The on-boarding of Byrnecut Offshore at B2Gold’s Otjikoto Mine has resulted in development rates in the Wolfshag Underground mine recovering, the Canada-based company said in its recently-released June quarter results.
Otjikoto produced 31,417 oz of gold in this quarter of 2022, 2,027 oz below budget, with the lower-than-budgeted gold production due to a slower than planned ramp-up in development of Wolfshag.
The company recently appointed Byrnecut as its new underground mining contractor as part of a $112 million contract. The agreement consists of both development and production, including a total of 10 km of development and a total material movement of 3.2 Mt.
The underground fleet at Wolfshag is mainly from Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions and currently consists of one DD422i DC jumbo, one DD422i jumbo, two LH517i loaders, three TH551 trucks and a DL432i production drill rig.
B2Gold said development rates in the Wolfshag Underground mine recovered in the recent three-month period, with development ore now expected in the September quarter and stope ore production commencing in the December quarter.
“As a result of this change in ore production timing, the 2022 annual production guidance range for Otjikoto has been revised to between 165,000 and 175,000 oz of gold (original guidance range was between 175,000 and 185,000 oz of gold),” the company said.
As expected, compared with the June quarter of 2021, gold production was 17% higher due to significant waste stripping operations at both the Wolfshag and Otjikoto pits in the first half of 2021.
The initial underground mineral reserve estimate for the down-plunge extension of the Wolfshag deposit includes 210,000 oz of gold in 1.2 Mt of ore at 5.57 g/t Au.