Canada’s Desert Gold renews permit for Malian gold project

Desert Gold Ventures (TSXV: DAU) announced this week that the Malian government approved the renewal of its permit to operate the Djimbala project, located in southern Mali.

In a press release, Desert explained that the permit renewal is for an initial 3-year term, renewable for two additional 2-year terms, which gives the Canadian company control of Djimbala until May 2026.

At present, the Delta, British Columbia-based miner is working on assaying 2,150 soil samples that its field team collected over the north-western portion of the property. “This work, in conjunction with follow-up field evaluation and property-scale mapping and soil sampling over the remaining portion of the permit, is expected to lead to the development of a significant number of drill targets on the property which has seen no reported drilling to date,” the media statement reads.

Djimbala is a 100-square-kilometre land pack located in Mali’s Yanfolila gold belt. The project is close to several large operating mines and gold deposits including Hummingbird’s 2.2-million ounces Komana East and West deposits, Wassoul Or’s Kodieran mine and Endeavour’s 3.25-million ounces Kalana deposit.

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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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Cache Exploration buys gold project in Mali

Cache Exploration (TSX-V:CAY) announced the acquisition of a 100% mineral interest in a gold project in Mali, West Africa.

In a press release, Cache said that it signed a definitive agreement with private vendor Rachid Mogabgab and that the acquisition includes an estimated $250,000 in mining equipment previously utilized at the project.

To go ahead with the deal, the Vancouver-based firm has to issue 2,500,000 common shares on the closing date and pay the vendor a total of $210,000.

The property is located in southwestern Mali and, according to Cache, is underlain by Birimian volcano-sedimentary rocks and granitic intrusives.

“The first work in the area started in 1989 with the Or Bagoe project, consisting of geochemical prospecting on a 1,000m x 250 m grid. In 1998, the Technical Assistance to the Mineral Sector Project re-analyzed the samples obtained during the Or Bagoe project. Anomalous results were obtained for the Kokoyon property with the highest being 9.9 g/t Au,” the miner’s media statement reads.

Once approvals are received, Cache said its geologists plan to explore the high-grade gold samples on the property. "Geophysical, geological and soil sampling surveys followed by drilling are suggested to resume exploration on the property," the press brief states.

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RANKED: Top 10 lowest cost gold mines on the globe

In 2018, global gold mining companies' average all-in sustaining costs (AISC) fell 6% across the board as miners reacted to a gold price in steady decline for most of the year.

The AISC metric serve as a benchmark of a mine’s operating efficiency. They provide a more comprehensive look at mine economics than the traditional "cash costs" approach that many companies may interpret arbitrarily – and it includes important expenses such as overhead outlays and capital used in ongoing exploration, mine development and production.

Mining Intelligence, a MINING.com sister company, looked at costs at primary gold mines and ranked them based on AISC. Primary gold operations are defined by Mining Intelligence as “mines where gold contributed to 80% or more of revenues from operating activities generated last year.”

The data used by Mining Intelligence represents companies reporting quarterly production and listed on the following stock exchanges: TSX (+TSX-V), ASX, LSE (+LSE-AIM), NYSE, and JSE. The ranking excludes privately-owned mines, tailings, re-processing operations, mines where the precious metal is produced as a by-product, and operations where companies report gold-equivalent output.


Falling out of the top ten list compiled by Mining Intelligence in 2018 are two Barrick mines that were on the Mining Intelligence list compiled in 2018: Lagunas Norte in Peru, where costs have gone up from $483 to $636/oz, and Pueblo Viejo, in the Dominican Republic, where costs rose from $525 to $623/oz. The Barrick mines made way for two recently commissioned mines: B2Gold's Fekola mine in Mali, and Atlantic Gold's Moose River mine in Nova Scotia.

1 Svetloye – $425/oz

Svetloye mine. Image from Polymetals.

Polymetal’s Svetloye mine is an open-pit gold operation that located in the far east region of Russia. Despite the remote location and lack of infrastructure, high-grade ores and heap-leaching technology help this mine to produce gold at the lowest costs possible.

2 Fosterville – $442/oz

Fosterville mine. Image from Kirkland Gold.

Fosterville is the largest gold producer in the state of Victoria, Australia. The underground mine is owned by Toronto-based Kirkland Lake Gold. Production in 2018 totalled 356,230 ounces. Recently the company raised the production guidance to 550,000-610,000 ounces for 2019-2020, up from the previous guidance of 390,000–430,000 ounces.

3 Olimpiada – $468/oz

Olimpiada mine. Image from Polyus.

Located in one of Russia’s most prolific gold mining provinces, Olimpiada is Polyus’ largest operation.To treat Olimpiada’s sulphide ores, Polyus employs BIONORD, the company’s proprietary bio-oxidation technology. Successful exploration activities in the area indicate the potential for substantial extension of the life of this mine.

4 Voro – $477/oz

Voro mine. Image from Polymetal.

Voro is one of Polymetal's very first key gold assets, acquired in 1998. The mine and processing facility is located in the Sverdlovsk region of Russia. The open-pit and heap leach operation started in 2000 and has another nine years of life.

5 South Arturo – $478/oz

South Arturo mine. Image from Premier Gold Mines.

The South Arturo open-pit gold mine in Nevada is a high-grade oxide deposit amenable for highly efficient heap leaching mineral processing and extraction technology. This deposit is of the prominent Carlin-type widely known as being one of the most productive and cost efficient geological formations worldwide. Premier Gold Mines holds a 40% interest in the South Arturo property with Barrick owning the remaining 60%. Barrick processes South Arturo ore at its Goldstrike plant 5 km south of the mine.

6 Long Canyon – $505/oz

Long Canyon mine. Image from Newmont.

Newmont’s Long Canyon open-pit mine is of the same mineralization style as the South Arturo deposit, and the only significant discovery made in Nevada in the last decade. The nature of the deposit, application of a heap leach technology and tapping into existing infrastructure keep costs at Long Canyon at some of the lowest levels in the industry.

7 Fekola – $533/oz

Fekola mine. Image from B2Gold.

B2Gold first acquired the world-class Fekola gold project in Mali through a merger with Papillon Resources back in 2014. First gold pour at the Fekola mine took place three years later. The company recently decided, based on a positive PEA study, to invest $50 million into expanding the mine's capacity.

8 Cerro Negro – $535/oz

Goldcorp’s Cerro Negro mine.

Sitting 600 metres above sea level on the Patagonian plains in southern Argentina, Goldcorp’s Cerro Negro underground mine has 4.86 million ounces in proven and probable gold reserves. Commercial production began on January 1, 2015.

9 Blagodatnoye – $547/oz

Blagodatnoye mine. Image from Polyus.

Polyus commissioned Blagodatnoye in Krasnoyarsk, eastern Siberia in July 2010. Processing capacity at the open pit, located 25 km from the Moscow-based company's flagship Olimpiada mine, is 8.1 million tonnes of ore per year, which makes it one of the largest facilities of its kind in Russia.

10 Moose River – $564/oz

Atlantic Gold's Moose River mine.

Atlantic Gold’s Moose River open-pit mine is located in Nova Scotia that has a long history of gold mining. Commercial production was declared in March 2018, and in the first year production reached 90,500 ounces. Atlantic expects its phase two expansion plans will have gold production ramping up to more than 200,000 ounces per annum.

(Based on research compiled by Vladimir Basov of Mining Intelligence)

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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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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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RosCan reports positive results from drilling campaign in Mali

Bedford-based RosCan Gold (TSXV: ROS) announced this week positive assay results from an initial Air Core drilling program at its Kandiole project in western Mali.

The project is comprised of five permits of contiguous land in the Birimian Rocks, east of B2Gold's Fekola mine and Iamgold's Boto and Diakha deposits.

In a press release, RosCan said that the drilling program was completed in December 2018 and was designed to test strong termite and soil gold anomalies.

"Significant amounts of saprolite-hosted gold mineralization were discovered in each of the two areas that were tested with the best results returned from the Mankouke area," the miner's statement reads. Significant amounts of saprolite-hosted gold mineralization were discovered in each of the two areas that were tested with the best results returned from the Mankouke area

RosCan said that results include 5.94 g/t gold over 14 metres, including 26.7 g/t gold over 2 metres; 8.68 g/t gold over 14 metres, including 41.5 g/t gold over 2 metres; 8.47 g/t gold over 18 metres, including 29 g/t gold over 4 metres; 4.98 g/t gold over 8 metres, including 16.6 g/t gold over 2 metres; and laterite-hosted 3.06 g/t gold over 8 metres and 2.71 g/t gold over 4 metres.

"This is an excellent new discovery with very good gold grades. The mineralized zone is open to depth and appears, from a limited amount of drilling, to extend to the next drill line located approximately 250 metres to the north, and hopefully beyond, along this large geochemical anomaly," Greg Isenor, President and CEO, said in the media statement.

Isenor also said that his team feels encouraged by the indications that the apparent high-grade zone continues to depth, and that they are planning an additional drilling program.

"Further drilling will be carried out to test the extent of the mineralization at depth and along strike to the north and south of the strongly mineralized zones. Additional gold-in-termite and termite anomalies zones remain to be tested," the media brief reads.

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Strike takes shine off Barrick’s Loulo-Gounkoto production results

Full-year production at Barrick Gold’s Loulo-Gounkoto mining complex in Mali, which the Canadian miner obtained as part of its merger with Randgold, fell shy of expected targets mainly as a consequence of a week-long strike at the operation, the company said.

The Mali-based operation, one of the pillars of the country’s economy since Loulo went into production in 2005, produced 1.29 million gold ounces, below the expected 1.3 to 1.35 million ounces for 2018.

Company said the output decline was a consequence of a week-long strike at the Mali operation.

President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow noted the company will continue investing in the complex, which ranks among the recently-merged Barrick-Randgold group’s Tier One assets, with the goal of detecting additional reserves.

“A preliminary economic assessment of the Loulo 3 open pit and underground project has been completed and drilling continues to expand the area of high-grade mineralization south of the Yalea orebody,” Bristow said. “Exploration of the Faraba structure on the Gounkoto permit has shown the potential for multiple zones of mineralization to be extended.”

Speaking about the company’s long-running dispute with the government over a claim of as much as $200 million in back-taxes, Barrick leader said the issue remained on the agenda. “We trust that through amicable mediation we’ll arrive at a solution acceptable to both parties,” he noted.

As Randgold, the company has been more than 25 years operating in Mali, Africa’s third-largest gold producer.

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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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Endeavour Mining increases stake in Ity gold mine to 85%

Canada’s Endeavour Mining (TSX:EDV) (OTCQX:EDVMF) has increased its stake in its Ity gold mine in Ivory Coast to 85% from 80% by buying shares in the operation from a local company owned by former soccer star.

DYD International Holding founded by Didier Drogba, an ex Chelsea Football Club striker who also represented Ivory Coast’s national team, received about one million shares in Endeavour Mining for a total of $15 million (CAD$20 million), based on a share price in the Toronto-listed firm of C$18.50 per share.

The deal, closed on Thursday, leaves Endeavour Mining with a majority stake in Ity gold mine, with the Government of Ivory Coast having a 10% and Sodemi (a state-run mining company) owning the remaining 5.

The Canadian miner now owns 85% of Ity, the government of Ivory Coast 10% and State-owned mining company Sodemi the remaining 5%.

The gold producer approved in 2017 a $412-million upgrade project for Ity, which will extend the mine’s life by 14 years, based on current reserves of 2.9 million ounces, up by one million ounces since the latest feasibility study.

First gold pour from the mine is anticipated to occur in early spring, as the project is tracking two months ahead of schedule, the company said in a previous statement.

Endeavour also has another mine in the country — Agbaou. In 2017, that operation and Ity mine yielded a combined 236,000 ounces of gold, and that figure is expected to be between 200,000 and 215,000 ounces for 2018.

Endeavour has expanded its portfolio in recent years and it now has counts with seven mines and projects in African countries, including Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso.

The miner anticipates a combined output of between 670,000 and 720,000 ounces of gold for 2018.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, aims to increase gold production to diversify its economy. In 2017, the country produced around 25 tonnes of gold.

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