Otjikoto Gold Project increases ore throughput estimate

by Ina King (Potgieter)

The Otjikoto Gold Project, a joint venture between B2Gold (90%) and EVI (10%) located 300 kilometres north of Windhoek in Namibia, has revised its 2015 ore throughput estimate up from 2.5 million tonnes per year to 3 million tonnes per year. The mine has, consequently, also revised its annual gold production from the main Otjikoto pit from approximately 141 000 ounces to about 170 000 ounces when expansion is completed at the end of 2015.

Progress on these developments, as well as key contact details, are regularly updated on the Africa Mining IQ intelligence portal. Companies subscribing to Africa Mining IQ’s e-mail alerts will be among the first to know about new developments, completed expansions and definitive production expectations, when they are announced.

While production at the Otjikoto mine is scheduled to begin in the last quarter of 2014, the upwardly revised throughput and gold production follows on from the positive drill results in the Wolfshag zone, a series of en-echelon stacked, shallow easterly dipping mineralised shoots, which plunge at 10° to 15° to the southwest. There is no indication that the revised estimates will affect the scheduled production dates in any way.

The mine is using leaching and carbon in pulp as its process method to extract the gold. The envisaged increase in production will be attained through the installation of a pebble crusher, additional leach tanks and more mining equipment at a cost of approximately $15 million.

The mining house had planned a capital lease arrangement to fund mobile mining equipment and power plant costs at $60 million, but these have had to be revised. This is due to Namibian regulations governing the securitisation of certain assets. Instead, the mine will now lease only the mobile mining fleet for $41 million with the balance of the power plant costs being funded from the company’s existing cash flow and credit facilities. Leasing finance for the mining fleet is expected to be fully drawn and utilised by the end of 2014 or early in 2015.

For the balance of the project, much remains the same for the time being with mine construction remaining on time and within budget. Its pre-development cost estimate of $244 million and deferred stripping estimates of $33 million remain in-line with the original pre-feasibility study estimates.

All investment opportunities for this mining project, and many others, are available for viewing on Africa Mining IQ. With over 1 850 projects in Africa currently listed on its online database, Africa Mining IQ organises projects in terms of grassroots, pre-feasibility, feasibility, bankable, active, operational and dormant phases. Mining projects in Namibia include 24 uranium, 22 copper, 11 gold, 10 industrial, 8 diamond and 6 iron ore. There are also a number of listings for lead, manganese, phosphate, rare earth minerals, tin and zinc mining projects.

Namibia is located in the western part of southern Africa and the Otjikoto Gold Project benefits significantly from the country’s well-established infrastructure incorporating paved highways, railway network, power grids and process water close to site. Since 2006, uranium mining in Namibia has seen the country become the sixth largest uranium producer in the world, and its diamond mines produce about 2% of the world’s total diamond supply, ranking the country the eighth-highest global diamond producer.

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