B2Gold to study underground mining at Namibia’s Otjikoto

B2GOLD said drill results from exploration at its Otjikoto mine in Namibia indicate the possible viabilty of developing an underground mine.

If proven, the reserves would see primary mining continue at the site as production from underground would supplement stockpiled ore B2Gold plans to treat from 2026 through to 2031.

The Toronto-listed firm has set aside $9m for exploration at Otjikoto this year compared to exploration spend of $3.3m last year. Three zones have been identified at the Antelope deposit which is near the Phase 5 open pit at Otjikoto.

Production from Otjikoto could be increased to 100,000 ounces a year over the six year period of the underground mine.

Current gold production estimates at Otjikoto are expected to be between 180,000 to 200,000 oz in 2024 and 2025, just under 100,000 oz in 2026, and stepping down to sub 50,000 oz from 2026 through 2031 during the processing of low-grade stockpiles

An initial mineral resource estimate is anticipated by the third quarter with an internal scoping study on the underground mine set to be completed by the first quarter of 2025.

“Open pit mining operations at Otjikoto are scheduled to ramp down throughout 2024 and conclude in 2025, while underground mining operations at Wolfshag are expected to continue through 2026,” said B2Gold in an update today.

“Processing operations will continue through 2031, when economically viable stockpiles are forecast to be exhausted,” it added.