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B2Gold starts construction of Otjikoto gold project.

B2Gold Corp. has started construction of the Otjikoto open-pit gold project in Namibia, 300 km north of Namibia's capital city of Windhoek. The project is owned 92% by B2Gold and 8% by EVI Gold (Pty) Ltd., a Namibian black empowerment group.

The Otjikoto feasibility study describes a project that has an initial mine life of 12 years based on probable a mineral reserve of 29.4 million mt at a grade of 1.42 g/mt gold containing 1.34 million oz of gold. Average annual gold production for years one to five is estimated at 141,000 oz/y at an operating cash cost of $524/oz; average life-of-mine gold production is estimated at 112,000 oz/y at an operating cash cost of $689/oz.

Pre-production capital cost is estimated at $244.2 million. Based on current projections, the project would begin production in late 2014.

Run-of-mine ore from the Otjikoto open-pit will be delivered by lO0-mt trucks to a primary crushing plant consisting of a gyratory crusher and conveyor system that will feed a coarse ore stockpile. Stock-piled material will be reclaimed and treated through a SAG mill/secondary ball mill grinding circuit.

The ball mill discharge stream will be treated in a gravity concentration circuit for recovery of coarse gold. The gravity concentrate will be processed in an intensive leach circuit.

The gravity tailings product will be thickened to 45% solids and treated in a cyanide leach circuit. The leach product stream will be pumped to a carbon-in-pulp (CIP) circuit for recovery of gold in solution. Gold will be recovered from the loaded carbon in a split AARL [Anglo American Research Laboratories] elution circuit.

Gold solutions from the gravity intensive leach circuit and elution circuit will be treated by an electrowinning process followed by smelting to produce dore bars.

The tailings stream from the CIP circuit will be treated in a cyanide destruction circuit using the S02/Air process, before being pumped to a lined tailing storage facility.

The Otjikoto plant and support infrastructure will be built to support a plant expansion from the initial processing capacity of 2.5 million mt/y to 3 million mt/y with minimal additional capital expenditure.

An aggressive exploration drilling program continues on the high-grade Wolfshag zone discovered in late 2012 adjacent to the planned Otjikoto pit.

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Publication:E&MJ - Engineering & Mining Journal
Geographic Code:6NAMI
Date:Feb 1, 2013
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