Gramalote Property, Colombia
(B2Gold 49% / AngloGold Ashanti Limited ("AngloGold") 51%)
The Company and joint venture partner AngloGold are in the process of completing a prefeasibility study on the Gramalote property, located 80 kilometres northeast of Medellin in Central Colombia. Additional test work and engineering associated with identified potential opportunities are being carried out. A supplemental budget of $26.1 million (100%) was approved covering the period from December 2012 through February 2013 and included trade-off studies to conform the optimum size of the project, additional land acquisitions, exploration and development drilling and community and social programs. Each partner has funded its share of expenditures pro-rata.
Based on positive exploration results, exploration and development drilling will continue through July 2013 to better define the mineral resource and assure that the optimum plant size is determined. Work programs and engineering associated with the completion of the Environmental Impact Assessment ("EIA") will also be completed during this period so that the EIA can be submitted to government authorities in May 2013. As a result of this additional work, the final prefeasibility results will be complete in the third quarter of 2013. This will allow sufficient time for the inclusion of new information, an updated mineral resource estimate and potential modifications to the prefeasibility study. The final feasibility study is scheduled to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2014. The Company is currently in discussions with AngloGold to agree on work programs and budget from March 2013 through August 2013, when a decision will be made on advancing the project to final feasibility.
The Company believes the Gramalote project has the potential to become a large scale open pit gold mine (subject to completion of a Feasibility Study, permitting and financing).
As outlined above 2012 was a successful and transformative year for B2Gold. The Company set another record for annual gold production from La Libertad and Limon mines in Nicaragua. The Company's strong operating and financial performance at the mines, robust gold prices and minimal debt, combined to leave B2Gold in a strong cash position at year end.
Looking forward B2Gold's objective is to continue its strong operating performance and financial results, optimize production at the Limon, La Libertad and Masbate mines and advance its development and exploration projects. In addition, the Company will continue its demonstrated commitment to mining responsibly, focusing on safety, environmental protection and social programs at the projects and in the communities in which the Company works.
The merger with CGA Mining, completed January 31, 2013, immediately adds up to 200,000 ounces of gold production annually, based on their interest in the Masbate Mine in the Philippines(i). B2Gold is now projecting approximately 385,000 ounces of gold production in 2013 from the three mines. With the mining of higher grade ore at La Libertad Mine from the Santa Maria and Jabali pits, and the successful development of the Otjikoto mine in Namibia, currently in construction and scheduled to commence production in the fourth quarter of 2014, the Company is projecting annual production in 2015 of approximately 550,000 ounces of gold.
Based on current assumptions and the potential development of the Gramalote Project (51% AngloGold Ashanti as manager / 49% B2Gold) the Company's gold production has the potential to reach over 700,000 ounces annually in 2017.
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