B2Gold continues to look at opportunities in Mali

Vancouver-based B2Gold remains actively committed to exploring expansion opportunities in Mali, despite the government’s proposal to introduce a new mining code. The proposed code aims to enhance the State’s stake in gold mining projects within the country.

Under the leadership of the military-led government, discussions are under way with gold mining companies, including B2Gold, regarding potential amendments to the existing mining law that could increase the government’s take in projects from 20% to 35%.

B2Gold CEO Clive Johnson has provided assurance on last week’s earnings call that the proposed 2023 mining code will only apply to future developments and that the Fekola mine will continue to be governed by the existing mining convention under the 2012 Mining Code.

“We remain convinced that the government of Mali wants more gold mining in the country and wants people like ourselves, and for our investors, to invest,” said Johnson.

Fekola has been a “great success” for Mali, which has benefitted from $1.2-billion in revenue since the mine started production, he added.

The proposed new 2023 Mining Code will impact the Fekola Regional licences, which form a central part of B2Gold’s expansion plans for the region.

These licences comprise the Anaconda area, which includes the Bantako and Menankoto permits. The company plans to truck higher-grade saprolite material to the Fekola mill, with the potential to generate about 80 000 oz/y to 100 000 oz/y from regional sources. The receipt of an exploitation licence for the Bantako North permit area remains outstanding, pending finalisation of the proposed new code.

Preliminary results of an optimisation study also indicate that there is a significant opportunity to further increase gold production at Fekola, with B2Gold progressing an engineering study of a regional standalone mill to be located on the Anaconda area.

Construction of a standalone oxide mill would constitute Phase 2 of the Fekola regional development plant. B2Gold plans to announce results of the study in the fourth quarter.

“We remain committed to looking at further opportunities in Mali and we believe that the government, from what we’ve heard, remains committed to increasing gold production in the country,” said Johnson.

Source: Mining Weekly