Sunday, December 17, 2017
Clive Johnson

Clive Johnson


BARRING any more acquisitions, the next major milestone in terms of B2Gold’s African gold strategy will be the first pour at its $395m Fekola project in Ghana. Commissioning of the mine, which was part of B2Gold’s $570m purchase of Papillon Resources, is pencilled in for the fourth quarter of 2017. To this day, Johnson marvels at the capture of the project as there were no other bidders for Papillon – a turn of events he puts down to industry timidity at a time when the gold price was languishing. Fekola is slated to produce 350,000 ounces a year for the first seven years at a cost of just over $400/oz. It will help take B2Gold’s output to 850,000 oz/year in 2018 – a quantum leap over the 520,000 to 570,000 oz guided for 2017. Johnson is an exploration bull and is optimistic the firm’s Anaconda prospect in Mali can become a “small, self-standing” mine. There’s also some excitement around the Kiaka deposit in Burkina Faso. Funds for exploration, and the continued development of Fekola, could be locked in through a $100m share distribution which B2Gold is set up to do. With assets and projects in Namibia (Otjikoto), Nicaragua, and throughout West Africa, Johnson believes his company is the fastest growing gold company in the world. The company is highly rated with RBC Capital Markets calling it “top in our universe”.


Johnson, a former rugby union player, doesn’t mince his words – and sometimes is slow to moderate his actions – but the positive flip-side is boldness in business. He established his reputation with Bema Gold which was bought by Kinross in 2007 for C$3.5bn. He then regrouped with former Bema colleagues to establish B2Gold which embarked on an aggressive acquisition strategy culminating in the $570m purchase of Papillon Resources in 2014.

“We believe there will be numerous additional major gold discoveries in Africa.”