B2Gold Namibia’s Otjikoto Gold Mine Project will be producing its first batch of gold late last year, which was in more quantities than expected.
The mining company says that it expected operations only to commence at the end of last year and that the first produce came ahead of schedule.
B2Gold Namibia’s Public Relations Manager, Gretha du Plessis could not reveal how many ounces of gold was poured out, but added that they first announce gold production to shareholders as part of regularly released corporate statements.
“When this information is available to our shareholders, we will forward you a copy of that information. We pour on a regular basis and we do not disclose to the public when and how often we pour gold,” said du Plessis.
Otjikoto is only the second Namibian gold mine and has made history as one of the fastest-moving mine construction projects in the country.
Du Plessis added that the Otjikoto Mine’s projected production is based on mineral resource estimates and for 2015, Otjikoto is expected to produce between 140,000 to 150,000 ounces of gold at a cash operating cost of approximately US$500 to US$525 with all in sustaining costs of approximately US$700 per ounce.
B2Gold Namibia also invests in projects that have strong economics and makes plans for long term investment.
“The Company expects that annual gold production from the main Otjikoto pit will increase significantly to approximately 200,000 ounces in 2016 and 170,000 ounces in 2017. During construction and operations B2Gold maintains fiscal responsibility to ensure that each project can be successful,” said du Plessis.
Thus far the team has placed over 1.3 million cubic meters of earth fill, over 20,000 cubic meters of concrete, and laboured over 3 million man-hours.
Namibian workers and artisans with skills in concrete, welding, brick-laying, pipefitting, electricians, carpentry, surveying, plumbing, and many others worked with Namibian and expatriate managers and trainers to develop their skills and work safely and productively at the Mine.
“The focus of this plan is the end of construction and preparation for production and operations – with a ramp down in construction activities and manpower until the end of the year, and ramp up for steady state operations,” noted du Plessis.
The different states embodied in the construction crew include Namibia, South Africa, Canada, United States, Russia, Ghana, Italy, Portugal, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Philippines, Nicaragua, and others and as a result of their incredible, work B2Gold now has a world-class mine and processing facility in Namibia.
“We are currently in transition between construction and steady state with number of employees changing regularly. We anticipate that when we reach steady state that we will have approximately 540 employees,” said Du Plessis.
Late 2012, B2Gold received the Otjikoto Mining Licence and early-2013; bush-clearing was already underway meanwhile the construction of the Otjikoto Gold Mine officially kicked off.
“Otjikoto achieved a substantial and significant overall safety performance during 2013 and 2014. During the construction phase of the project a number of significant safety achievements were recorded: there were no fatal incidents, a year-to-date Lost Time Accident Frequency rate of only 0.08 (project-to-date 0.16), and over 2 million man hours worked without a single Lost Time Injury,” added du Plessis.
The Mine is situated roughly 300 kilometres north of Windhoek between Otjiwarongo and Otavi and is owned 90% by B2Gold whilst 10% is owned by EVI Mining (Proprietary) Ltd, a Namibian empowerment group.
“Otjikoto’s gold production will also be enhanced by the development of its Wolfshag zone, adjacent to the main Otjikoto pit. The Company expects to complete an updated indicated resource study in the first quarter of 2015 along with an updated mine plan by the end of 2015 which will evaluate open pit and underground mining at Wolfshag,” said du Plessis.