For dual-listed B2Gold, 2018 was a year of “transformational” growth, which was highlighted by the first full year of commercial production from its new large and low-cost Fekola mine, in Mali, and record yearly production from its Masbate mine, in the Philippines.
The year also marked the gold miner’s tenth consecutive year of achieving record yearly consolidated gold production, with 953 504 oz of gold produced during the year under review.
Consolidated gold production for the year increased by 322 939 oz compared with 2017, with the Fekola mine having continued to outperform expectations and exceeding the upper limit of its already increased production guidance range of between 420 000 oz and 430 000 oz. Gold production at Fekola was 439 068 oz in 2018.
The Masbate mine achieved another strong year in 2018, B2Gold said on Wednesday, and produced a yearly record of 216 468 oz of gold. Masbate also exceeded the upper limit of its already increased production guidance range of between 200 000 oz and 210 000 oz.
The Otjikoto mine, in Namibia, also achieved a solid performance in 2018, producing 167 346 oz of gold, which is above the mid-point of its production guidance range of between 160 000 oz and 170 000 oz.
These strong operational performances by the Fekola, Masbate and Otjikoto mines more than offset production shortfalls at B2Gold’s La Libertad and El Limon mines, in Nicaragua, which represent 14% of the company’s 2018 consolidated gold production, and whose operations in 2018 were negatively affected by political unrest in that country.
The company’s full-year 2018 consolidated cash operating costs were $495/oz, beating guidance of between $505/oz and $550/oz, and is below the prior year of $542/oz.
Consolidated all-in sustaining costs (AISC) were $758/oz, below the guidance range of between $780/oz and $830/oz and below the prior year of $860/oz, which B2Gold said reflected the positive impact of the first full-year contribution of low-cost production from Fekola, as well as the Masbate mine’s strong operational performance.
For the full-year, consolidated gold revenue reached a record $1.2-billion on the sale of 970 409 oz at an average price of $1 262/oz, compared with $639-million on the sale of 510 966 oz at an average price of $1 250/oz in 2017.
According to B2Gold, this significant increase in gold revenue was attributable to the higher gold production and timing of gold sales, relating to the sale of gold bullion and in-circuit inventories included in opening inventories at the beginning of the year.
Consolidated cash flows from operating activities significantly increased by $296-million, or 191%, to $451-million from $155-million in 2017.