B2Gold Otjikoto hits record quarterly production

B2GOLD Corporation produced a total of 288 665 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of 2023, with its Otjikoto Mine in Namibia exceeding expected production and achieving a record quarterly production of 81 111 ounces.

This was announced by the company’s president and chief executive, Clive Johnson, in a statement released from Canada yesterday.

He said the company has recorded an annual total gold production of 1,06 million ounces at all its mines for 2023, achieving the upper half of the annual guidance range of between 1 million and 1,08 million ounces, and marking the company’s eighth consecutive year of meeting or exceeding annual production guidance.

On 31 December 2023, the company had cash and cash equivalents of US$307 million (N$5,8 billion) and working capital, defined as current assets minus current liabilities, of US$397 million (N$7,5 billion).

On 21 February this year the board declared a cash dividend for the first quarter of 2024 of $0,04 per common share (or an expected $0,16 per share on an annual basis), payable on 20 March, to shareholders of record as of 7 March.

Johnson said Otjikoto Mine, in which the company holds a 90% interest, had a strong finish to 2023 and produced an annual record of 208 598 ounces of gold at the upper end of the guidance range of 190 000 to 210 000 ounces – mainly due to improved processed grade as a result of higher-grade ore mined from the Wolfshag underground mine.

For the year ended 31 December 2023, mill feed grade was 1,91 g/t, mill throughput was 3,44 million tonnes, and gold recovery averaged 98,6%.
“In the fourth quarter of 2023, Otjikoto Mine produced a quarterly record of 81,111 ounces from a mill feed grade of 2,88 g/t, mill throughput was 0,89 million tonnes, and gold recovery averaged 98,5%,” Johnson stated.

He said as of the beginning of 2023, the Probable Mineral Reserve estimate for the Wolfshag deposit included 203 000 ounces of gold in 1,1 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 5,55 g/t gold.

“Open-pit mining operations at Otjikoto Mine are scheduled to ramp down throughout 2024 and conclude in 2025, while underground mining operations at Wolfshag are expected to continue through 2026,” he said, adding that processing operations will continue until 2031, when economically viable stockpiles are forecast to be exhausted.

The company announced positive exploration drilling results from the Antelope deposit at Otjikoto Mine on 31 January.

The Antelope deposit, comprising the Springbok Zone, the Oryx Zone and a possible third structure, Impala, subject to further confirmatory drilling, is located approximately 3km south of the Otjikoto Phase 5 open pit.

“The Antelope deposit has the potential to be developed as an underground mining operation, which could complement the expected processing of low-grade stockpiles from 2026 until 2031,” he said.

Otjikoto Mine’s cash operating costs for the year ended 31 December 2023 were US$585 per gold ounce produced (US$568 per gold ounce sold), within its revised guidance range of between $545 and $605 per gold ounce produced, and below its original guidance range between $590 and $650 per gold ounce produced.

The mine is expected to produce between 180 000 and 200 000 ounces of gold in 2024 at cash operating costs of between US$685 and US$745 per ounce, and all-in sustaining costs of between US$960 and US$1 020 per ounce.

Gold production at Otjikoto is expected to be relatively consistent throughout 2024 when the mine is expected to process a total of 3,4 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 1,77 g/t with a process gold recovery of 98%.

Johnson said that based on current estimates, consolidated gold production is expected to be between 1 130 000 and 1,26 million ounces in 2025, driven by a significant increase in gold production from the Fekola Complex in Mali.
– email: matthew@namibian.com.na

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