By Hilary Mare
ONGOING studies at the Otjikoto Mine are leading the B2Gold to re-evaluate the open pit and underground interface of the mine, in order to determine the optimal mine plan and economics for its Wolfshag expansion, Confidente can reveal.
B2Gold President and Chief Executive Officer, Clive Johnson, confirmed that projections had been completed, in terms of the various options under consideration.
“Life-of-mine production plans for the Otjikoto Mine, incorporating preliminary projections for the Wolfshag open pit and potential underground mines, have been completed for various options, and will be further refined, as the detailed geotechnical, hydrogeological and design studies for Wolfshag are completed (which is expected at the end of the third quarter of 2017),” he said.
According to its second quarter production highlights, the Otjikoto Mine also continued its very strong operational performance into the second quarter of 2017, producing 41 163 ounces of gold, 15 percent (or 5 273 ounces) above budget and 14 percent (or 4 991 ounces) higher than the second quarter of 2016.
The increase over budget was mainly the result of better than expected grade and ore tonnage from the new Wolfshag Phase 1 Pit and higher than expected mill throughput.
The average gold grade processed in the quarter was 1.50 g/t compared to budget of 1.38 g/t and 1.29 g/t, in the second quarter of 2016.
“To date there has been a positive reconciliation in terms of both grade and ore tonnage from the oxide and transition portions of the Wolfshag Phase 1 Pit, versus the resource model. Analysis of the Wolfshag model is ongoing, to determine whether this positive variance continues throughout the Wolfshag ore deposit.
“Mill throughput for the quarter was 867 170 tons, compared to budget of 823 732 tons and 890 704 tons in the second quarter of 2016. Mill recoveries remained high and averaged 98.6 percent, slightly above both budget and the prior year quarter. Year-to-date, gold production at the Otjikoto Mine was 83 937 ounces of gold, significantly above budget by 17 percent (or 12 355 ounces) and 17 percent (or 12 062 ounces) higher than the first-half of 2016,” added Johnson.
Overall, consolidated gold production in the first-half of 2017 was 254 184 ounces (first half of 2016 was 263 086 ounces), 4 percent (or 9 566 ounces) above budget.
“Gold production is anticipated to be weighted towards the second half of the year, due to the anticipated start-up of Fekola, combined with lower expected average strip ratios at Masbate and Otjikoto in the second half of the year,” B2Gold said.
Consolidated gold revenue in the second quarter of 2017 was US$164.3 million on sales of 131 737 ounces, at an average price of US$1 247 per ounce, compared to US$164.8 million on sales of 130 829 ounces, at an average price of US$1 260 per ounce, in the second quarter of 2016.
For the first half of 2017, consolidated gold revenue was US$310.6 million on sales of 251 674 ounces, at an average price of US$1 234 per ounce, compared to US$309.1 million on sales of 251 728 ounces, at an average price of US$1 228 per ounce, in the first half of 2016.
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