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B2Gold Corp. Reports Continued Strong Total Gold Production for Q3 2021 of 310,261 oz, 7% Above Budget and 18% Higher than Q3 2020; Annual Production Guidance Range Increased to 1,015,000 to 1,055,000 oz

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B2Gold Corp. Reports Continued Strong Total Gold Production for Q3 2021 of 310,261 oz, 7% Above Budget and 18% Higher than Q3 2020; Annual Production Guidance Range Increased to 1,015,000 to 1,055,000 oz

 

 

 

 

 

B2Gold Corp. (TSX: BTO) (NYSE AMERICAN: BTG) (NSX: B2G)  is pleased to announce its gold production and gold revenue for the third quarter and first nine months of 2021. All dollar figures are in United States dollars unless otherwise indicated.

 

2021 Third Quarter and First Nine Months Highlights

 

  • Total gold production in the third quarter of 2021 of 310,261 ounces (including 14,538 ounces of attributable production from Calibre Mining Corp. above budget by 7% (20,871 ounces), and consolidated gold production of 295,723 ounces from the Company’s three operating mines, above budget by 7% (20,083 ounces)
  • Consolidated gold revenue in the third quarter of 2021 of $511 million on sales of 286,650 ounces at an average realized price of $1,782 per ounce
  • Record quarterly gold production achieved by both the Fekola Mine of 165,557 ounces and Otjikoto Mine of 68,959 ounces in the third quarter of 2021
  • In September 2021, the Fekola Mine produced its 2 millionth ounce of gold, 4 years from the commencement of production
  • Increased Fekola’s and Masbate’s production guidance; for full-year 2021, the Fekola Mine is now forecast to produce between 560,000 to 570,000 ounces of gold (original guidance was between 530,000 to 560,000 ounces) and the Masbate Mine between 215,000 to 225,000 ounces of gold (original guidance was between 200,000 to 210,000 ounces)
  • Total gold production in the first nine months of 2021 of 742,517 ounces (including 43,771 ounces of attributable production from Calibre), above budget by 7% (49,682 ounces), and consolidated gold production of 698,746 ounces from the Company’s three operating mines, above budget by 7% (47,161 ounces)
  • Consolidated gold revenue in the first nine months of 2021 of $1.2 billion on sales of 689,051 ounces at an average realized price of $1,794 per ounce
  • For full-year 2021, B2Gold has increased its total gold production guidance range to between 1,015,000 – 1,055,000 ounces (including 50,000 – 60,000 attributable ounces projected from Calibre) (original guidance was between 970,000 and 1,030,000 ounces)
  • Based on current assumptions, including an average gold price of $1,800 per ounce, the Company expects to generate cashflows from operating activities of approximately $630 million for the full-year 2021 (approximately $500 million of cashflows from operating activities are expected to be generated in the second half of 2021)

 

Gold Production      

 

Total gold production in the third quarter of 2021 was 310,261 ounces (including 14,538 ounces of attributable production from Calibre), above budget by 7% (20,871 ounces) and consolidated gold production from the Company’s three operating mines was 295,723 ounces, above budget by 7% (20,083 ounces) with solid performances from all the Company’s three mines, with each mine exceeding its budgeted production for the third quarter (see “Operations” section below). Both the Fekola and Otjikoto mines achieved record quarterly gold production in the third quarter of 2021. As planned, with increased throughput at the Fekola mill together with the completion of the significant waste stripping campaigns at both the Fekola and Otjikoto mines in the first half of 2021 (for Phase 5 and Phase 6 of the Fekola Pit, and Phase 3 of the Wolfshag and Otjikoto pits), consolidated gold production increased significantly by 19% (46,990 ounces) compared to the third quarter of 2020, as mining at Fekola reached the higher-grade zones of the Fekola Pit and mining at Otjikoto reached the higher-grade zone at the base of the Wolfshag Pit in the third quarter of 2021. Consolidated gold production also increased significantly by 50% (98,343 ounces) over the second quarter of 2021.

 

For the first nine months of 2021, total gold production was 742,517 ounces (including 43,771 ounces of attributable production from Calibre), above budget by 7% (49,682 ounces), and 4% (27,751 ounces) lower than the first nine months of 2020 due to the focus on waste stripping at Fekola and Otjikoto in the first half of 2021. Consolidated gold production from the Company’s three operating mines was 698,746 ounces in the first nine months of 2021, above budget by 7% (47,161 ounces).

 

For full-year 2021, based on strong production performance in the first nine months of 2021, B2Gold has increased its total gold production guidance to between 1,015,000 – 1,055,000 ounces (including 50,000 – 60,000 attributable ounces projected from Calibre) (original guidance was between 970,000 and 1,030,000 ounces). The Company is currently compiling its consolidated cash operating costs (see “Non-IFRS Measures”) and consolidated all-in sustaining costs (see “Non-IFRS Measures”) results for the third quarter and first nine months of 2021, which will be released along with its third quarter and first nine months of 2021 financial results after the North American markets close on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. For full-year 2021, the Company’s total consolidated cash operating costs are budgeted to be between $500 – $540 per ounce and total consolidated AISC to be between $870 – $910 per ounce.

 

Gold Revenue

 

For the third quarter of 2021, consolidated gold revenue was $511 million on sales of 286,650 ounces at an average realized price of $1,782 per ounce, compared to $487 million on sales of 253,200 ounces at an average price of $1,924 per ounce in the third quarter of 2020. The increase in gold revenue of 5% ($24 million) was 13% attributable to the increase in gold ounces sold (mainly due to the higher gold production and timing of gold shipments), partially offset by an 8% impact from the decrease in the average realized gold price.

 

For the first nine months of 2021, consolidated gold revenue was $1.2 billion on sales of 689,051 ounces at an average realized price of $1,794 per ounce compared to $1.3 billion on sales of 749,800 ounces at an average price of $1,746 per ounce in the first nine months of 2020. The decrease in gold revenue of 6% ($73 million) was mainly attributable to the decrease in gold ounces sold (mainly due to the lower gold production and timing of gold shipments).

 

Operations

 

Mine-by-mine gold production in the third quarter and first nine months of 2021 (including the Company’s estimated 33% share of Calibre’s production) was as follows:

 

Mine Q3 2021
Gold Production
(ounces)
First Nine
Months
2021
Gold Production
(ounces)
Revised
Full-Year
2021 Guidance
Gold Production
(ounces)
Original
Full-Year
2021 Guidance
Gold Production
(ounces)
Fekola 165,557 404,256 560,000 – 570,000 530,000 – 560,000
Masbate 61,207 175,598 215,000 – 225,000 200,000 – 210,000
Otjikoto 68,959 118,892 190,000 – 200,000 190,000 – 200,000
B2Gold Consolidated (1) 295,723 698,746 965,000 – 995,000 920,000 – 970,000
Equity interest in Calibre (2) 14,538 43,771 50,000 – 60,000 50,000 – 60,000
Total 310,261 742,517 1,015,000 – 1,055,000 970,000 – 1,030,000
(1) “B2Gold Consolidated” – gold production is presented on a 100% basis, as B2Gold fully consolidates the results of its Fekola, Masbate and Otjikoto mines in its consolidated financial statements (even though it does not own 100% of these operations).   
(2) “Equity interest in Calibre” – represents the Company’s approximate 33% indirect share of the operations of Calibre’s El Limon and La Libertad mines. B2Gold applies the equity method of accounting for its 33% ownership interest in Calibre. 

 

Fekola Gold Mine – Mali

 

The Fekola Mine in Mali continued its strong operational performance through the third quarter of 2021, with record quarterly gold production of 165,557 ounces, 6% (9,557 ounces) above budget, and 9% (13,022 ounces) higher compared to the third quarter of 2020. The increase was due to higher mill throughput, partially offset by lower processed grade, as Fekola’s low-grade stockpiles were used to supplement the additional unbudgeted mill feed required as a result of the higher than budgeted processed tonnes. As planned, with the completion of the waste stripping campaign relating to the development of Phases 5 and 6 of the Fekola Pit in the first half of 2021, Fekola’s gold production increased significantly by 46% (51,946 ounces) over the second quarter of 2021, as mining reached the higher-grade zones in Phase 5 of the Fekola Pit in the third quarter of 2021. In September 2021, the Fekola Mine produced its 2 millionth ounce of gold, 4 years from the commencement of production.

 

For the third quarter of 2021, mill feed grade was 2.30 grams per tonne compared to budget of 2.71 g/t and 3.22 g/t in the third quarter of 2020; mill throughput was 2.36 million tonnes compared to budget of 1.91 million tonnes and 1.56 million tonnes in the third quarter of 2020; and gold recovery averaged 94.8% compared to budget of 94.0% and 94.6% in the third quarter of 2020. Fekola’s processing facilities continued to outperform in the third quarter of 2021 (following the successful completion of the Fekola mill expansion in September 2020) with record quarterly throughput of 2.36 million tonnes, 24% above budget and 51% higher than the third quarter of 2020. The higher than budgeted mill throughput was due to favourable ore fragmentation and hardness, as well as optimization of the grinding circuit. Based on the positive results noted to date through to the third quarter of 2021, Fekola’s annualized throughput rate is now expected to average 8.3 million tonnes per annum (“Mtpa”) for 2021 and average approximately 9.0 Mtpa (over the long-term), based on an ore blend including fresh rock and weathered material (saprolite).

 

After review of an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment by the Malian authorities, the existing Medinandi (Fekola) permit has been updated to include the Cardinal zone, located within 500 metres of the current Fekola resource pit (the initial Inferred Mineral Resource estimate for Cardinal is 640,000 ounces of gold in 13.0 million tonnes of ore at 1.54 g/t gold). Exploration drilling at Cardinal is ongoing and recent drill results have returned good gold grades over significant widths below the current resource which remains open at depth and along strike. Initial mining operations at Cardinal have commenced and will continue to ramp up. To date, 95,489 tonnes at an average grade of 1.45 g/t have been mined at Cardinal. The Company is in the process of updating the Fekola Mine Plan to include production from Cardinal which has the potential to add an average of approximately 60,000 ounces per year over the next 6 to 8 years (based on Cardinal’s inferred resource only) to Fekola’s annual gold production. Grade control drilling at Cardinal is ongoing to upgrade a portion of its mineral resource to the indicated category for 2022 production budget purposes.

 

For the first nine months of 2021, the Fekola Mine produced 404,256 ounces of gold, above budget by 6% (21,256 ounces) for the reasons outlined above. As expected, compared to the first nine months of 2020, gold production was lower by 13% (59,714 ounces) as a result of the higher planned waste stripping and lower mined ore grades in the first half of 2021, as Phases 5 and 6 of the Fekola Pit were developed.

 

Based on Fekola’s strong year-to-date performance, the Company has increased Fekola’s production guidance range to between 560,000 to 570,000 ounces of gold (original guidance range was between 530,000 to 560,000 ounces).

 

Menankoto Permit 

 

As previously disclosed, the Company has formally commenced arbitration proceedings against the Republic of Mali with respect to the renewal of the Menankoto exploration permit  which forms part of the Anaconda Area and is located 20 kilometers north of the Fekola Mine licence area. The Company strongly believes that it is entitled to a one-year renewal of the Menankoto Permit under applicable law. Notwithstanding the commencement of arbitration proceedings, the Company is committed to continuing its ongoing discussions with the Malian Government to resolve the issue and remains optimistic that the renewal dispute can be resolved over the course of the next few months. Since the Company commenced its investment in Mali, B2Gold has always enjoyed a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with the Government of Mali.

 

Masbate Gold Mine – the Philippines

 

The Masbate Mine in the Philippines also continued its strong operational performance with third quarter of 2021 gold production of 61,207 ounces, well above budget by 16% (8,236 ounces), as grade and recovery both exceeded budget, and 14% (7,600 ounces) higher compared to the third quarter of 2020, due to higher grade.

 

For the third quarter of 2021, mill feed grade was 1.24 g/t compared to budget of 1.12 g/t and 1.05 g/t in the third quarter of 2020; mill throughput was 1.84 million tonnes compared to budget of 2.05 million tonnes and 1.97 million tonnes in the third quarter of 2020; and gold recovery averaged 81.6% compared to budget of 71.9% and 81.1% in the third quarter of 2020. In the third quarter of 2021, Masbate’s mill recoveries continued to outperform the recovery model and high-grade ore mined from both the Main Vein and Montana pits produced higher tonnage compared to the reserve model. In addition, high grade zones of the Main Vein Pit, originally scheduled to be mined in the fourth quarter of 2021, were mined and processed in the third quarter of 2021, bringing gold production forward from the fourth quarter of 2021. Masbate’s mill throughput was below budget in the third quarter of 2021 as the Company took the opportunity to accelerate mill maintenance activities due to the positive variances on mill feed grade and recoveries which benefited Masbate’s gold production in the third quarter.

 

For the first nine months of 2021, the Masbate Mine produced 175,598 ounces of gold, well above budget by 12% (19,478 ounces) for the reasons outlined above, and 19% (28,465 ounces) higher than the first nine months of 2020, mainly due to higher mined ore grades as a result of mining through higher-grade zones of the Main Vein and Montana pits in the first nine months of 2021.

 

Based on Masbate’s strong year-to-date performance, the Company has increased Masbate’s production guidance range to between 215,000 to 225,000 ounces of gold (original guidance range was between 200,000 to 210,000 ounces). In the fourth quarter of 2021, Masbate’s gold production is expected to be approximately 45,000 ounces, reflecting the fact that a portion of its budgeted fourth quarter production was rescheduled and mined in the third quarter of 2021.

 

Otjikoto Gold Mine – Namibia

 

The Otjikoto Mine in Namibia also had a strong third quarter with record quarterly gold production of 68,959 ounces of gold, above budget by 3% (2,290 ounces), mainly due to higher than budgeted throughput. As planned, with the completion of the waste stripping campaigns at the Wolfshag and Otjikoto pits in the first half of 2021, Otjikoto’s gold production increased significantly by 62% (26,368 ounces) compared to the third quarter of 2020, as mining reached the higher-grade zone at the base of the Wolfshag Pit in the third quarter of 2021. Otjikoto’s gold production also increased significantly by 156% (42,068 ounces) over the second quarter of 2021.

 

For the third quarter of 2021, mill feed grade was 2.41 g/t compared to budget of 2.46 g/t and 1.53 g/t in the third quarter of 2020; mill throughput was 0.90 million tonnes compared to budget of 0.86 million tonnes and 0.88 million tonnes in the third quarter of 2020; and gold recovery averaged 98.7% compared to budget of 98.3% and 98.2% in the third quarter of 2020.

 

For the first nine months of 2021, the Otjikoto Mine produced 118,892 ounces of gold, above budget by 6% (6,427 ounces), mainly due to higher than budgeted throughput, and 7% (8,944 ounces) lower than the first nine months of 2020 due to the focus on waste stripping in the first half of 2021.

 

Development of the Wolfshag underground mine continues to progress with stope ore production expected to commence in early 2022. The initial underground Mineral Reserve estimate for the down-plunge extension of the Wolfshag deposit included 210,000 ounces of gold in 1.2 million tonnes of ore at 5.57 g/t gold.

 

For full-year 2021, the Otjikoto Mine remains on track to produce between 190,000 – 200,000 ounces of gold.

 

Outlook

 

The Company is pleased with its third quarter and first nine months of 2021 gold production results as outlined in this news release. Based on a strong first nine months of 2021, the Company has increased its total gold production guidance to between 1,015,000 – 1,055,000 ounces (including 50,000 – 60,000 attributable ounces projected from Calibre) (original guidance was between 970,000 and 1,030,000 ounces). The Company is currently compiling its consolidated cash operating costs and consolidated AISC results for the third quarter and first nine months of 2021, which will be released along with its third quarter and first nine months of 2021 financial results after the North American markets close on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. For full-year 2021, the Company’s total consolidated cash operating costs are budgeted to be between $500 – $540 per ounce and total consolidated AISC to be between $870 – $910 per ounce.

 

The Company’s ongoing strategy is to continue to maximize profitable production from its mines, further advance its pipeline of development and exploration projects, evaluate new exploration, development and production opportunities and continue to pay an industry leading dividend yield.

 

Qualified Persons

 

Bill Lytle, Senior Vice President of Operations, a qualified person under NI 43-101, has approved the the scientific and technical information related to operations matters contained in this news release.

 

Posted October 19, 2021

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