B2Gold and AngloGold Ashanti have signed an agreement to amend ownership and management of the Gramalote gold project in Colombia.

Under the agreement, B2Gold will sole fund an investment and exploration programme next year to the value of $13.9m on the Gramalote project.

The funding will give B2Gold 50% ownership interest in the joint venture, in which the company currently owns 48.3% interest. AngloGold owns the remaining 51.7%.

AngloGold and B2Gold will receive equal interest as per the amended terms. B2Gold will start an immediate transition to become the Gramalote JV manager by the end of this year.

B2Gold chief executive Clive Johnson said: “We believe the Gramalote project has the potential to become a low-cost open pit gold mine.

“The project has several key infrastructure advantages, including reliable water supply, close proximity to key infrastructure and a technically capable workforce in the country.”

Subject to definitive documentation expected to be completed by year-end, the agreement will provide additional momentum to the Gramalote project.

B2Gold and AngloGold have also agreed on a budget of up to $40m to carry out the feasibility study on the Gramalote project for the remainder of this year and through the end of next year.

The funding will be used for 42,500m of infill drilling and 7,645m of geotechnical drilling for site infrastructure.

Complete drilling is expected to conclude by the end of May.

The budget will also fund feasibility work, including detailed mine planning, additional environmental studies, metallurgical test work, engineering and economic analysis.

The Gramalote project, which is located 230km north-west of Bogota and 80km north-east of Medellin in central Colombia, has the potential to become a large low-cost open-pit gold mine, subject to completion of infill drilling and a final feasibility study.