Otjikoto delivers solid first quarter
By Hilary Mare
B2 Gold’s Otjikoto mine had a solid first quarter, producing 41,749 ounces of gold, 3% (1,363 ounces) above budget, as processed tonnes, grade, and recovery were all slightly better than budget, Clive Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer of B2 Gold has said.
Compared to the first quarter of 2019, gold production was significantly higher by 28% (9,037 ounces), due to higher grade ore from the Wolfshag Pit (ore production from the pit resumed in the second half of 2019 following pre-stripping).
“The Otjikoto Mine continued its remarkable safety performance, extending the number of days without a Lost-Time-Injury to 733 days (approximately 2 years or over 6 million man-hours) as at March 31, 2020,” Johnson said.
During the first quarter of 2020, the Otjikoto Mine processed 0.86 million tonnes (compared to budget of 0.85 million tonnes and 0.80 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2019) at an average grade of 1.54 g/t (compared to budget of 1.51 g/t and 1.29 g/t in the first quarter of 2019) and average gold recoveries of 98.4% (compared to budget of 98.0% and 98.6% in the first quarter of 2019).
“The Namibian government has communicated that it continues to support safe mining but has directed mines to reduce staffing to minimal levels. The Company has accordingly implemented temporary measures at the Otjikoto Mine to reduce employees active on site to the minimum levels required to continue with mining and milling operations. In the short term, the Company has flexibility to access higher grade areas in the Otjikoto Phase 2 and Wolfshag Phase 2 pits earlier than anticipated in the budgeted 2020 mining sequence.
“Therefore, the Company is forecasting that operating under the reduced temporary manpower scenario for up to the next three months (including drawing on existing stockpiles as needed) will not impact Otjikoto’s production forecast for the second quarter of 2020 nor its 2020 annual production guidance,” added Johnson.
Based on current assumptions, for full-year 2020, the Otjikoto Mine is forecast to produce between 165,000 and 175,000 ounces of gold, from the Otjikoto and Wolfshag Pits, at cash operating costs of between $480 and $520 per ounce and AISC of between $1,010 and $1,050 per ounce.
“The Company is continuing to focus on its COVID-19 response measures and to date has not experienced any incidents of the COVID-19 virus at its sites or corporate offices. B2Gold places the safety and wellbeing of its workforce as the highest priority and continues to encourage input from all its stakeholders as the situation continues to evolve, including cooperation from all levels of government in Mali, Namibia, the Philippines and Colombia,” concluded Johnson.