B2Gold sets record straight as Mali mulls mining code amendments

22nd March 2018 By: Henry Lazenby - Creamer Media Deputy Editor: North America

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Canadian miner B2Gold has issued a statement confirming that the full details of any proposed new Mali mining code and the timing for its implementation are not known at this time.

The miner responded to recent media reports attributing statements to a government minister at a joint news conference with the International Monetary Fund that suggested that if compromises with mining companies are not achieved, amendments to the mining code may be unilaterally implemented.

“Government officials have advised the company that the minister's comments were taken out of context in such news report and should not be applied to all mining operations in Mali,” the company said.

B2Gold said the new mining code will not affect its Fekola operation, where it declared commercial production in December.

B2Gold's interest in its Fekola mine is governed by a finalised and enforceable mining convention with the State that includes stabilisation provisions that provide that the Fekola mine is subject to the 2012 Mali Mining Code for the duration of its operations and it states that subsequent amendments to the Mali Mining Code are not applicable to it.

“No Malian government representative has informed any B2Gold representatives in Mali or elsewhere that the government does not agree with the company's position. B2Gold has developed an excellent relationship over the last three years with the government of Mali. All negotiations between the company's senior representatives and the Malian government ministries have been conducted and concluded in an environment of mutual fairness, respect and transparency,” the company stated.

B2Gold last year agreed to sell a further 10% stake in the Fekola mine to the Mali State and the agreement, along with other concessions, are subject to final ratification by the Mali National Assembly, which is expected at their next scheduled sitting in April. Upon ratification, the company will transfer ownership of 20% of its Fekola subsidiary to Mali.

Based on the life-of-mine plan, 2018 will be Fekola’s first full year of production, with B2Gold guiding for output of between 400 000 oz and 410 000 oz of gold from the operations, at all-in sustaining costs of about $609/oz.