B2Gold opens major new solar farm at its Namibia mine

Mid-tier Canadian miner B2Gold (TSX, NYSE: BTO) has officially open a solar farm at its Otjikoto mine in Namibia, which the country’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, said it was a “significant contribution” for the nation’s attempts to find sustainable energy solutions.

The opening follows the Vancouver-based miner’s breaking ground on the construction of the $8.5 million, 7megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant last year at the mine.

The company expects to reduce energy costs by 14% this year thanks to the plant.

The facility at Otjikoto is one of the first fully-autonomous hybrid plants in the world, said B2Gold in a statement, adding it will allow it to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the site's current 24-megawatt ("MW") heavy fuel oil ("HFO") power plant.

“This solar plant will deliver positive economic, environmental and social impacts that is likely to outlive the life of mine,” minister Alweendo said.

The facility is also expected to improve B2Gold’s economic returns, reduce impacts on the environment and become a potential funding source for community development.

The company, which will reduce energy cost by 14% this year thanks to the solar plant, said it could use it as an income-generating asset after the mine runs out of ore.

Funds generated by this asset could be used to support ongoing corporate social responsibility activities in the region long after the mine’s shut down.

B2Gold gained access to the Otjikoto mine in Namibia, through its acquisition of Auryx Gold in 2011. It current owns other four producing gold mines and  has two projects in its pipeline: Kiaka in Burkina Faso, and Gramalote, a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU) in Colombia.