B2Gold and AngloGold Ashanti to Amend Ownership and Management of the Gramalote Project, Colombia
16 September 2019
VANCOUVER, Sept. 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ - B2Gold Corp. (TSX: BTO, NYSE AMERICAN: BTG, NSX: B2G) ("B2Gold" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that the Company and AngloGold Ashanti Limited ("AngloGold") have agreed in principle to terms relating to the parties' respective ownership percentages and future management of the joint venture on the Gramalote gold project in Colombia. The companies have agreed that B2Gold will sole fund the next $13.9 million of expenditures on the Gramalote Project (the "Sole Fund Amount"), following which B2Gold will hold a 50% ownership interest in the joint venture (B2Gold currently holds a 48.3% interest). Under the amended terms, AngloGold and B2Gold will each hold a 50% interest and B2Gold will start an immediate transition to become manager of the Gramalote joint venture by the end of 2019, conditional upon the parties entering into an amended and restated shareholders agreement. The parties will continue to have equal representation on the joint venture management committee. Following the expenditure of the Sole Fund Amount, each joint venture partner will fund its share of expenditures pro rata.
B2Gold and AngloGold have also agreed on a budget for the feasibility study on the Gramalote Project up to $40 million for the remainder of 2019 and through the end of 2020. This budget will fund 42,500 metres of infill drilling and 7,645 metres of geotechnical drilling for site infrastructure. The Company currently expects to complete all drilling by the end of May 2020. In addition, the budget will fund feasibility work including an updated mineral resource, detailed mine planning, additional environmental studies, metallurgical test work, engineering and detailed economic analysis.
The Company expects that the Gramalote joint venture will continue to advance resettlement programs, establish coexistence programs for small miners, work on health, safety and environmental projects and will continue to work with government and local communities on social programs. B2Gold, as manager, plans to continue the feasibility work into 2020 with the goal of completing a final feasibility study by December 31, 2020. Due to the extensive testing programs that have been completed and the high level of engineering performed in 2017 for an internal pre-feasibility study, the engineering work remaining to get to final feasibility is not extensive. The main work program for feasibility is infill drilling to confirm and upgrade the Inferred Mineral Resources to Indicated status.
The Gramalote Project is located 230 kilometres ("km") northwest of Bogota and 80 km northeast of Medellin in central Colombia. Based on the recent remodeling of the Gramalote geologic resource, the Company believes that the Gramalote Project has the potential, subject to completion of infill drilling scheduled to commence in November 2019 and a final feasibility study expected by the end of 2020, to become a large low-cost open pit gold mine. The Gramalote Project has several key infrastructure advantages, including:
- Reliable water supply – high rainfall region
- Adjacent to a national highway, which connects to a major river and seaports
- Proximity to the national electricity grid with ample low-cost power and stable record of hydroelectric power
- Technically capable workforce within Colombia
The Environmental Impact Study and Project Implementation Plans for the Gramalote Project have been fully approved by the National Authority of Environmental Licenses of Colombia. Due to the desired modifications to the processing plant and infrastructure locations, a Modified Environment Impact Study and a Modified Project Implementation plan were submitted and are currently in the final approval process. If the final economics of the feasibility study are positive and the joint venture makes the decision to develop Gramalote as an open-pit gold mine, B2Gold would utilize its proven internal mine construction team to build the mine and mill facilities.
Tom Garagan, Senior Vice President of Exploration for B2Gold, has acted as the qualified person as defined in National Instrument 43-101 for this disclosure and supervised the preparation of the technical information in this news release.
Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, B2Gold Corp. is the world's new senior gold producer. Founded in 2007, today, B2Gold has five operating gold mines and numerous exploration and development projects in various countries including Nicaragua, the Philippines, Namibia, Mali, Burkina Faso and Colombia.
In 2019, based on current assumptions, consolidated gold production is forecast to be between 935,000 and 975,000 ounces with cash operating costs projected to be between $520 and $560 per ounce and all-in sustaining costs projected to be between $835 and $875 per ounce.
ON BEHALF OF B2GOLD CORP.
"Clive T. Johnson"
President and Chief Executive Officer
For more information on B2Gold please visit the Company website at www.b2gold.com or contact:
Vice President, Investor Relations
Manager, Investor Relations & Public Relations
The Toronto Stock Exchange and the NYSE American LLC neither approve nor disapprove the information contained in this news release.
This news release includes certain "forward-looking information" and "forward-looking statements" (collectively "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable Canadian and United States securities legislation, including projections, estimates and other statements regarding future financial and operational performance, events, production, costs, including projected cash operating costs and AISC, capital expenditures, budgets and growth, production estimates and guidance; and statements regarding anticipated exploration, development, construction, production, permitting and other activities and achievements of the Company, including but not limited to: the conversion of inferred mineral resources to indicated mineral resources; the projections included in existing technical reports, economic assessments and feasibility studies; the results of anticipated or potential new technical reports and studies, including the potential findings and conclusions thereof. Estimates of mineral resources and reserves are also forward-looking statements because they constitute projections regarding the amount of minerals that may be encountered in the future and/or the anticipated economics of production, should a production decision be made. All statements in this news release that address events or developments that we expect to occur in the future are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, although not always, identified by words such as "expect", "plan", "anticipate", "project", "target", "potential", "schedule", "forecast", "budget", "estimate", "intend" or "believe" and similar expressions or their negative connotations, or that events or conditions "will", "would", "may", "could", "should" or "might" occur. All such forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management as of the date such statements are made. Forward-looking statements necessarily involve assumptions, risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond B2Gold's control, including risks and assumptions associated with the volatility of metal prices and our common shares; risks and dangers inherent in exploration, development and mining activities; uncertainty of reserve and resource estimates; risk of not achieving production, cost or other estimates; risk that actual production, development plans and costs differ materially from the estimates in our feasibility studies; risks related to hedging activities and ore purchase commitments; the ability to obtain and maintain any necessary permits, consents or authorizations required for mining activities; risks related to environmental regulations or hazards and compliance with complex regulations associated with mining activities; the ability to replace mineral reserves and identify acquisition opportunities; unknown liabilities of companies acquired by B2Gold; ability to successfully integrate new acquisitions; fluctuations in exchange rates; availability of financing; risks relating to financing and debt; risks related to operations in foreign and developing countries and compliance with foreign laws; risks related to remote operations and the availability of adequate infrastructure, fluctuations in price and availability of energy and other inputs necessary for mining operations; shortages or cost increases in necessary equipment, supplies and labour; regulatory, political and country risks; risks related to reliance upon contractors, third parties and joint venture partners; challenges to title or surface rights; dependence on key personnel and ability to attract and retain skilled personnel; the risk of an uninsurable or uninsured loss; adverse climate and weather conditions; litigation risk; competition with other mining companies; changes in tax laws; community support for our operations including risks related to strikes and the halting of such operations from time to time; risks related to failures of information systems or information security threats; ability to maintain adequate internal control over financial reporting as required by law; risks relating to compliance with anti-corruption laws; as well as other factors identified and as described in more detail under the heading "Risk Factors" in B2Gold's most recent Annual Information Form and B2Gold's other filings with Canadian securities regulators and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), which may be viewed at www.sedar.com and www.sec.gov, respectively (the "Websites"). The list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect the Company's forward-looking statements. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that any events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will transpire or occur, or if any of them do, what benefits or liabilities B2Gold will derive therefrom. The Company's forward-looking statements reflect current expectations regarding future events and operating performance and speak only as of the date hereof and the Company does not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's beliefs, expectations or opinions should change other than as required by applicable law. The Company's forward-looking statements are based on the applicable assumptions and factors management considers reasonable as of the date hereof, based on the information available to management at such time. These assumptions and factors include, but are not limited to, assumptions and factors related to the Company's ability to carry on current and future operations, including development and exploration activities; the timing, extent, duration and economic viability of such operations, including any mineral resources or reserves identified thereby; the accuracy and reliability of estimates, projections, forecasts, studies and assessments; the Company's ability to meet or achieve estimates, projections and forecasts; the availability and cost of inputs; the price and market for outputs, including gold; the timely receipt of necessary approvals or permits; the ability to meet current and future obligations; the ability to obtain timely financing on reasonable terms when required; the current and future social, economic and political conditions and other assumptions and factors generally associated with the mining industry. For the reasons set forth above, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements.
Cautionary Note to United States Investors
The Company has prepared its public disclosures in accordance with Canadian securities laws, which differ in certain respects from U.S. securities laws. In particular, this news release may refer to "mineral resources", "measured mineral resources", "indicated mineral resources" or "inferred mineral resources". While these categories of mineralization are recognized and required by Canadian securities laws, they are not recognized by the SEC and are not normally permitted to be disclosed in SEC filings by U.S. companies. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that any part of a "mineral resource", "measured mineral resource", "indicated mineral resource" or "inferred mineral resource" will ever be converted into a "reserve." In addition, "reserves" reported by the Company under Canadian standards may not qualify as reserves under SEC standards. Under SEC standards, mineralization may not be classified as a "reserve" unless the mineralization can be economically and legally extracted or produced at the time the "reserve" determination is made. Accordingly, information contained or referenced in this news release containing descriptions of the Company's mineral deposits may not be compatible to similar information made public by U.S. companies subject to the reporting and disclosure requirements of U.S. federal securities laws, rules and regulations. "Inferred mineral resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Historical results or feasibility models presented herein are not guarantees or expectations of future performance.
SOURCE B2Gold Corp.