Canada-based gold miner B2Gold has commenced the process to close its Otjikoto gold mine in Namibia due to depleted resources, reported Reuters.

Commissioned in March 2015, the Otjikoto open-pit mine produced 161,614oz of gold in 2022.

The company was cited by the news agency as saying: “B2Gold Namibia has commenced with the implementation of its phased mine closure plan at the Otjikoto mine.

“The phased downscaling of operations, in line with the closure plan, is only scheduled to commence during the first quarter of 2024.”

As part of the mine’s phased closure plan, the company consulted with the mine’s workers who would be likely be affected by the decision.

The company said the job cuts at the mine, which currently has 942 permanent employees, would be determined by the ramp-down schedule.

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By GlobalData

B2Gold is planning to end the mine’s economically viable operations including low-grade stock processing in 2031.

By 2024, output at the mine is expected to be reduced to 50% of production capacity, marking the end of open-pit viability.

The Canadian miner, however, plans to continue with the development of the Otjikoto underground mine to replace gold ounces from the open-pit operations.

Furthermore, B2Gold is in the process of acquiring Canada-based exploration and development company Sabina Gold & Silver in an $897.5m (C$1.2bn) all-share deal.

Sabina Gold & Silver shareholders recently approved B2Gold’s proposed acquisition of the company.

B2Gold also has operations in the Philippines and Mali. It owns exploration projects in Uzbekistan, Finland and Colombia.