VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired - June 13, 2014) - B2Gold Corp.(TSX:BTO)(NYSE MKT:BTG)(NAMIBIAN:B2G) (“B2Gold” or the “Company”), is pleased to announce construction at the Otjikoto Mine in Namibia remains on budget and on schedule for completion in the fourth quarter of 2014. In addition the Company announces further high grade drilling results from the Wolfshag zone at Otjikoto.
Construction of the Otjikoto open pit gold mine remains on schedule to commence gold production in late 2014. All major excavations on the project are complete and the only substantial earthworks project remaining is the relocation of a gravel district road (scheduled to be completed in Q3, 2014). More than 16,000 cubic metres of concrete have been poured and less than 10% of the total volume remains outstanding. Steel erection continues on site and millwrights are currently installing the crusher and milling circuits. All material earthworks in the tailings pond have been completed and water has been captured from the rainy season to start the mill. Total employees and contractors on site now totals approximately 1,000.
Mining remains on budget with 2014 forecasts and more than 7.5 million tonnes have been moved since pit inception. The project team has recently begun to mine ore and is placing material on the stockpile in anticipation for start-up.
Based on the Feasibility Study, the projected average annual production for the first five years is approximately 141,000 ounces of gold per year at an average operating cash cost of $525 per ounce and for the LOM approximately 112,000 ounces of gold per year at an average operating cash cost of $689 per ounce. Total construction and development costs remain in line with the Otjikoto feasibility study released in February 2013, including pre-development costs of $244 million and deferred stripping estimates of $33 million. The Otjikoto feasibility study also assumed that a further $60 million in mobile mining fleet and power plant costs would be lease financed. Leasing arrangements were finalised in the fourth quarter of 2013 and will finance a total of $34 million of mobile mining fleet costs based on current foreign exchange rates. The balance of the fleet and power plant costs has been funded from the Company’s existing cash flows and credit facilities.
Given the discovery of the high grade Wolfshag zone near the planned open pit, the plant facility and support infrastructure will be built to support a plant expansion from the initial processing capability of 2.5 million tonnes per annum to 3.0 million tonnes. The increased throughput will be achieved through the installation of a pebble crusher, additional leach tanks and mining equipment at a total cost of approximately $15 million. Once the expansion is completed at the end of 2015, the Company expects that the annual gold production from the main Otjikoto pit would increase to approximately 170,000 ounces per year. The Company will rerun mine plans to include the higher grade Wolfshag zone.
Exploration Drill Results
The Company is also pleased to announce continued high grade results from the exploration drilling program on the recently discovered Wolfshag zone at its Otjikoto Gold Project in Namibia. The infill drilling on the Wolfshag zone continues to confirm the continuity of the main high grade shoots, WA and WB. The Wolfshag zone plunges at 10 to 15 degrees to the southwest and has been traced down plunge for 1,600 metres, and remains open to depth. Recent results are highlighted by hole WH14-162 which intersected 29.65 metres grading 9.53 g/t gold (7.70 g/t gold with assays capped at 45 g/t gold), including 15.30 metres at 17.34 g/t gold (13.78 g/t gold with assays capped at 45 g/t gold).
Drilling this year has concentrated on infilling the northern portion of the Wolfshag zone to allow for conversion of portions of the recently defined inferred resource of 6.8 million tonnes grading 3.2 g/t gold (703,000 contained ounces gold) (see B2Gold news release dated January 22, 2014) to an indicated mineral resource category. Conceptual studies for incorporation of the Wolfshag resource into the Otjikoto mine plan have started in support of the Otjikoto mine expansion. Results have been received from all but five holes of the exploration program completed to date. Select significant new results (uncapped) from the Wolfshag drilling include, from north to south:
-- WH14-155 with 8.95 metres at 4.37 g/t gold;
-- WH14-135 with 15.00 metres at 7.43 g/t gold, including 7.62 metres at
12.91 g/t gold;
-- WH14-139 with 7.40 metres at 7.78 g/t gold; including 2.60 metres at
11.07 g/t gold;
-- WH14-162 with 29.65 metres at 9.53 g/t gold, including 15.30 metres at
17.34 g/t gold;
-- WH14-171 with 19.95 metres at 11.78 g/t gold; including 10.80 metres at
20.58 g/t gold;
-- WH14-173 with 12.70 metres at 6.42 g/t, including 5.75 metres at 11.30
-- WH14-175 with 23.00 metres at 6.15 g/t gold, including 2.85 metres at
19.09 g/t gold; and,
-- WH14-185 with 25.25 metres at 5.80 g/t gold, including 9.95 metres at
8.49 g/t gold.
Exploration work is continuing on the Wolfshag zone with two drills currently active on infill drilling of the southern extensions of the zone to potentially allow for inclusion of this area into an inferred mineral resource class. Additional results will be released as they become available. Future work will continue to follow the Wolfshag zone at depth and to test several other targets and on the property.
2Gold's Quality Assurance/Quality Control
Quality assurance and quality control procedures include the systematic insertion of blanks, standards and duplicates into the core sample strings. The primary laboratory for Otjikoto is ALS Minerals in Johannesburg, South Africa, where samples are analysed by metallic screen fire assay and/or fire assay with atomic absorption finish and/or gravimetric finish using one assay tonne. Samples are prepared at ALS Minerals in Swakopmund, Namibia. Bureau Vertitas, Swakopmund, Namibia, is the umpire laboratory. All results stated in this announcement have passed B2Gold’s quality assurance and quality control (“QA/QC”) protocols. Tom Garagan is the Qualified Person as defined under National Instrument 43-101.
ON BEHALF OF B2GOLD CORP.
Clive T. Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer
For more information on B2Gold please visit the Company web site at www.b2gold.com.
This press release includes certain “forward-looking information” and “forward-looking statements” (collectively, “forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of applicable Canadian and United States securities legislation, including statements regarding anticipated exploration and development activities, completion of construction and the timing and amount of projected production at the Otjikoto Project, other operational and economic projections, and other anticipated developments on the company’s properties
You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. B2Gold disclaims any obligation to update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise, except as required by law.
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Source: B2Gold Corp.