B2Gold (BTG) Aims to Produce 1,055,000 Ounces of Gold in 2020
B2Gold Corp’s BTG total gold production in the first nine months of the year was a record 738,939 ounces from all of its operating mines, 4% above the budget, reflecting year-over-year growth of 19%. Backed by the better-than-expected performance of its operating mines, B2Gold expects total consolidated gold production to come in toward the mid-point of its guided range of 1,000,000 and 1,055,000 ounces for the current year.
A Sneak Peak at Q3 Output & Revenues
B2Gold recorded consolidated gold production of 248,733 ounces during the September-end quarter, 1% above the budget level, marking a year-over-year increase of 17%. The company witnessed solid performances across its Fekola, Masbate and Otjikoto mine operations in the third quarter, outpacing the respective targeted production for the quarter. The significant increase in gold production was primarily driven by the Fekola Mine in Mali.
Consolidated gold revenues in third-quarter 2020 were a record $487 million, a significant increase from $176 million reported in the prior-year quarter. Increase in gold revenues was driven by higher realized gold price and higher gold ounces sold. Total gold revenues for the first nine-month period for the year came in at a record $1.309 billion, marking a 56% jump from the year-ago quarter.
For 2020, the company expects cash operating costs at or below the low end of its guidance between $415 and $455 per ounce. All-in sustaining costs (AISC) are projected to be at the lower end of its guided range between $780 and $820 per ounce for the year.
Gold prices have been up 25.6% so far this year, fueled by the coronavirus pandemic and rate cuts. The combination of lower mined gold supply and higher demand, as well as uncertainty over the upcoming U.S presidential elections are likely to drive prices north. Therefore, higher gold prices and lower costs will boost the company’s margins during the year. Some of the prominent players in the Mining - Gold industry like Agnico Eagle Mines Limited AEM, Barrick Gold Corporation GOLD and AngloGold Ashanti Limited AU are also likely to gain from higher gold prices.
Mining Operations in Detail
The Fekola mine continues to deliver solid operational performance, with gold production of 152,535 ounces during the July-September period, 2% above the budget. It also highlights year-over-year growth of 36%, driven by the expansion of the Fekola mining fleet, as well as optimization of the pit designs and mine plan for the current year. The mine is expected to meet or exceed the upper end of its production guided range between 590,000 and 620,000 ounces of gold this year.
The Masbate mine in the Philippines produced 53,607 ounces of gold during the September-end quarter, approximately in line with the budget despite the six-day suspension of mining activities during August due to the earthquake. Gold production was up 4% year over year. For the ongoing year, the mine projects production between 200,000 and 210,000 ounces of gold.
In Namibia, the Otjikoto Mine produced 42,591 ounces of gold in the July-September quarter, 2% above budget. Gold production declined 14% year on year due to less high-grade ore tons being mined from the Wolfshag Phase 2 Pit. The mine is projected to produce between 165,000 and 175,000 ounces of gold in 2020.
On Sep 10, B2Gold announced the successful commissioning of the Fekola mill expansion, ahead of the scheduled date of Sep 30, 2020. The mine expansion is likely to increase Fekola's processing throughput significantly by 1.5 million tons per annum (Mtpa) to 7.5 Mtpa. The mill now has the potential to run above the annualized throughput rate of 7.5 Mtpa.
The company continues to maintain impressive financial position and liquidity. For the remaining period of the current year, B2Gold anticipates to generate cash flows from operating activities of more than $900 million, factoring in a gold price of $1,900 per ounce. The company is now debt-free after fully repaying the outstanding revolving credit facility of $425 million during the September-end quarter with available undrawn credit capacity of $600 million.
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