B2Gold halts mining in Philippines, Africa operations unchanged

Masbate gold mine in the Philippines. (Image courtesy of B2Gold.)

Canadian miner B2Gold (TSX:BTO)(NYSE: BTG) is temporarily halting mining at its Masbate operation in the Philippines as government measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 has disrupted fuel supplies.

Milling activities continue as normal, the company said. It also noted it continued to move forward with ongoing expansion and development projects, despite certain restrictions and delays triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The temporary fuel shortage is due to new regulations imposed by the Philippine Government related to the Covid-19 virus to ensure that all materials, including fuel, arriving on Masbate island via transport are not contaminated,” B2Gold said.

Fekola and Otjikoto mines, in Mali and Namibia, respectively, continue to operate as normal

The Vancouver-based company also noted it would suspend drilling at its Gramalote project, in Colombia, which has the potential to delay the completion of a feasibility study into the first quarter of 2021.

B2Gold said last week it had put measures in place to manage and respond to the risks associated with the disease at all of its assets and offices.

Since no incidents related to Covid-19 have been detected at its sites, projects such as the mill expansion and solar facility construction at the Fekola mine in Mali are still projected for completion in the third quarter of 2020.

Barring any unforeseen work stoppages due to Covid-19, including consumable supply disruption, B2Gold expects to meet its full-year gold production and cost guidance at Fekola.

Development of an underground mine at Otjikoto in Namibia could potentially be postponed if contractors cannot reach the site, as planned, in the second quarter, the gold producer said.

It noted that it didn’t expect that a delay to the project will have any impact on the 2020 or 2021 forecasted yearly production at Otjikoto.

Overall, the company continues to forecast annual production of at least 1 million ounces of gold.