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Work on building the mine will start in the last quarter of this year, with an initial investment of $244 million, not counting leasing costs of extraction equipment ($30 million), stripping costs ($33 million) and a $30 million outlay for construction of a power plant.
The initial life span of the open-cast mine has been set at 12 years for a resource of 29.4 million tons with a grading of 1.4g/t Au, or 1.34 million oz. B2Gold forecasts annual production of 141,000 oz with an operating cash cost per ounce of just $524.
However, the company has wider ambitions because the infrastructure is being designed to allow the processing plant to be expanded from 2.5 to 3 million tons/y, to attain a capacity of 170,000 oz per annum by 2016 on condition B2Gold lays out an additional investment of $15 million. Indeed, the company is drilling not far from Otjikoto, in the Wolfshag area, where an inferred resource of 6.8 million t @ 3.2 g/t Au has already been identified, or 703,000 oz.
B2Gold produced 374,000 oz in 2013 from its three mines, La Libertad and Limon in Nicaragua and Masbate in the Philippines. It is counting of turning out 410,000 oz this year with an All In Sustaining Cost (AISC) of between $1,025 to $1,125/oz. That figure will drop to $550 thanks to the inauguration of Otjikoto in 2015.