B2Gold says Fekola expansion may take annual output to 800,000 oz/yr

B2Gold's Fekola gold project in Mali

B2GOLD said today that a finding from a preliminary study was it could increase production from its Fekola mine in Mali by 20% to 800,000 ounces a year.

This assumes annualised production of 667,000 oz for the firm’s 2023 financial year. The mine, which comprises about two-thirds of B2Gold’s current output, produced 165,050 oz in the first quarter.

Total first quarter production totalled 250,719 oz and gold sold of 249,150 oz at an average realised price of $1,901/oz. After all-in sustaining costs of $1,060/oz reported net income of $101.9bn and basic earnings of eight cents a share.

The Toronto-listed miner said in a first quarter update that an optimisation study into the expansion of Fekola would be completed in the fourth quarter. The preliminary findings were subject to the delineation of additional resources.

The optimisation is part of an engineering study into building a standalone mill and oxide processing facilities to be located in the Anaconda area contained in the Fekola property. Construction of the mill would represent phase 2 of B2Gold’s Fekola Regional Development Plan, the company said.

In April, B2Gold announced it had started the phased closure of its Otjikoto open-pit mine in Namibia because of its depleted gold resource.

“Phased downscaling of operations, in line with the closure plan, are only scheduled to commence during the first quarter of 2024,” it told Reuters.

However, B2Gold would continue to develop its underground mine at Otjikoto in an effort to replace ounces from the winding down of open-pit operations.

The group also completed the acquisition of Canadian exploration and development company Sabina Gold & Silver Corp in a C$1.2bn ($897.5m) all-share deal.

This will give B2Gold control of Sabina’s five high-grade gold blocks in Canada’s Nunavut region, where the most advanced project is expected to start production during the first quarter of 2025 at an average annual rate of 300,000 oz over 15 years.