Processing at B2Gold’s Masbate gold operations on Masbate Island has resumed after minor leaks in the process plant tailings line were observed leading to a suspension of operations from June 5. Subsequent measurement led to steel line replacement before operations recommenced on June 22.
B2Gold officials said previously gold production was 1800 ounces ahead of forecasts for the quarter but due to the suspension, second quarter production was now estimated at 7000 gold ounces less than forecast. This production loss will be offset with a mining sequence modification that had been in prior development, centred on the Colorado Pit. B2Gold guidance for the year, at 175,000 to 185,000 ounces of gold, is thus unaffected.
The company says tailings line discharge was minimal, totalling less than 100 cubic metres of slurry with leakage contained within an emergency pond and ditch adjacent to the line. Pipe repairs and clean-up activities were undertaken immediately. Extensive environmental monitoring was conducted during and after the incident, with no impacts detected. Monitoring will continue as the plant is restarted.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, including the offices of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and Environmental Management Bureau, were informed and representatives from both offices visited the site. No significant variations were required. Officials and nearby residents of the adjacent Barangay were also notified and made aware of all remedial actions that were to be taken.
Causal investigations, including ultrasonic testing, indicated premature internal pipeline wear. Replacement proceeded 24 hours a day and is now complete. Before processing recommencement, the pipeline was hydrostatically tested over 24 hours to ensure system integrity.