Otjikoto in 27 000 ounces gold haul
By Hilary Mare
B2 Gold’s Otjikoto Mine recorded a solid performance in the second quarter of 2021, producing 26 891 ounces of gold, well above budget by seven percent (1 786 ounces), mainly due to higher than budgeted processed grade as the grade of ore sourced from the medium grade stockpile was slightly higher than anticipated during the second quarter.
As expected however, compared to the second quarter of 2020, gold production was significantly lower by 38 percent (16 605 ounces), as processed ore was primarily sourced from existing stockpiles while significant waste stripping operations continue at both the Wolfshag and Otjikoto pits.
“Mined ore tonnage and grade continue to reconcile well with Otjikoto’s resource model, and ore production is forecast to significantly increase in the second half of 2021 when mining reaches the higher-grade zone at the base of the Wolfshag Pit,” Clive Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the mine said.
For the second quarter of 2021, mill feed grade was 0.99 g/t compared to budget of 0.94 g/t and 1.58 g/t in the second quarter of 2020; mill throughput was 0.86 million tonnes compared to budget of 0.85 million tonnes and 0.87 million tonnes in the second quarter of 2020; and gold recovery averaged 97.8 percent compared to budget of 97.6 percent and 98.6 percent in the second quarter of 2020.
Notably, for the first half of 2021, the Otjikoto Mine produced 49 933 ounces of gold, well above budget by nine percent (4 137 ounces), and 41 percent (35 312 ounces) lower than the first half of 2020.
“Development of the Wolfshag underground mine continues to progress on schedule. In the fourth quarter of 2020, development of the portal was completed, and development of the primary underground ramp commenced. Development continued through the first half of 2021, and stope ore production is expected to commence in early 2022, in-line with original estimates,” further explained Johnson.
The initial underground mineral reserve estimate for the down-plunge extension of the Wolfshag orebody included 210 000 ounces of gold in 1.2 million tonnes of ore at 5.57 g/t gold.
For full-year 2021, the Otjikoto Mine remains on track to produce between 190 000 and 200 000 ounces of gold, as high-grade ore is scheduled to be sourced from Phase 3 of the Wolfshag Pit in the second half of 2021.
“Approximately 70 percent of the gold produced in 2021 is expected to be mined from Phase 3 of the Wolfshag Pit, with material ore production starting early in the third quarter of 2021 following the waste stripping campaign. As a result of the timing of this high-grade ore mining, Otjikoto’s gold production is expected to increase significantly in the second half of 2021 to between 145 000 – 150 000 ounces.
“On average, Otjikoto’s higher 2021 gold production level of between 190 000 – 200 000 ounces is expected to continue through to 2024, with production from Wolfshag underground expected to commence in early 2022 to supplement ore from the Otjikoto Pit as well as existing medium and low-grade stockpiles for approximately three years based on current estimates,” stated Johnson.