…As new Otjikoto mine plan is put on cards
By Hilary Mare
HAVING produced 36 172 ounces of gold in the second quarter of 2016, comparable to budget (of 37 426 ounces) and 36 963 ounces produced in the second quarter of 2015 at their Otjikoto mine, B2 Gold will look to the Wolfshag open pit for a new life mine plan and increased production in 2017 and beyond.
Acknowledging that gold production at Otjikoto is weighted to the second half of the year, due to higher anticipated grades as the Phase 1 pit is completed, CEO Clive Johnson in the mine’s presentation of the second quarter 2016 financial results extended that following the promising results of an internal scoping study, a detailed engineering study of Wolfshag underground mining will commence in the third quarter of 2016, with results to be delivered in 2017. “A new life of mine plan, based on the new grade model and geotechnical data including mining from the open-pit component of the Wolfshag deposit, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2016. “The high-grade Wolfshag open pit, scheduled to enter production towards the end of the fourth quarter of 2016, is expected to increase production in 2017 and beyond,” said Johnson.
On the other hand for the second quarter of 2016, the Otjikoto mill achieved record quarterly throughput of 890 704 tonnes, eight percent above budget (of 821 184 tonnes) and 25 percent higher than the second quarter of 2015 (of 711 462 tonnes), the mine has announced.
The average mill recoveries for the second quarter of 2016 were 98.0 percent, compared to a budget of 97.0 percent and recoveries during the same period of the previous year of 98.7 percent.
“The average gold grade processed was 1.29 g /t compared to a budget of 1.43 g /t and 1.63 g /t in the prior-year quarter. Gold grades were negatively impacted in the quarter by the ramp failure which had restricted access to the high-grade ore at the phase 1 pit. However, gold production remained largely unaffected as higher mill throughput and recoveries offset the lower grades,” added the mine.
With access to the higher grade phase 1 pit being re-established for the second half of 2016 and the positive mill throughput/recoveries, there is no impact to the Otjikoto mine’s 2016 annual guidance of 160 000 to 170 000 ounces of gold production at cash operating costs of $400 to $440 per ounce.
“Following the slope failure, a recovery plan to regain access to the phase 1 pit was developed. The plan called for a temporary new access ramp to be established by mid- June to be utilised until the phase 1 pit becomes depleted, expected in November 2016. The new ramp was successfully constructed and mining of the phase 1 pit resumed in mid- June. During the construction of the new ramp, mill feed had been mainly sourced from the medium-grade ore stockpile, and supplemented with high-grade ore extracted from the phase 2 pit (as part of the phase 2 pre-stripping activities).
“With the successful completion of the plant expansion project in the third quarter of 2015, the budgeted annual throughput rate for 2016 was increased from 2.5 million tonnes per year to 3.3 million tonnes per year,” explained the mine. During the first half of 2016, the Otjikoto mine produced 71 875 ounces of gold, approximately in-line with budget (of 73 079 ounces) and six percent higher compared to 68 097 ounces (including 18 815 ounces of pre- commercial production) produced in the first half of 2015.
Holistically B2Gold Corp which owns Otjikoto also announced record gold production and revenue for the second quarter and first half of 2016. This included record quarterly consolidated gold production of 135 242 ounces, four percent (or 5 697 ounces) above budget and 11 percent (or 13 676 ounces) greater than the same period in 2015 and record gold revenue of $164.8 million on record sales of 130 829 ounces at an average price of $1 260 per ounce, an increase in revenue of 21 percent over the same period in 2015.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015