Africa Mining Industry: B2Gold posts record 1Q gold production in Namibia

The new Burkina Faso government also said it is looking to amend its mining code

Consolidated cash operating costs were below budget at $701/oz for the quarter

Canada group B2Gold has posted record gold production of 115 859 oz in the first quarter, exceeding its target for the first three months ended March 31 by 754 oz and delivering 20% more gold than in the first quarter of 2014.The company, quoted by Miningweekly, has said on Friday that the increased production was primarily attributable to the successful start of production at the new Otjikoto mine, in Namibia, in February after a strong start-up following its first gold pour in December.

Gold production from the company’s Masbate mine, in the Philippines, was 46 241 oz, representing a 9% increase on the same period in the prior year, while the La Libertad and Limon mines, in Nicaragua, produced 25 326 oz and 13 158 oz, respectively. Consolidated cash operating costs were below budget at $701/oz for the quarter, reflecting the successful start-up of Otjikoto, the lower cost of fuel and cost-savings at the Masbate and Limon mines.

“Consolidated cash operating costs are forecast to be significantly lower in the second half of the year compared with the first half of the year and average between $630/oz and $660/oz for the full-year,” the group outlined in a results statement. All-in sustaining cash costs for the first quarter were $1 091/oz. The group added that it was projecting a record year for gold production in 2015, with output from its operations likely to be between 500 000 oz and 540 000 oz of gold – an increase of about 35% on 2014 production.

Consolidated cash operating costs were expected to be between $630/oz and $660/oz compared with $680/oz in 2014. For the first half of the year, consolidated gold production was expected to between 225 000 oz and 245 000 oz, increasing up to 295 000 oz in the second half of the year, owing to the continued ramp-up of gold production at Otjikoto and higher forecast grades for the Masbate and Libertad mines in the second half of the year.

B2Gold ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $128.2-million and working capital of $143.4-million, with cash from operations expected to increase “significantly”, owing to gold production from the new Otjikoto mine.

The compamy, meanwhile, remained in discussions with its lenders regarding financing the construction of the Fekola project, in Mali, and expected to complete an updated revolving credit facility to increase the available credit facility from $200-million to $400-million in the second quarter.

Coupled with its operating cash flows, the updated facility was likely to be sufficient to fund its budgeted capital expenditures over the next three years, including Fekola construction costs. Fekola’s feasibility study was under way, with completion expected by June and road construction and site earthworks ongoing.(source: Miningweekly.com)

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