B2Gold Corp. (TSX: BTO) (NYSE AMERICAN: BTG) (NSX: B2G) is pleased to announce its gold production and gold revenue for the fourth quarter and full year 2022, in addition to its production and cost guidance for 2023. All dollar figures are in United States dollars unless otherwise indicated.
Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Highlights
2023 Guidance Highlights
Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Gold Production
Mine-by-mine gold production in the fourth quarter and full year 2022 (including the Company’s approximately 25% attributable share of Calibre’s production) was as follows:
|Mine||Q4 2022||FY 2022||FY 2022 Revised
|Fekola||oz||244,014||598,661||570,000 – 600,000|
|Masbate||oz||48,687||212,728||215,000 – 225,000|
|Otjikoto||oz||60,068||161,614||165,000 – 175,000|
|B2Gold Consolidated (1)||oz||352,769||973,003||950,000 – 1,000,000|
|Equity interest in Calibre (2)||oz||15,101||54,871||40,000 – 50,000|
|Total||oz||367,870||1,027,874||990,000 – 1,050,000|
|(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 25% indirect share of Calibre’s operations. B2Gold applies the equity method of accounting for its 25% ownership interest in Calibre.|
Fekola Gold Mine – Mali
|Total ore processed||Mt||2.47|
|Gold mill feed grade||g/t||3.31|
The Fekola Mine in Mali produced 244,014 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of 2022, higher than anticipated due largely to processing of additional high grade ore from Fekola Phase 6 pit. Full production from Phase 6 was made possible during the fourth quarter by improvements made to the pit dewatering system. The Fekola processing facilities continued to outperform budget with 2.47 million tonnes processed during the fourth quarter, due to continued favorable ore fragmentation, availability of supplemental saprolite feed and continued optimization of the grinding circuit. Mill feed grade was higher in the fourth quarter due to the increased volume of high grade ore processed from Fekola Phase 6 pit. Mined ore tonnage and grade continue to reconcile well with the Fekola resource model.
For the full year 2022, the Fekola Mine produced 598,661 ounces of gold, at the top end of the annual guidance range of 570,000 to 600,000 ounces.
Masbate Gold Mine – The Philippines
|Total ore processed||Mt||2.04|
|Gold mill feed grade||g/t||1.08|
The Masbate Mine in the Philippines produced 48,687 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter 2022, slightly lower than anticipated due to lower gold recoveries as a result of planned processing of an increased mix of sulphide and transitional ores, largely due to planned revisions of the mining sequence. The lower recoveries were offset by slightly higher than expected gold mill feed grades and improved mill throughput.
For the full year 2022, the Masbate Mine produced 212,728 ounces of gold, slightly below the revised guidance range of 215,000 to 225,000 ounces (but at the upper end of the original guidance range of 205,000 to 215,000 ounces).
Otjikoto Gold Mine – Namibia
|Total ore processed||Mt||0.84|
|Gold mill feed grade||g/t||2.25|
The Otjikoto Mine in Namibia produced 60,068 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of 2022, which included a monthly production record of 30,493 ounces of gold in December 2022. Quarterly gold production was slightly lower than anticipated mainly due to the previously disclosed delayed ramp-up of ore production from the Wolfshag underground mine.
To start 2023, Wolfshag underground ore production rates are at expected levels, open pit high grade ore stockpile balances are well buffered, and mined ore tonnage and grade continue to reconcile well with Otjikoto’s resource model.
For the full year 2022, the Otjikoto Mine produced 161,614 ounces of gold, slightly below the revised guidance range of 165,000 to 175,000 ounces.
Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Gold Revenue
For the fourth quarter of 2022, consolidated gold revenue was $592 million on sales of 339,355 ounces at an average realized gold price of $1,746 per ounce. For the full year 2022, consolidated gold revenue was $1,733 million on sales of 969,155 ounces at an average realized gold price of $1,788 per ounce.
2023 Production and Cost Guidance
|Guidance (100% Basis)||Fekola
|Sustaining Capital Expenditures||$M||113||29||3||–||–||145|
|Capitalized Stripping / Capitalized Development||$M||101||9||71||–||–||181|
|Sustaining Mine Exploration Expenditures||$M||3||4||3||–||–||10|
|General & Administrative||$M||10||7||4||–||43||64|
|All-In Sustaining Cost||$/oz||1,085-1,145||1,370-1,430||1,080-1,140||1,175-1,275||–||1,195-1,255|
|Growth Capital Expenditures||$M||138||6||3||–||6||153|
|Growth Exploration Expenditures||$M||30||–||–||–||24||54|
|Total Growth Capital Expenditures||$M||168||6||3||–||30||207|
|(1)||Fekola Complex is comprised of Fekola (Medinandi permit hosting the Fekola and Cardinal zones) and Fekola Regional (Bantako, Menankoto, Bakolobi, and Dandoko permits hosting the Anaconda area and Dandoko area zones).|
B2Gold expects to continue its strong operational performance in 2023 with total gold production forecast to be between 1,000,000 and 1,080,000 ounces (including 60,000 to 70,000 attributable ounces from Calibre).
The Company’s total consolidated cash operating costs for the year (including estimated attributable results for Calibre) are forecast to be between $670 and $730 per ounce and total consolidated AISC (including estimated attributable results for Calibre) are forecast to be between $1,195 and $1,255 per ounce. The slight anticipated increase in the Company’s consolidated cash operating costs per ounce for 2023 reflect higher expected prices for fuel, labour and other key consumables across all operations. The increase in AISC per ounce is impacted by higher expected sustaining capital expenditures, including an estimated $181 million in capitalized stripping across the three producing mines. Elevated capitalized stripping levels are due to the Fekola open pit Phase 7 pushback and activities related to accessing the high grade ore at the Otjikoto pit. Total capitalized stripping expenditures are anticipated to moderate in 2024.
The Company’s consolidated gold production is expected to be relatively consistent throughout 2023 with the exception of the Otjikoto mine, where it will be weighted 60% to the second half of the year as a result of the timing of mining high grade ore from the Otjikoto pit and an increase in ore tonnage from the Wolfshag underground mine starting mid-2023.
Fekola Complex – Mali
The Fekola Complex’s total 2023 gold production is anticipated to be similar to 2022. Ore will continue to be mined from the Fekola and Cardinal pits and initial saprolite production will commence from the Bantako permit in the Fekola Regional area starting in the third quarter of 2023. Saprolite production from the Bantako permit is expected to contribute approximately 18,000 ounces of gold in 2023 with production levels continuing to ramp-up through 2024.
Fekola is expected to process 9 million tonnes of ore during 2023 at an average grade of 2.20 g/t with a process gold recovery of 93.4%.
The expected increase in Fekola’s AISC for 2023 reflects, predominantly, higher sustaining capital expenditures. Capital expenditures in 2023 at Fekola are expected to total approximately $352 million, of which approximately $214 million is classified as sustaining capital expenditures and $138 million is classified as growth capital expenditures. Sustaining capital expenditures are anticipated to include, amongst other items:
Growth capital expenditures are anticipated to include:
Masbate Gold Mine – the Philippines
For 2023, Masbate is expected to process 7.8 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 0.96 g/t with a process gold recovery of 74.5%. Gold production is scheduled to be relatively consistent throughout 2023. Mill feed will be a blend of mined fresh ore sourced from the Main Vein Pit and low-grade ore stockpiles.
The anticipated increase in Masbate’s AISC for 2023 reflects, predominantly, higher sustaining capital expenditures. Capital expenditures for 2023 at Masbate are expected to total $44 million, of which approximately $38 million is classified as sustaining capital expenditures and $6 million is classified as growth capital expenditures. Sustaining capital expenditures are anticipated to include, amongst other items:
Growth capital expenditures are anticipated to include:
Otjikoto Gold Mine – Namibia
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 with a process gold recovery of 98.0%. In the first half of 2023, processed ore will be sourced from the Otjikoto pit and the Wolfshag underground mine, supplemented by existing medium and high grade ore stockpiles. Otjikoto’s gold production is expected to be weighted approximately 60% to 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 anticipated decrease in Otjikoto’s AISC for 2023 reflects the benefits of processing higher grade ore from the Otjikoto pit and the Wolfshag underground mine. Capital expenditures in 2023 at Otjikoto are expected to total $77 million, of which approximately $74 million is classified as sustaining capital expenditures and $3 million is classified as growth capital expenditures. Sustaining capital expenditures are anticipated to include, amongst other items:
B2Gold is planning another year of extensive exploration in 2023 with a budget of approximately $64 million. A significant focus will be in proximity to our operating mines in Mali, Namibia and the Philippines. Ongoing exploration will continue to advance our early stage projects in Finland and Cote d’Ivoire. Target generation and pursuing new opportunities in prospective gold regions in Africa, South America, the Philippines, Central Asia and Canada continue. This generative initiative could include equity placements and new joint ventures with junior companies, similar to the 2022 agreement with Matador Mining Ltd. on their Cape Ray Gold project in Newfoundland.
West African Exploration
In 2023, a total of approximately $35 million is budgeted for exploration in Mali with an ongoing focus on the Anaconda Area (including the Bantako permit and the Menankoto permit). The extensions of known prospective structures in the Anaconda area and on the Fekola Mine are also being targeted in the area between them on the newly acquired and relatively underexplored Bakalobi permit. The Dandoko permit located to the east of Fekola also provides a focus for exploration. A total of 127,000 meters of diamond and reverse circulation drilling is planned for Mali in 2023.
In the Anaconda area, drilling will be directed at increasing the existing saprolite Indicated Mineral Resource and expanding the Inferred Mineral Resource. This will feed into and support the ongoing engineering study of stand-alone mill and oxide processing facilities at the Anaconda area. The success of the drilling campaigns pursuing sulphide material beneath the saprolite mineralisation will continue on the Mamba, Cobra and Adder zones in the Anaconda area.
The mineralized structures identified at the Fekola Mine track northward onto the Bakalobi permit and onward onto the Anaconda area. Drilling undertaken in 2022 has already identified significant mineralisation on the southward extensions of the Cobra and Adder zones. Drilling will continue to advance these zones of gold mineralization, which are contiguous from saprolite to fresh rock.
Another north trending structure parallel to and approximately 25 kilometers east of the Fekola structure is being drilled on the Dandoko permit. This permit was acquired from Oklo Resources in September 2022. Oklo delivered an initial JORC 2012 compliant Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource estimate of 8.70 million tonnes at 1.88 grams per tonne (“g/t”) gold for 528,000 ounces of gold and an Inferred Mineral Resource estimate of 2.63 million tonnes at 1.67 g/t gold for 141,000 ounces of gold. The mineral resources are distributed across the Seko, Koko, Disse and Diabarou deposits, which all remain open and are expected to grow with ongoing exploration drilling both along strike and at depth.
$2 million is included in the Mali budget to pursue multiple grassroots targets on other permits held in West Mali.
The Philippines Exploration
The total budget for the Philippines in 2023 is $6 million, of which the Masbate exploration budget is $4 million, including approximately 8,000 meters of drilling. The 2023 exploration program will continue to focus on converting inferred mineral resource areas below existing design pits, to support expanding the existing open pits. Several grassroot greenfield targets will be further tested as well.
$1 million will be applied to targeting new regional projects in highly prospective areas in the Philippines, leveraging off our presence and operational experience in the country.
The total exploration budget for Namibia in 2023 is approximately $3 million. Exploration in 2023 will include 16,320 meters of diamond and reverse circulation drilling and 3,400 meters of RAB drilling at the Otjikoto Mine. Much of the diamond drilling will target the southern extension of the Otjikoto structure, as well as several regional targets.
B2Gold has allocated approximately $24 million (including $3 million for the grassroots projects in Mali and the Philippines) in 2023 for its grassroots exploration programs, including Finland, Cote d’Ivoire, Uzbekistan and several new regions. This also includes a budget allocation for target generation and pursuing new opportunities in prospective gold regions of Africa, South America, the Philippines, Central Asia and Canada.
In Finland, the Company has allocated $6 million to fund its 70% contribution to the Central Lapland Joint Venture with Aurion Resources Ltd. Drilling will continue on the Helmi trend, which is the westward extension of Rupert Resources’ Ikkari discovery. This trend coincides with B2Gold’s base-of-till drilling and appears to be hosted by the same structure as Ikkari, based the interpretation of airborne geophysical data. A total of 11,600 meters of diamond drilling is planned for Finland. B2Gold will also fund exploration on the early stage conceptual target that is part of the Kuortis Joint Venture, also with Aurion Resources Ltd.
A budget of $3 million has been allocated for ongoing exploration in Cote d’Ivoire. The 2023 program will include follow up work on positive soil geochemical anomalies defined in 2022 on the wholly owned Guiberoua / Soubre properties in southwest Cote d’Ivoire. A total 6,000 meters of diamond and reverse circulation drilling and 14,000 meters of aircore and auger drilling is planned.
In addition to the defined programs noted above, the Company has allocated approximately $12 million for the generation of new greenfields targets.
Lisa Pankratz Appointed to B2Gold’s Board of Directors
Lisa Pankratz has over 30 years of experience in the investment industry and capital markets in both executive and advisory capacities, working with multinational and international companies. For over 20 years, she has served as a board member of corporations in the financial services and global media industries. Ms. Pankratz currently serves as Chair of the board of UBC Investment Management Trust Inc. and of the HSBC Independent Review Committee for HSBC Global Asset Management (Canada) Limited. She previously served on the boards of IA Clarington Investments, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Canwest Media, Inc., The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, and was a member of the Accounting Policy and Advisory Committee advising the Ministry of Finance for the Province of British Columbia. From 2006 to 2010, she was the President of Mackenzie Cundill Investment Management Ltd., and from 2002 to 2006 was the President, Chief Compliance Officer and Director of Cundill Investment Research Ltd. and the Chief Compliance Officer of The Cundill Group. Ms. Pankratz is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia and a Chartered Financial Analyst charter holder. She received an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
Bill Lytle, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, a qualified person under NI 43-101, has approved the scientific and technical information related to operations matters contained in this news release.
Brian Scott, P. Geo., Vice President, Geology & Technical Services, a qualified person under NI 43-101, has approved the scientific and technical information related to exploration and mineral resource matters contained in this news release.
About B2Gold Corp.
B2Gold is a low-cost international senior gold producer headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. Founded in 2007, today, B2Gold has operating gold mines in Mali, Namibia and the Philippines and numerous exploration and development projects in various countries including Mali, Colombia, Finland and Uzbekistan. B2Gold forecasts total consolidated gold production of between 1,000,000 and 1,080,000 ounces in 2023.
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