Canada-based B2Gold has reported first extraction of gold from the Fekola mining project in Mali, about three months ahead of schedule.
The gold producer says that the commissioning of the mill is in progress with commercial production anticipated by the year end.
B2Gold estimates gold production of 50,000-55,000oz from the Fekola mine for Q4 2017.
It has revealed that the mine will yield 400,000-410,000oz gold in 2018 which has been scheduled to be the first full year of production. The miner says that this marks a growth in excess of 70% in its annual gold production in 2018.
Last month, B2Gold completed the construction of the mill at Fekola mine and had started operating ore through the system.
The gold mine, based on a new Life of Mine (LoM) plan, has been projected to have an annual production of around 400,000oz of gold for the first three years. The operating cash costs for this is $357 per ounce, stated B2Gold with sustaining costs of $604 per ounce.
The Canadian miner in a statement said: “For the first seven years Fekola is projected to produce approximately 374,000 ounces of gold annually with operating cash costs of $391 per ounce and AISC of $643 per ounce.
“Over the initial ten-year LoM Fekola is projected to produce an average of 345,000 ounces per annum at operating cash costs of $428 per ounce and AISC of $664 per ounce.”
It further added that its exploration team believes there is considerable potential to expand the mine life of Fekola with additional exploration drilling.
Currently, the $15m exploration drill program for 2017 at the Fekola property and regional area is focused on assessing the possible extension of Fekola to the north.
The drilling will also focus on the mineralization below the Kiwi zone and the mineralized bedrock zones underneath the Anaconda saprolite resource, stated B2Gold.
Energy Business Review (EBR)