La Libertad mine - Nicaragua
Open Pit and Underground, 100% B2Gold Ownership
FY 2016 Update:
For the full-year 2016, La Libertad mine produced 132,431 ounces of gold, near the high end of its production guidance range (of 125,000 to 135,000 ounces) and 11% (or 12,956 ounces) higher than 2015. Better grade and higher recoveries contributed to the successful production year. During the third quarter of 2016, La Libertad’s mine schedule was adjusted to mine additional high-grade ore from the Jabali Central pit to offset permitting delays at the Jabali Antenna pit. The Jabali Antenna pit is now planned for production in the third quarter of 2017, pending completion of permitting and relocation activities.
La Libertad’s full-year 2016 cash operating costs(1) were $659 per ounce of gold, near the low end of its cost guidance range (of between $650 and $680 per ounce), and also $57 per ounce (or 8%) lower compared to the prior-year. The reduction compared to the prior-year was mainly due to higher gold production.
La Libertad’s full-year 2016 all-in sustaining costs (“AISC”)(1) were $904 per ounce of gold, below both budget of $1,036 per ounce and $988 per ounce in the prior-year, reflecting lower capital expenditures (primarily driven by lower pre-stripping costs resulting from permitting delays at Jabali Antenna) and and lower cash operating costs.
Q4 2016 Update:
La Libertad’s fourth quarter 2016 production was 35,165 ounces of gold, consistent with the fourth quarter of 2015. La Libertad’s fourth quarter 2016 cash operating costs were $661 per ounce of gold (Q4 2015 - $601 per ounce). AISC were $878 per ounce (Q4 2015 - $877 per ounce).
La Libertad’s 2017 production is forecast to be between 110,000 and 120,000 ounces of gold (compared to 132,431 ounces produced in 2016). Cash operating costs are expected to be between $625 and $665 per ounce of gold. AISC are expected to be between $785 and $815 per ounce.
La Libertad’s production forecast assumes that mining from the higher-grade Jabali Antenna pit will now enter the production stream in the third quarter of 2017 (dependent upon the successful completion of resettlement activities and receipt of the remaining mining permits). However, as in 2016, La Libertad retains some flexibility in sourcing its ore from alternate open pit resources and mineralized zones (subject to permitting) within close proximity of La Libertad mill while the Jabali Antenna permitting and relocation activities are being completed. La Libertad’s cash operating costs per ounce are expected to remain in-line with 2016, as the decrease in planned production is expected to be offset by lower mining costs (as a result of less waste being moved at the Jabali Central pit). Based on current assumptions, La Libertad has an approximate mine life of 3 years, subject to further exploration success.
Recent News Releases:
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.
- Refer to "Non-IFRS measures"
La Libertad mine is located approximately 110 km due east of Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua and 32 km northeast of Juigalpa. The property is situated near the town of La Libertad in La Libertad-Santo Domingo Region of the Department of Chontales in Central Nicaragua. Access to the La Libertad property is 201 km by paved road from Managua to Juigalpa, the capital city of the Department of Chontales. From Juigalpa, a newly paved road (paver stones) leads northeast for 30 km to the town of La Libertad. Access to the mine site is along a five km, secondary unsurfaced road that originates at the entrance to the town of La Libertad. In total, La Libertad mine is 236 km from Managua.
B2Gold, indirectly through its subsidiary, Desarrollo Minero de Nicaragua S.A. (“Desminic”), hold a 100% interest in one exploitation concession for La Libertad covering 10,950 hectares, granted on September 6, 1994 for the term of 40 years pursuant to Ministerial Decree No. 032-RN-MC/94. The principal obligations under the Ministerial Accord include the annual payment of surface taxes, and a net 3.0% royalty on gross production revenues (ad valorem tax) payable to the government of Nicaragua. In addition, B2Gold holds an interest in two exploration concessions consisting of Buenaventura (100%) and Cerro Quiroz (80%) which cover a total of 4,600 hectares and are contiguous to the La Libertad exploitation concession.
La Libertad mine is also subject to a royalty interest granted to Inversiones Mineras S.A. (“IMISA”), a holding company formed to represent unionized mine workers in Nicaragua, equal to 2.0% of the value of total production of gold and silver from La Libertad exploitation concession. In Nicaragua, the government is entitled to an ad-valorem tax over the substances extracted from a mineral concession. The amount of ad-valorem tax is 3% for minerals. Under Nicaraguan law, the ad-valorem tax paid is considered a deductible expense for purposes of computing corporate income tax. However, when this law was enacted, it included a grandfathering rule which allowed concessions granted prior to this law to continue operating under its existing regime. Under the mining law applicable at the time, the amount paid as ad-valorem tax is applied as a direct credit against corporate income tax. The total royalty payable on La Libertad mine production is 5.0%. In addition, under Nicaraguan law, artisanal miners have the right to exploit secondary veins up to a total surface area that may not exceed 1% of the total area granted under a concession. Artisanal mining activities continue on the concession.