Canada-based mining firm B2Gold has commissioned the mill expansion at its flagship Fekola mine in Mali, which will process 7.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of ore.

The commissioning of the mill expansion comes ahead of the scheduled completion date of 30 September 2020.

According to the company, no operational days have been lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic or the recent political developments in the country.

Recently, the mining firm partnered with the Government of Mali to assist the country’s people in facing the challenges created by the pandemic as well as its impact on the mining sector.

The Fekola gold mine is located in south-western Mali on the border between Mali and Senegal. B2Gold owns an 80% stake in the site, while the remaining interest is with the State of Mali.

Construction of the gold project started in February 2015, and was successfully completed in September 2017. First gold pour was achieved in October 2017, and the project achieved commercial production in November 2017.

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The Fekola mine produced 111,450oz of gold in 2017.

In July, B2Gold reported that it produced 239,574 ounces (oz) of gold in the second quarter this year (Q2 2020), which is an increase of 15% over the same quarter last year (Q2 2019) and also 3% more than its guidance.

In December 2017, B2Gold started commercial production at the Fekola mine ahead of the schedule outlined in the optimised feasibility study (OFS).