B2Gold to begin $50m-expansion of Fekola mine in October

Fekola is located near Mali’s border with Senegal, and about 520 km from the country’s capital, Bamako. (Image courtesy of B2Gold Corp.)

Mid-tier Canadian miner B2Gold (TSX:BTO)(NYSE: BTG) has approved a $50-million expansion of its 80%-owned Fekola mine, in southwestern Mali, which could take the operation‚Äôs processing throughput to 7.5-million tonnes a year, up from the current 6 million tonnes it generates.

The Vancouver-based company, which poured first gold at Fekola in late 2017, said the plan was to have Fekola churning out 600,000 ounces of gold by 2020, helped by an enhanced mine plan and a larger fleet.

Expansion could take the mine’s processing throughput to 7.5-million tonnes a year and is expected to be complete by the September-quarter of 2020

In 2018, its first full year of commercial production, the mine exceeded expectations, generating 439,068 ounces of gold, while B2Gold expected a maximum of 430,000 ounces.

Construction will begin in October, the miner said, and is expected to be complete by the September-quarter of 2020.

The upgrade will also extend the mine life to 2030. This would be achieved by providing the ball mill with more power and upgrading other plant components such as the cyclone classification system, pebble crushers and building additional leach capacity to support the higher throughput, B2Gold said.

The news comes as B2Gold announced a deal with long-time partner AngloGold Ashanti, which will allow it to increase its stake in their Gramalote project in Colombia to 50% and take control of it.

Fekola is located near Mali’s border with Senegal, and about 520 km from the country’s capital, Bamako. The country’s government owns the reminding 20%.

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