B2GOLD Corporation recorded total production of 262 701 ounces of gold in-line with expectations.
Otjikoto Mine, which was said to be closing, also performed well, producing 44 056 ounces of gold.
In April this year, Otjikoto mine in which the B2Gold holds a 90% interest, was reportedly starting a phased mine closure process because of low reserves.
Mine general manager Eric Barnard and B2Gold country manager John Roos, at the time said based on the life-of-mine plan, the open-pit end of life would likely be the end of 2024, with open-pit mining output ramping down to 50% of production capacity in 2024.
According to the financial statements signed by the company’s president and chief executive officer, Clive Johnson, and released yesterday, Otjikoto’s annual gold production is expected to be 60% weighted to the second half of 2023, when mining reaches the higher-grade portions of Phase 4 of the Otjikoto pit, coupled with higher production from the Wolfshag underground mine.
The mine had a strong finish to 2022 and produced 161 614 ounces of gold – slightly below the revised guidance range of 165 000 to 175 000 ounces, and 18% lower compared to 2021.
Johnson said for the second quarter of 2023, mill feed grade was 1,59 grams per tonne (g/t), mill throughput was 0,88 million tonnes, and gold recovery averaged 98,7%.
Production from Wolfshag remained consistent during the second quarter of 2023, averaging over 1 000 tonnes of ore per day at an average grade of 4,31 g/t.
“As of the beginning of 2023, the probable mineral reserve estimate for the Wolfshag deposit includes 203 000 ounces of gold in 1,1 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 5,55 g/t gold,” says the report.
Cash operating costs for the second quarter of 2023 were US$611 per gold ounce produced (US$641 per ounce gold sold). Cash operating costs per ounce produced for the second quarter of 2023 were lower than expected as a result of higher production, lower than budgeted fuel costs and a weaker Namibia dollar.
“All-in sustaining costs for the second quarter of 2023 were US$1 187 per gold ounce sold. All-in sustaining costs for the second quarter of 2023 were lower than anticipated as a result of lower than expected cash operating costs, and lower than expected sustaining capital expenditure primarily related to the timing of underground development.
“The lower than expected sustaining capital expenditures are mainly a result of timing of expenditures and expected to be incurred later in 2023,” said Johnson.
He said capital expenditures for the second quarter of 2023 totalled US$16 million, consisting of US$13 million for pre-stripping in the Otjikoto pit and US$3 million for Wolfshag underground mine development.
The Otjikoto Mine is expected to produce between 190 000 and 210 000 ounces of gold in 2023 at cash operating costs of between US$590 and US$650 per ounce and all-in sustaining costs of between US$1 080 and US$1 140 per ounce.
The report adds that for 2023, Otjikoto is expected to process a total of 3,4 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 1,87 g/t gold with a process gold recovery of 98,0%. Otjikoto’s gold production is still expected to be weighted 60% towards the second half of 2023 due to the timing of high grade ore mining from the Otjikoto pit and increased ore volumes from the Wolfshag underground mine.
The company will continue to monitor the Namibia dollar and actual versus budget fuel prices in the third quarter of 2023 and if lower pricing continues to be observed, it will consider whether any revision to the Otjikoto Mine’s full-year cash operating costs and all-in sustaining costs guidance is required at that time.
Johnson said the net income attributable to the shareholders of the company is US$80 million (US6 cents per share); adjusted net income attributable to the shareholders of the company of US$86 million (US7 cents per share).
“At 30 June, the company had cash and cash equivalents of US$506 million and working capital (defined as current assets less current liabilities) of US$570 million.
“The company remains in a strong net positive cash position and paid a second quarter dividend of US4 cents per common share on 27 June at an annualised rate of US16 cents per common share.
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