Vancouver-based B2Gold has scaled a new quarterly production record, with fourth-quarter output of 367 880 oz, helped by a record performance at its Fekola mine, in Mali, a strong operational quarter at Masbate, in the Philippines and the ramp-up of the Wolfshag underground mine at Otjikoto, in Namibia.
For the full year, the company achieved the upper end of its 2022 guidance with output of 1.03-million ounces.
Fekola produced 244 014 oz in the three months ended December and 598 661 oz in the full year, while Masbate produced 48 687 oz in the fourth quarter and 212 728 oz in the 12 months. Masbate’s full-year production was below the revised guidance range of 215 000 oz to 225 000 oz, but at the upper end of the original guidance range of 205 000 oz to 215 000 oz.
Gold production from the Otjikoto mine came to 60 068 oz in the fourth quarter, with gold production benefitting from the contribution of the Wolfshag underground mine. In December 2022, Otjikoto achieved a monthly record of 30 493 oz of gold produced, setting the operation up well for production growth in 2023. Full year 2022 gold production from Otjikoto was 161 614 oz, slightly below the revised guidance range of 165 000 oz to 175 000 oz.
B2Gold has reaffirmed its full-year cost guidance of $620/oz to $660/oz, but said that costs would be at the upper-end of the guidance range. Consolidated all-in sustaining costs (AISC) are expected to be within the original range of $1 010/oz to $1 050/oz.
The company is targeting gold production of 1-million to 1.08-million his year at a total cash operating cost guidance of $670/oz to $730/oz, slightly higher than the 2022 guidance range, owing to minor inflationary impacts from fuel, labour and other consumables.
Total AISC will be between $1 195/oz and $1 255/oz, reflecting the increased investments in Mali to support future growth of the Fekola Complex and increased capital stripping expenditures at Fekola and Otjikoto.
B2Gold will spend $352-million at Fekola in 2023, of which $214-million is sustaining capital expenditure and $138-million is growth capital.
Meanwhile, the miner is planning extensive exploration in 2023, with a budget of $64-million. Its focus will be in proximity to its operating mines in Mali, Namibia and the Philippines.
Ongoing exploration will continue to advance early-stage projects in Finland and Cote d’Ivoire.
B2Gold says it will pursue new opportunities in prospective gold regions in Africa, South America, the Philippines, Central Asia and Canada. This initiative could include equity placements and new joint ventures with junior companies, similar to the 2022 agreement with Matador Mining on its Cape Ray gold project in Newfoundland, Canada.