Proactive testing at gold miner B2Gold’s Fekola mine, in Mali, has identified ten positive Covid-19 cases, nine of which are asymptomatic.
The company is now considering conducting comprehensive on-site testing of all employees for coronavirus with the goal of testing each employee prior to entering or exiting the Fekola project.
The Fekola project announced the first positive Covid-19 case on April 16, when an employee at the Fekola exploration camp about 5 km from the project tested positive.
B2Gold explains that there has been significantly reduced access since March 24, with the company allowing only minimal movement of personnel between Bamako and the Fekola site. On April 19, the site was further locked down and employees from local villages in the Fekola area were brought to live in temporary accommodation on site to create an "island setting" with minimal interaction with local communities. All employees entering the Fekola project are now required to quarantine for a minimum of 12 days prior to entering the general site population.
Meanwhile, the Fekola mine continues to operate without impediments to mining or milling and expects to meet or exceed its production estimates for the second quarter of 2020 and the 2020 guidance.
All supply lines remain open and the site continues to receive supplies critical to operating at full capacity.
The expansion of the Fekola mill continues and is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter. B2Gold says the mining fleet expansion continues to perform well with the first 6040 excavator now operational and loading the first eight 789 trucks, which were delivered to site ahead of schedule.
The second planned delivery of equipment has been received on site and is currently undergoing assembly and commissioning.
Expansion of the tailings storage facility remains on schedule and will provide capacity for tailings disposal in 2023.
Mali has 650 positive cases of Covid-19 and has reported 32 deaths.