VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Canadian gold producer B2Gold declared commercial production at its Fekola mine, in Mali, last Thursday, achieving the feat four months ahead of the original schedule, and one month ahead of the revised schedule.
Vancouver-based B2Gold advised that Fekola remains ahead of schedule, with gold output well above budget in each of the ramp-up months, beating original recovery, grade and plant availability estimates in the optimised feasibility study design.
In the year till November 30, the Fekola mine produced about 80 000 oz of gold, about 158% above its budget of 31 000 oz.
The mine’s stellar performance has prompted B2Gold to substantially lift the mine’s 2017 guidance to between 100 000 oz and 110 000 oz, far surpassing the upper-end of the original guidance of 45 000 oz to 55 000 oz.
Based on current assumptions and updates to B2Gold's current-year guidance and long-term mine plans, B2Gold is now expecting consolidated 2017 gold output of between 580 000 oz and 625 000 oz of gold.
In 2018, consolidated gold output is forecast to rise to between 925 000 oz and 975 000 oz – a year-on-year increase of 58%. The consolidated cash operating costs and all-in sustaining costs for 2018 are forecast to fall in 2018 to about $525/oz and $800/oz, respectively.
According to government information, Mali is Africa’s third-biggest gold producer, with full-year output expected to top 95 t of gold – a more than 40% year-on-year rise. With gold exports totalling about $2.2-billion, the gold-mining industry is estimated to contribute about a third to the West African economy.Creamer Media Deputy Editor