The new SAG mill at B2Gold’s Masbate Gold Project in Masbate Island is now running consistently and performing well. As a result mill throughput in the first quarter was 1,756,234 tonnes, about 10% higher than in the first quarter of 2014.
First quarter production was 46,241 ounces, which was approximately in-line with budget and an increase of about 9% or 3665 ounces over the same period last year.
The average gold grade processed was 1.05 grams/tonne (Q1 2014 - 1.03 grams/tonne) and mill recoveries averaged 78.5% (Q1 2014 - 80.9%). Gold recoveries decreased slightly in the quarter due to the lower proportion of oxide ore in the material processed.
The Masbate mine is projected to produce approximately 170,000 to 180,000 ounces of gold in 2015 at a cash operating cost of approximately $740 to $775 per ounce.
B2Gold is projecting another record year for gold production in 2015. Company-wide production in 2015 from the newly constructed Otjikoto mine in Namibia, and the Masbate, La Libertad and Limon mines, both in Nicaragua, is expected to be in the range of 500,000 to 540,000 ounces of gold.