertad Mine
La Libertad Mine is located 178 kilometres east of the Nicaraguan capital of Managua. B2Gold acquired 100% interest in the open pit gold mine in March 2009.
La Libertad Mine began operating as a heap leach mine in 1996. Operations were suspended in 2007 after studies showed that gold recovery could be improved from approximately 40% through heap leaching to over 90% using a conventional milling operation.
After investing over US$70 million in a new SAG and ball mill grinding circuit, carbon-in-pulp recovery tanks, and a tailings storage facility, as well as the recent mill expansion in Q2 2013 La, Libertad Mine has a processing capacity of 6,050 tonnes of ore per day.
La Libertad Mine is projected to produce approximately 131,000 to 137,000 ounces of gold in 2013 at an operating cash cost of approximately $560 to $590 per ounce. Gold production for the first half of 2013 is estimated to total approximately 56,000 to 59,000 ounces of gold at a cash operating cost of approximately $620 to $650 per ounce and for the second half approximately 75,000 to 78,000 ounces of gold at a cash operating cost of approximately $515 to $545 per ounce. Cash from mining operations at La Libertad Mine is projected at approximately $135 million (at $1,600 per ounce gold price).
Gold production in 2013 at La Libertad is budgeted to be approximately 30% higher in the second half of 2013 due to increased mill through-put as a result of expanding the mill capacity by 10%, and higher grade ore from the Santa Maria and Jabali open pits, and higher gold recoveries. The Libertad Mine is budgeted to process an average of 5,743 tonnes of ore per day for a total of approximately 2.1 million tonnes of ore for the year at an average grade of 2.19 g/t gold.
Operating cash costs for 2013 are budgeted to increase over 2012 budget due to higher strip ratios, higher energy, consumables, and contractor costs. Offsetting these costs is the significant ounce increase from the mill expansion and higher budgeted gold grade of 2.19 g/t and gold recoveries of 92%.
The Company has budgeted capital costs at La Libertad in 2013, totaling approximately $38.5 million. The majority of this capital cost will be expended on preparation and equipment for surface mining of the Jabali Central pit, pre-stripping at the Santa Maria, Mojon and Jabali pits, and a mill expansion that will increase mill through-put by 10%.
Together with Local Communities
B2Gold is proud to be a good neighbor. Above and beyond the creation of hundreds of jobs for the local economy, the Company promotes, contributes to and executes many social projects that seek to ensure sustainable development in the communities around La Libertad Mine.
Phase one of B2Gold’s Agua por Vida (Water for Life) Project was completed in La Libertad in 2009, involving the construction of a new 112,000-gallon municipal water storage tank, replacement of old asbestos/cement piping with a modern PVC distribution network, and installation of 456 domestic water metres and taps. In this way, B2Gold helped to double La Libertad’s water treatment capacity, greatly reduce water outages and rationing, and bring safe drinking water to hundreds of households in the municipality.
A significant amount of B2Gold’s budget for local development targets independent small miners. Every year, the company commits to processing 5,500 tonnes of non-industrial miners’ ore as part of its social agreement with the Small Miners Cooperative of La Libertad. This enables the small miners to increase their incomes and reduces the environmental impact of small miners processing ore.
This year, B2Gold is initiating a small business development project that will benefit sixty youth from rural areas around La Libertad Mine. Focusing on activities appropriate to the local economy, participants in this project will receive training as dress-makers/tailors, dairy producers, environmental inspectors, etc. Other new projects will involve the installation of public lighting in town, the equipping of a municipal computer school, and capacity building for local government institutions.
B2Gold will continue to work hand-in-hand with the local governments and populations of La Libertad and Santo Domingo, supporting efforts in health and education, promoting environmental campaigns, sponsoring sports and recreational activities, and funding local child nutrition centers and homes for the elderly.