New mining contractor ups development rates at Otjikoto
Development ore is now expected in the third quarter of 2022 and stope ore production will commence in the fourth quarter of 2022. The Otjikoto mine produced about 31,417 ounces of gold in the second quarter of 2022, 2,027 ounces (6%) below budget.
According to a statement by B2Gold the lower than budgeted gold production in the second quarter of 2022 was due to a slower than planned ramp-up in development of the Wolfshag Underground mine, resulting in lower than budgeted mined grade.
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 ounces of gold (original guidance range was between 175,000 and 185,000 ounces of gold). As expected, compared to the second quarter of 2021, gold production was higher by 17% (4,526 ounces) due to significant waste stripping operations at both the Wolfshag and Otjikoto pits in the first half of 2021.
For the second quarter of 2022, mill feed grade was 1.17 g/t compared to budget of 1.25 g/t and 0.99 g/t in the second quarter of 2021; mill throughput was 0.85 million tonnes compared to budget of 0.85 million tonnes and 0.86 million tonnes in the second quarter of 2021; and gold recovery averaged 98.4% compared to budget of 98.0% and 97.8% in the second quarter of 2021.
Processed grade was lower than budget in the second quarter of 2022 due to delays in the development of the Wolfshag Underground mine and higher compared to the second quarter of 2021 due to significant waste stripping at both the Wolfshag and Otjikoto pits in the first half of 2021.
For the first half of 2022, the Otjikoto Mine produced 66,478 ounces of gold, in line with budget and 33% (16,545 ounces) higher than the first half of 2021.
The Otjikoto Mine is now expected to produce between 165,000 and 175,000 ounces of gold in 2022, with cash operating costs of between USD740 and USD780 per ounce and AISC of between USD1,120 and USD1,160 per ounce.
For the second half of 2022, Otjikoto’s gold production is expected to increase significantly to between 100,000 and 105,000 ounces. Based mainly on the weighting of the planned production and timing of pre-stripping, Otjikoto’s cash operating costs are expected to be between USD960 and USD1,000 per ounce in the first half of 2022, before significantly improving to between USD620 and USD660 per ounce during the second half of 2022.
In addition, Otjikoto’s AISC are expected to be between USD1,460 and USd1,500 per ounce in the first half of 2022, before significantly improving to between USD930 and USD970 per ounce during the second half of 2022.
WhyAfrica visited the Otjiokoto mine earlier this month as part of the WhyAfrica Southern Africa Road Trip.
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Leon Louw is the founder and editor of WhyAfrica. He specialises in natural resources and African affairs.
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