B2Gold unveils initial resource estimate at Namibia zone

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B2Gold Corp. [BTO-TSX, BTG-NYSE, B2G-NSX] has announced an initial inferred mineral resource estimate for the Springbok Zone, one of three zones of the Antelope deposit located at its Otjikoto mine in Namibia.

It said the Sprinkbok zone is estimated to contain 1.75 million tonnee of grade 6.91 g/t gold for a total of 390,000 ounces of gold. This resource estimate will form the basis for a potential preliminary economic assessment study, and could contribute to production as early as 2026 and supplement production through 2031, subject to permitting.

Recent drilling at the Springbok Zone indicates that it remains open southward, indicating additional exploration potential beyond the currently defined resource.

Analysts said the high-grade results add optionality to extend underground mining at Otjikoto and boost the asset’s production profile. Meanwhile, an initial resource estimate for the Antelope deposit is expected by the third quarter of this year. The Antelope deposit, comprised of the Springbok Zone, the Oryx Zone, and a possible third structure, Impala, was discovered in 2022, following drill testing by B2Gold exploration personnel on three dimensional models of airborne magnetic data.

The company said over 36,000 metres have been drilled into the Springbok Zone to date, with 33 holes totaling 16,950 metres completed in 2024, to establish 50 by 50 metres spacing that informs the initial resource estimate.

The 2024 exploration budget for Namibia is $9 million, funding the largest drill program at the Otjikoto Mine since the definition of the Wolfshag discovery in 2012. A total of 39,000 metres of drilling have been budgeted for 2024 and five rigs are currently active on the drill program.

The Otjikoto mine is located in north-central Namibia, approximately 300 kilometres north of the country’s capital, Windhoek. Otjikoto is the largest gold producer in that country. B2Gold acquired the company’s first African gold development project, the Otjikoto, via a merger with Auryx Gold Corp. in December 2011. The first gold pour occurred in December, 2014. The Otjikoto mine posted record annual production in 2023 of 208,598 ounces. It is expected to produce between 180,000 ounces and 200,000 ounces of gold in 2024 at a cash operating cost of between US$685 and US$745 an ounce and an all-in sustaining cost of between US$960 and US$1,020 an ounce.

Processed ore will be sourced from the Otjikoto pit and the Wolfshag underground mine, supplemented by existing medium and high-grade ore stockpiles.

Capital expenditures at the mine are expected to total $33 million, of which approximately $32 million is classified as sustaining capital expenditures.

Since commissioning the NamPower grid link, the Otjikoto mine has reduced its overall processing and plant costs by approximately 10%. In addition, transitioning to a combination of the solar power plant and the national grid will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the company has said.

B2Gold shares were unchanged at $3.53 on Thursday and currently trade in a 52-week range of $5.04 and $3.18.

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