VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Canadian intermediate miner B2Gold has poured the first gold at its new Fekola gold mine, in south-west Mali.
The pour, on October 7, was about three months ahead of schedule, with B2Gold reporting that commissioning of the mill is ongoing and commercial production is expected by the end of this year.
In the current quarter, B2Gold is projecting gold production from Fekola of between 50 000 oz and 55 000 oz, ramping up to between 400 000 oz and 410 000 oz of gold during 2018 – the mine’s first full year of operations.
The mine will lift B2Gold’s annual output by about 70% to between 925 000 oz and 975 000 oz in 2018.
B2Gold advised in September that it had completed construction of the Fekola mill and the company had commenced running ore through the system three months ahead of the original schedule and on budget. The company had also recently updated the life-of-mine (LoM) plan, showing increased production and lower operating and all-in sustaining costs (AISC) compared with the original four-million-tonnes-a year optimised feasibility study for Fekola's five-million-tonne-a-year mill.
Based on the new LoM plan, the Fekola mine is expected to produce about 400 000 oz/y of gold for the first three years at operating cash costs of $357/oz and AISC of $604/oz.
For the first seven years, Fekola is projected to produce about 374 000 oz/y of gold, with operating cash costs of $391/oz and AISC of $643/oz. Over the initial ten-year LoM, Fekola is projected to produce an average of 345 000 oz/y, at operating cash costs of $428/oz and AISC of $664/oz.