Canada-based miner B2Gold plans to spend a record $29-million on grassroots exploration this year, having spent many years generating targets and pursuing 13 opportunities in prospective gold regions.
The company, which has a total exploration budget of $65-million for the year focusing mainly on Mali and other operating mine sites in Namibia and the Philippines, plans to focus its grassroots exploration in several new regions.
The grassroots programme includes an $8-million allocation in Finland for the Central Lapland joint venture (JV) with Aurion Resources. B2Gold notes that the westward extension of Rupert Resources’ Ikarri discovery trends directly onto the JV ground. This trend coincides with B2Gold’s base-of-till drilling and the same interpreted structure as defined by airborne geophysics.
Diamond drilling in 2021 has confirmed the presence of mineralisation on the structure and B2Gold says it is being followed up this year with 11 600 m planned.
Meanwhile, in Mali, B2Gold says it is expanding the scope of its exploration activities on the Anaconda area, following the receipt of the Menankoto permit. The company plans to follow up on the sulphide mineralisation at the Mamba, Adder and several other targets below the saprolite mineralisation in 2022.
The miner recently completed the acquisition of the Bakolobi permit from a local Malian company. The Bakolobi permit is located between the Menankoto permit, to the north, and the Fekola mine's Medinandi permit, wrapping around the latter to its southwest end, covering an area of 100 km2.
The acquisition of the Bakolobi permit results in the ownership by the company of four contiguous exploration and/or exploitation permits covering 237 km2.
B2Gold’s preliminary planning has demonstrated that a pit situated on the Anaconda area could provide saprolite material to be trucked to and fed into the Fekola mill, starting in late 2022, increasing the ore processed and yearly gold production from the Fekola mil.
The company has started a Phase 2 scoping study to review the project economics of constructing a standalone mill near the Anaconda area. Until then, saprolite material will continue to be trucked to and fed into the Fekola mill.
B2Gold produced 209 365 oz in the first quarter, which is 5% above budget, at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $1 036/oz. The company generated revenue of $366-million on the sales of 195 000 oz, at an average realised price of $1 874/oz.
Net income reduced to $81-million, or $0.08 a share, and adjusted net income to $65-million, or $0.06 a share.
B2Gold says it expects to achieve its full-year guidance of 990 000 oz to 1.05-million ounces, with total AISC forecast to be $1 010/oz to $1 050/oz.