Condor Gold losses narrow as progress at La India pays off

Nicaragua-focused Condor Gold (LON:CNR) saw losses narrow in the first three months of the year as administrative expenses almost halved in relation to the same period in 2018.

The miner logged a pre-tax loss for the period of £352,553, compared to a £602,678 loss a year before. This was almost entirely due to lower administrative expenses, which shrank to £352,989 from £602,915.

In the quarter, the company began the permitting process for two satellite feeder pits for its flagship La India gold project, which could increase open pit production by 50% to 120,000 ounces of gold annually during a seven-year mine life.

Miner logged a pre-tax loss for the period of £352,553, compared to a £602,678 loss a year before, as administrative expenses almost halved.

"The addition of the higher grade feeder pits has the potential to materially enhance project economics be reducing already low [all-in-sustaining-cash costs], improving the internal rate of return and reducing the payback period for the upfront capital costs of constructing a gold mine," chief executive officer Mark Child said in the statement.

The America and Mestiza pits are located about 2km and 4km, respectively, from La India’s processing plant and complement the main open pit.

The decision to seek permits for the two satellite pits was based on a January updated mineral resource estimate for its fully permitted La India.

The plan is to begin by mining those “mini pits” within the larger, permitted one and truck that ore to a nearby processing plant, Child told MINING.com earlier this year.

During the period, Condor Gold also announced a private placement and subscription to raise £1.8 million to continue development of its concession package, covering 98% of the historic La India Gold Mining District.

Condor Gold initially staked concessions in Nicaragua, Central America’s largest country, in 2006. Since then, mining has significantly taken off in the country due to the arrival of foreign companies with the cash and knowledge to tap into its reserves.

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B2Gold to produce 5m ounces of gold at Mali mine after $50m expansion

Mid-tier Canadian miner B2Gold (TSX:BTO)(NYSE: BTG) will invest $50 million into expanding its 80%-owned Fekola mine in southwestern Mali, which would allow the operation churn out 5 million ounces of gold over the new mine life of 12 years.

Average annual gold output would increase to more than 550,000 ounces in the five-year period 2020 – 2024, and over 400,000 ounces during the remaining seven years.

The project could also take the operation’s processing throughput to 7.5-million tonnes a year, up from the current 6-million tonne throughput.

Average annual gold output would increase to more than 550,000 ounces in the five-year period 2020 – 2024.

The decision comes as the results of a preliminary expansion assessment (PEA), published on May 10, recommended extending the mine’s fleet and upgrading the existing plant to process an additional 1.5-million tonnes a year.

Vancouver-based B2Gold, which poured first gold at Fekola in late 2017, said half of the total capital needed will be spent in this year with the remaining half in 2020. It also said it expected to recover the full investment in less than a year.

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

B2Gold said it continued to further optimize the PEA and expected to incorporate those results into an updated study, which will be available in the final quarter of the year.

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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B2Gold’s shares up on first quarter 2019 report

B2Gold’s (TSX: BTO NSX: B2G) stock was up over 2% Wednesday afternoon after reporting strong results on both its gold production and gold sales for the first quarter of 2019.

Consolidated gold production was 230,859 ounces, 6% (12,704) ounces above target. Gold production from B2Gold’s Fekola, Masbate, Otjikoto and El Limon mines all exceeded their targeted production, the company reported.

The Fekola Mine in Mali and the Masbate Mine in the Philippines both achieved above targeted production for the quarter.

For the first quarter of 2019, the Fekola Mine produced 110,349 ounces of gold, above budget by 6% (6,724 ounces), and the Masbate Mine produced 57,481 ounces of gold, above target by 15% (7,490 ounces). Compared to the prior-year quarter, gold production was slightly lower, by 8,825 ounces.

Consolidated gold revenue dropped in the first quarter of 2019 from the same quarter last year. Revenue was $302 million on sales of 232,076 ounces at an average price of $1,300 per ounce compared to $344 million on sales of 259,837 ounces at an average price of $1,325 per ounce in the first quarter of 2018.

Gold sales of 232,076 ounces in the first quarter of 2019 were 6% (13,564 ounces) above budget. Compared to the prior-year quarter, the decrease in revenue related mainly to the timing of gold shipments.

At market close Wednesday, B2Gold’s shares were up 2.25%, trading at C$3.63 on the TSX. The company has a C$3.64B market capitalization.

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Condor Gold hails results from metallurgical test work at Nicaragua mine

Condor Gold (LON:CNR) said Monday that recent metallurgical test work on samples taken from its 100%-owned La India gold project in Nicaragua had confirmed 95.4% gold recovery in laboratory conditions.

The gold recoveries, said the miner, are far better than the ones found during tests carried out in 2014, for preliminary feasibility study, which used material from drill core from the La India and America veins.

Condor says gold recoveries of 94.5% are better than previous metallurgical sampling compiled for the 2014 preliminary feasibility study.

Chairman and chief executive Mark Child thanked B2Gold (TSX: BTO) for testing the samples at laboratories at both its El Limon and La Libertad mines, adding the work showed La India's ores could be processed at B2Gold's processing plants, or a similar facility.

"It is invaluable to conduct metallurgical test work at two nearby producing gold mines whose laboratories are set up to replicate the metallurgical recoveries at the mines. It assists Condor in deciding on a final mine design and metallurgical process as the La India project progresses to the construction phase," he said in the statement.

Speaking to MINING.com in January, Child noted that La India open pit was full permitted to produce 600,000 ounces of gold over a six to seven-year period. He added the company was working on an opportunity to enter production in the first half of this year.

The plan is to begin by “mini pit” within the larger, permitted La India open pit and trucking the ore to a nearby processing plant, which has spare capacity. "Condor has firm quotes from local contract mining and haulage companies," Child said.

Shares in the company jumped 2.6% Monday morning to 18.48p, but flattened later at 18p.

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B2Gold goes ahead with $50 million expansion of Fekola mine

Mid-tier Canadian miner B2Gold (TSX:BTO)(NYSE: BTG) will invest $50 million expanding its 80%-owned Fekola mine in southwestern Mali, which could take the operation’s gold output to 7.5-million tonnes a year from the current 6-million tonnes.

The decision comes as the results of a preliminary expansion assessment (PEA), published on Wednesday, recommended an expansion of the existing plant to process an additional 1.5-million tonnes a year, without requiring an extra ball mill or additional power generation capacity.

The Vancouver-based company, which poured first gold at Fekola in the last quarter of 2017, said that as result of the expansion the mine will produce more gold over a longer life. It will also have “more robust economics and higher average annual gold production, revenues and cash flows than the previous life of mine,” it said in a statement.

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

Utilizing additional resources discovered in October, the mine could produce 550,000 ounces a year between 2020 and 2024 and 400,000 ounces between now and 2030, B2Gold said.

The PEA also predicts an increase in the net present value of Fekola of some $500 million and forecast life of mine pre-tax net cash flow of about $2.8 billion. The revised life of mine operating cash cost and all-in sustaining cost (AISC) would be between $500 and $700 per ounce respectively.

B2Gold  said it was also assessing various optimization alternatives, including processing gold-bearing ore from the company’s Anaconda project, which is situated north of Fekola, as well as installing solar power at the Fekola premises and “… various tailings and waste disposal strategies”.

This process would continue through the second quarter of this year and would be incorporated into a revised Fekola life of mine plan, which is expected to be available early next year.

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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Condor Gold seeks growing Nicaragua project with two feeder pits

Condor Gold (LON:CNR) has started the permitting process for two high-grade satellite feeder pits that could increase production at its La India gold project in Nicaragua by 50% to 120,000 ounces a year.

The America and Mestiza pits are located about 2km and 4km, respectively, from La India’s processing plant and complement the main open pit.

Mining the satellite feeder pits could increase La India gold project's expected production by 50% to 120,000 ounces a year.

The decision to seek permits for the two satellite pits is based on a January updated mineral resource estimate for La India, which is full permitted to produce 600,000 ounces of gold over a seven-year period.

The plan is to begin by mining the “mini pits” within the larger, permitted pit and truck that ore to a nearby processing plant, chief executive officer Mark Child told MINING.com earlier this year.

America and Mestiza have, in total, 206,000 tonnes at a grade of 9.9 grams of gold per tonne of ore for 66,000 ounces of contained metal in the indicated category, and 1.0 million tonnes at 4.6 grams of per tonne of ore for 152,000 ounces of contained gold in the inferred category.

La India also has a total underground resource of 1.27 million tonnes at a grade of 5.8g/t gold for 238,000 gold ounces in the indicated category and 5.47 million tonnes at a grade of 5.1g/t gold for 889,000 ounces gold in the inferred category.

Condor Gold initially staked concessions in Nicaragua, Central America’s largest country, in 2006. Since then, mining has significantly taken off in the country due to the arrival of foreign companies with the cash and knowledge to tap into its reserves.

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Condor Gold shares jump as Nicaragua project grows again

Shares in Condor Gold (LON:CNR) climbed as much as 5.8% on Monday morning after it increased the mineral resource estimate at its 100%-owned La India gold project in Nicaragua, noting the potential for an expansion.

The mineral resource update totalled 9.85 million tonnes at 3.6 grams per tonne of gold for 1.14 million of indicate ounces, a surge of 57,000 ounces from the previous update.

The growth, however, was non-material, and as a result, doesn’t change the mineral reserve referenced in the 2014 pre-feasibility study, Condor Gold  said.

The mineral resource proved two new satellite open pit resources, taking the total to four pits.

The mineral resource revise included 8,222m drilling completed since the previous update in September 2014, and proved two new satellite open pit resources, taking the total to four pits.

The four satellite pits had the potential to act as feeder pits, to provide mineralized material to the permitted plant, and to supplement feed from the main La India open pit, Condor said.

The company highlighted the new open pit resource on Mestiza, which shows 2,000 tonnes at a grade of 12.1g/t for 36,000 ounces contained gold in the indicated category and 341,000 tonnes at a grade of 7.7g/t gold for 85,000 ounces in the inferred category.

La India also has a total underground resource of 1.27 million tonnes at a grade of 5.8g/t gold for 238,000 gold ounces in the indicated category and 5.47 million tonnes at a grade of 5.1g/t gold for 889,000 ounces gold in the inferred category.

Chief executive Mark Child said the upgrade was a "timely reminder of the high-grade nature" of the La India gold deposit.

He added that Condor would be looking at adding the satellite pits' contained gold to the mine schedule to supplement the ore feed from the La India open pit.

"This has the possibility to either increase annual production and/or extend the life of mine," he said.

Nicaragua’s gold production is supplemented by small scale artisanal mining of placer and alluvial placer gold, particularly in the regions that form what is known as the “mining triangle”: Siuna, Rosita and Bonanza, where small-scale gold extraction has been the dominant trade since 1880.

Other companies currently present in Nicaragua are Canada’s B2Gold and Australia’s Oro Verde.

The company’s shares gained 1.48p to 26.98p by 8:15 am on the news, but dipped later and were trading at 26.35p by noon London time. Year-to-date, the stock has lost about 15% of its value.

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B2Gold hits record gold output in 2018 thanks to new Mali mine

Mid-tier Canadian miner B2Gold (TSX:BTO)(NYSE: BTG) reported Wednesday record gold production in 2018 of 953,504 ounces, a figure the company says was near the top end of the revised guidance of between 920,000 and 960,000 ounces.

This is the 10th consecutive year the Vancouver-based miner achieves record annual production, with output this time climbing 51% thanks to the contribution of its 80%-owned Fekola mine in southwestern Mali.

This is the 10th consecutive year the Vancouver-based miner achieves record annual production, with output this time climbing 51%.

Full-year consolidated gold revenue totalled $1.2 billion ore 92% more than in 2017, marking a new company record.

In its first full year of commercial production, Fekola exceeded expectations, as it produced 439,068 ounces, while B2Gold  expected a maximum of 430,000 ounces.

The company’s Masbate mine in the Philippines also topped guidance, achieving record yearly gold production of 216,498 ounces.

B2Gold’s other African asset, the Otjikoto in Namibia, produced 167,346 ounces, reaching the mid-point of its production guidance range.

For 2019, the miner forecasts gold production of between 935,000 and 975,000 ounces at all-in sustaining costs estimated at between $835 and $875 per ounce.

The company noted it planned a year of aggressive exploration,  with a budget of approximately $43 million, from which almost half will be spent in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

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