B2Gold has announced positive drill results from the Fekola Property and Fekola Regional targets in Mali, West Africa.
All dollar figures are in United States dollars unless otherwise indicated.
For 2017, B2Gold has budgeted over $15 million for exploration in Mali. To date, exploration programs remain on budget and set to complete over 111,000 metres of exploration drilling between the Fekola Property and the Fekola Regional program.
- New drill results in the upper portion of the Fekola North Extension (formerly Kiwi zone) indicate it is part of the Fekola zone and has significantly extended mineralization to depth
- New drill results above the deeper portion of the Fekola North Extension (formerly Fekola Deeps) have intersected wide zones of good-grade mineralization, closer to surface, and up to 600 metres north of the Fekola resource pit boundary
- These results, combined with the deeper, mineralized intercepts in the upper portion of the Fekola North Extension area indicate that these zones are one contiguous mineralized zone that could dramatically increase the extent of Fekola mineralization. In addition, the mineralization remains open to the north beyond the new drill results
- Drill results from the infill-drilling program, within the Fekola resource pit boundary, continue to convert inferred resources to indicated, confirming the potential addition of 900,000 ounces of gold
Fekola North Extension Zones:
New drilling below the upper portion of the Fekola North Extension and above the deeper portion of the Fekola North Extension in a previously untested area have significantly extended mineralization to the north and depth.
New drilling above the deeper portion of the Fekola Northern Extension (formerly Fekola Deeps) has intercepted wide zones of good-grade mineralization in two holes, 226 and 227, 60 metres to the north of the Fekola resource boundary.
In addition, two holes, 228 and 229, drilled above the Fekola upper portion of the Fekola North Extension, and up to 600 metres to the north of the resource pit boundary, intersected wide zones of good-grade mineralization, with mineralization remaining open to the north. These holes indicate the potential to extend good-grade mineralization much further to the north of the Fekola resource pit boundary.
These results also indicate that the deeper portion of the Fekola Northern Extension zone extends closer to surface and indicate continuity with mineralization from the deeper drilling results from the upper portion of the Fekola North Extension.
Fekola Resource Infill Drilling:
Infill drilling is ongoing at Fekola, to continue to convert inferred resources to indicated, within the resource pit boundary (see table of drill results below).
The resource pit boundary extends beyond the Fekola reserve pit boundary by approximately 50 metres below the reserve, 150 metres to the north, down plunge, and approximately 600 metres to the north (formerly Kiwi zone), from surface to 50 metres depth.
The resource pit extension contains 720,000 ounces in the indicated category and 180,000 ounces in the inferred category, for a total potential increase of 900,000 ounces of gold.
Fekola Regional Program Drill Results — Anaconda/Adder and Mamba Zones:
Earlier this year, B2Gold announced the maiden mineral resource for Anaconda, part of the Fekola regional exploration program (see B2Gold news release, June 15, 2017). In 2017, over 56,000 metres of combined auger, aircore, reverse circulation and diamond drilling have been completed in this area in an effort to increase the saprolite-hosted Anaconda resource and to further explore for underlying zones of bedrock-hosted mineralization.
Recent drilling has confirmed and extended the shallow saprolite inferred mineral resource and has discovered three well-mineralized bedrock (sulphide) zones (the saprolite zone) beneath the Anaconda, Adder and Mamba zones, which indicate the potential for large Fekola-style mineralized zones.
Bedrock drill holes MSD_127 (20.20 m at 6.05 g/t gold) and MSD_132 (24.50 m at 4.02 g/t gold) are indications of highly prospective structures beneath Anaconda and Mamba, respectively. The intersection in MSD_132 occurs approximately 160 metres down-dip from the saprolite-hosted intersection in MSR_360 (46 m at 1.94 g/t gold), suggesting there is significant down-dip continuity along this structure. Follow up drilling is currently underway in both target areas.
Drilling is ongoing to further test the Fekola North Extension zone, infill the Fekola resource, and further test the new bedrock mineralization beneath the Anaconda, Adder and Mamba saprolite resource. The Company is planning additional, aggressive exploration drilling programs on these targets in 2018.
Fekola Ramp Up and Gold Production
On September 25, 2017, the Company announced that it had completed construction of the Fekola mill on budget and commenced ore processing at the Fekola Mine, more than three months ahead of schedule. In September, Fekola produced 6,340 ounces of in-circuit gold inventory (nil ounces budgeted). Commissioning of the mill is ongoing and is expected to ramp up quickly to achieve commercial production by the end of November 2017, four months ahead of the original schedule and one month ahead of the revised schedule.
In October 2017, the first full month of ramp up and pre-commercial production, the Fekola mill produced a total of 33,946 ounces of gold in the month (budget of 15,100 ounces). For 2017, the Company is projecting gold production from Fekola to exceed the upper range of its reforecast production guidance range of between 50,000 and 55,000 ounces. 2018 is scheduled to be the first full year of gold production at Fekola, yielding 400,000 to 410,000 ounces for the year at a cash operating cost of approximately $354 per ounce of gold and AISC of $609 per ounce of gold.
Based on current assumptions and updates to B2Gold's current year guidance and long-term mine plans, the Company is projecting consolidated gold production in 2017 of between 530,000 and 570,000 ounces. In 2018, production is forecast to increase significantly to between 925,000 and 975,000 ounces with the inclusion of the anticipated first full year of commercial production at Fekola.