B2Gold is undertaking an aggressive Can$11 million exploration campaign at its recently acquired Masbate Gold Project with eight drill rigs working.
The 2013 program comprises reserve/resource drilling on numerous mine veins including Main Vein, Colorado, Panique and Montana as well as exploration drilling designed to outline new resources on near-mine veins such as Pajo and the high-grade Montana North vein.
Exploration drilling is also planned for the Bart Ag and Balete veins 12km southeast of the operating mine. In addition to drilling, geochemical sampling and follow-up trenching will be carried out on a number of priority target areas outside the current resource.
High grade gold mineralization was recently intersected on the Montana North vein 200 metres northwest of the current resource. One hole intersected 9.0 metres true width grading 24.43 grams/tonne gold. The vein is open to the northwest and plans are under way to step-out drill this new target.
B2Gold has completed its merger with previous Masbate project owner CGA Mining and now has operations in the Philippines as well as its Limon and La Libertad gold mines in Nicaragua.
Masbate is a low sulphidation epithermal vein system with a tenement which covers 16km of very prospective ground with well-defined vein systems. CGA acquired an interest in Masbate in March 2007 and it is now the largest operating gold project in the Philippines. It was developed by CGA in less than 2 years from acquisition, having first poured gold on May 12, 2009.
The project is on Masbate Island about 350km south of Manila. It can be accessed by a daily commercial airline service to Masbate city with a population of 350,000 and a 70km drive on partially sealed road. Alternate access from Masbate city is via a 1 hour boat ride. The site is equipped with a barge loading jetty where equipment and consumables can be delivered and offloaded.
B2Gold is well positioned to operate and progress further development at Masbate given its strong funding capacity and a management team with significant exploration, mine development and operating experience. With the addition of Masbate, B2Gold expects to produce about 385,000 ounces of gold in 2013 and about 400,000 ounces in 2014.
Further, the combined company will possess a strong growth profile through its Otjikoto project in Namibia and its Gramalote joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti in Colombia. Based on current assumptions the company is projecting annual gold production to grow to more than 700,000 ounces by 2017 assuming development of Otjikoto and Gramalote.