B2Gold’s (TSX: BTO; NYSE: BTG) Fekola mine in southwestern Mali produced 567,795 oz. gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $765 per oz. sold last year, and this year exploration results and an updated resource estimate for the Anaconda area, about 25 km north of the mine, fuel the company’s view that there’s upside potential for a lot more gold production to come.
Based on drill results from this year and an increased resource estimate for Anaconda released in March (a pit-constrained indicated resource of 32.4 million tonnes grading 1.08 grams gold per tonne for 1.1 million oz. of contained gold and 63.7 million inferred tonnes averaging 1.12 grams gold for 2.3 million oz.), the mining company has launched a scoping study to review the economics of building a standalone mill near the Anaconda area.
This year the company budgeted C$33 million for infrastructure development for first phase saprolite mining at Anaconda, including road construction. If the scoping study for a second phase of mining is positive, the company expects that the saprolite material would continue to be trucked to and fed into the Fekola mill while it builds a standalone mill.
For the rest of this year, B2Gold says it will focus on follow-up drilling to extend the known sulphide mineralization at Anaconda, including the Mamba, Cobra and Adder zones, and other targets below the saprolite mineralization. Other zones at Anaconda include: Anaconda, Cascabel and Viper.
The most recent drill results come from the Mamba Main zone and Cobra zones. Highlights from Mamba include hole BND-108, which returned 5.89 grams gold per tonne over 28.7 metres from 455.5 metres downhole; BND-101, which cut 3.76 grams gold over 32.1 metres from 299 metres; and BND-104, which intersected 3.33 grams gold over 14.3 metres starting from 362.7 metres.
B2Gold said the holes “collectively confirm and extend the continuity of the high-grade sulphide mineralization of the sulphide shoot to over 700 metres down-plunge, providing a strong indication of the potential for Fekola-style bodies of sulphide mineralization, which remain open at depth.”
Results from the Cobra zone, about 2 km east of the Mamba zone, included hole MSD-227, with 2.02 grams gold over 25.3 metres from 201.7 metes, and 6.75 grams gold over 13.8 metres from 244.4 metres.
The company has completed about 116,000 metres of drilling (diamond, reverse-circulation and aircore) on targets near the Fekola mine and the Anaconda area this year. For the full year, it is planning to drill a total of 161,000 metres on the Fekola complex, and has budgeted about C$35 million for the work.
The 2022 drilling includes programs on the Fekola North deposit to further test the underground mineralization potential, and on the Anaconda area, including Mamba, Adder, Anaconda, Cascabel, Viper and Cobra.
The Fekola complex is on the border between Mali and Senegal, about 500 km west of Mali’s capital city of Bamako.