B2Gold has started commercial production at the Fekola mine in Mali ahead of the schedule outlined in the optimised feasibility study (OFS).
The company indicated that gold production in each of the ramp-up months remained above the estimates in the OFS design.
Until the end of last month, the mine produced around 80,000oz of gold, which represents around 158% above budget estimate of 31,000oz.
B2Gold raised gold production forecast from the mine for this year to between 100,000oz and 110,000oz, up from the original guidance of 45,000oz-55,000oz.
The company expects to realise consolidated gold production for this year to be between 580,000oz and 625,000oz, according to updates to its current year guidance and long-term mine plans.
The consolidated gold production for next year is anticipated to be between 925,000oz and 975,000oz, marking a 58% rise over this year.
Fekola is expected to produce an average of 345,000oz per annum over the initial ten-years based on the life of mine (LoM) plan.
The company’s exploration programme in the Fekola area determined that additional drilling could extend the main deposit to the north.
It was discovered through the drilling campaign covering the Anaconda, Adder and Mamba zones, that three mineralised bedrock zones were present, with potential for Fekola-style mineralised zones.
Currently, the company is engaged in drilling to further test the Fekola North Extension zone, and infill the Fekola resource.
Additionally, the current drilling exercise is aimed at further testing the new bedrock mineralisation beneath the Anaconda, Adder, and Mamba saprolite resource.
B2Gold intends to undertake additional exploration drilling programmes on these targets next year.