The Otjikoto gold project is located approximately 300 kilometres north of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, and is owned 90% by B2Gold and 10% by EVI Gold (Pty) Ltd ("EVI Gold"), a Namibian empowerment group. The Otjikoto deposit has probable open pit mineral reserves of 29.4 million tonnes at a grade of 1.42 g/t gold containing 1.34 million ounces of gold (based on the Company's feasibility study released January 10, 2013).
The life of the open pit mine, based on the probable reserves, is estimated to be 12 years, with annual forecast gold production of approximately 141,000 ounces gold per year for the first five years at an average operating cash cost of $524 per ounce of gold and for the life of mine approximately 112,000 ounces of gold per year at an average operating cash cost of $689 per ounce.
Construction of the Otjikoto Gold Mine is ongoing, on schedule and on budget. Construction commenced January 2013 and will continue into the fourth quarter of 2014. It is anticipated that gold will be produced during the fourth quarter of 2014 with a ramp up to full production in early 2015.
The necessary bush clearing has been completed and all necessary internal roads have been roughed in. All mining equipment for the initial stages of mine development has arrived at site and mining has commenced. Development of Pushback 1 has been on-going since the beginning of June and the equipment workshop is almost complete. Work at the mill is focusing on development of the necessary infrastructure needed to complete the mill erection and stockpiling of the necessary sand and aggregate for concrete and engineered fill material. This includes erection of the construction shop and office complex. More than 95% of the topsoil has been removed from the tailings basin and liner installation will commence in the third quarter of 2013. The mancamp (capable of housing up to 600 persons) is nearing completion and is expected to be commissioned in July, 2013. Currently, B2Gold Namibia employs more than 150 persons and expects to increase to more than 600 persons in the third quarter (based on the Company's feasibility study released January 10, 2013).
Update on the Otjikoto Joint Venture Structure
The Company has completed a transaction with its partner EVI Gold on the Otjikoto project in Namibia in which, among other things, EVI Gold exercised its right to increase its ownership interest in the Otjikoto project from 8% to 10% for consideration of US$5 million. In addition, as partial consideration for the issuance to EVI Gold of common shares of the Company, EVI Gold has transferred its rights to acquire an additional 5% interest in the Otjikoto project to the Company. Accordingly, the Company and EVI Gold now hold a 90% and 10% interest, respectively, in the Otjikoto project.
Wolfshag Zone Geology
The Wolfshag zone consists of a series of en-echelon stacked, shallow easterly dipping and south-southeast plunging mineralized shoots hosted within albitite + calcite + clay altered metasediments and marble lenses. The Wolfshag mineralized zone is bounded by folded, recrystallized and sheared marbles, the West and East marbles, within a thrust ramp complex. Mineralization consists of pyrite-magnetite-calcite in veins, steep tension gashes and replacement zones. Visible gold is common in the southern portion of the Wolfshag zone, but less abundant than in the Otjikoto deposit mineralization. The main, upper, WA shoot at Wolfshag ranges in thickness from 5 to 35 metres and width from 50 to 100 metres. The lower zones are not as well defined as the WA shoot. Wolfshag mineralization is situated below the OTB and footwall marble marker horizons and the main Otjikoto deposit ore shoots.
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