TriStar Gold

B2Gold Corp. Completes Mill Construction at Fekola Mine in Southwestern Mali; Announces Expanded and Updated Mine Plan

Vancouver, British Columbia--(Newsfile Corp. - September 25, 2017) - B2Gold Corp. (TSX: BTO) (NYSE AMERICAN: BTG) (NSX: B2G) ("B2Gold" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that the Company has completed construction of the Fekola mill and commenced ore processing, more than three months ahead of schedule and on budget, at the Fekola Mine.

Gold is now in the circuit and the first gold pour is anticipated by mid-October 2017. The Company expects to achieve commercial production and produce between 50,000 to 55,000 ounces of gold by the end of 2017. In addition, the Company announces it has completed a new Life of Mine ("LoM") plan for the Fekola deposit that projects higher mill throughput and annual gold production, and lower projected operating costs per ounce and all-in sustaining costs ("AISC") per ounce of gold than the original (4 million tonnes per annum ("MTPA")) plan in the Optimized Feasibility Study ("OFS"). The new LoM plan was completed based on the expanded 5 MTPA mill throughput and takes into account an early start-up, increased processing throughput, and improved open-pit design and scheduling versus the OFS (see table below).

New Fekola LoM Plan Highlights:

A comparison of the OFS and LoM is as follows:


(June 2015)

New LoM — 5 MTPA
(September 2017)

  LoM Gold Production (million ounces)



  LoM (years)



  Gold Production: LoM ('000 ounces)



  Gold Production: Years 1-3 ('000 ounces)



  Gold Production: Years 1-7 ('000 ounces)



  Operating Cash Cost: LoM (US$/oz)



  Operating Cash Cost: Years 1-3 (US$/oz)



  Operating Cash Cost: Years 1-7 (US$/oz)



  AISC: LoM (US$/oz)



  AISC: Years 1-3 (US$/oz)



  AISC: Years 1-7 (US$/oz)



  • No material change to Feasibility Mineral Reserves with the new resource model, pit and phase designs, and production plan. The contained Mineral Reserve remains 3.34 million ounces2 contained in 43.8 million tonnes at an average grade of 2.37g/t
  • No material change to mining production or fleet size
  • Processing throughput increased to 5 Mtpa vs. 4 Mtpa in the OFS
  • Significant upside in mine life and ounces produced exists within current resource, with further potential as adjacent and other targets are developed

1Gold production, cash operating costs and AISC are presented on an average annual basis
2Mineral Reserves are reported on a 90% attributable basis

The Fekola Project has been built using the same construction team that had previously completed four gold mines, on schedule and on budget, for B2Gold's predecessor company (Bema Gold Corporation) and B2Gold. Prior to construction, the Company recognized the exploration potential beyond the initial reserves and decided to build the Fekola mill with a 25% design capacity to allow for future expansion of the mill throughput from 4 MTPA to 5 MTPA for an additional expenditure of approximately $18 million. Due to the success of the Fekola Mine construction (more than three months ahead of schedule and on budget) and further exploration success at Fekola, the Company decided to expedite the expansion and complete it during the construction phase rather than post construction. The Fekola Project remains on budget; total cumulative forecast construction costs for the project (from inception to completion) include pre-construction sunk costs of approximately $41 million, feasibility study construction costs of $462 million and $18 million additional costs for the mill expansion to 5 MTPA. Additionally, another $20 million is expected to be spent on relocating the village of Fadougou.

In 2018, the Fekola Mine is now projected to produce between 400,000 and 410,000 ounces of gold at an operating cost of approximately $354 and AISC of $609 per ounce of gold.


B2Gold's exploration team believes the expansive Fekola property has the potential to host additional large Fekola-style gold deposits. Surface exploration, regional drilling and geophysics to date have identified numerous targets.

The Company has drilled approximately 2,800 aircore, reverse circulation and diamond drill holes totalling 180,000 metres. Approximately 75% of the drilling has focused on exploration drilling with the remainder on in-fill drilling. Based on the successful results to date, the Fekola Mine and regional exploration budgets for 2017 have been increased by $3.8 million to $15.4 million.

The resource identified to date from drilling below and to the north of the Fekola reserve boundary combined with the near-pit portion of the Kiwi zone (to the north) could add 900,000 ounces (2/3 in the indicated category) and is being further drilled to potentially move resources from the inferred category into the measured and indicated categories. Drilling further to the north of the reserve pit boundary has identified additional gold mineralization near surface and in some deeper holes. This indicates the potential to increase the gold resources and ultimately expand the planned Fekola reserves further to the north.

Deeper below the Kiwi zone is the down-plunge extension of the main Fekola ore body. Drilling in this zone (Fekola Deeps) has intercepted Fekola-type gold grades over large intervals. If the on-going drilling between the near surface Kiwi zone and Fekola Deeps continues to encounter good grade gold mineralization, there is the potential for the Fekola pit to ultimately become much larger to exploit both the Kiwi zone and a portion of Fekola Deeps by open pit. The Fekola Deeps zone remains open further to the north further down dip and has the potential to be exploited by underground mining.

The Company anticipates another large exploration budget (approximately $15 million) for Fekola in 2018, for in-fill drilling, further exploration drilling at the Kiwi and Fekola Deeps zones and regional exploration. The Company anticipates announcing results from the 2017 drilling program in November 2017.

Update on the Fekola Shareholder Agreement and Mining Convention

In 2016, pursuant to applicable mining law, the Company formed a new 100% owned subsidiary company, Fekola SA, which now holds the Company's interest in the Fekola Project. Upon signing of a shareholder's agreement between the Company and the State of Mali (the "Fekola Shareholder Agreement"), the Company will contribute a 10% free carried interest in Fekola SA to the State of Mali. The State of Mali also has the option to purchase an additional 10% of Fekola SA which it has confirmed its intent to exercise. The Company has signed a mining convention in the form required under the 2012 Mining Code (the "Fekola Convention") that relates to, among other things, the ownership, permitting, reclamation bond requirements, development, operation and taxation applicable to the Fekola Project with the State of Mali. The Company recently finalized certain additional agreements with the State of Mali including the Fekola Shareholders Agreement and an amendment to the Fekola Mining convention to address and clarify certain issues under the 2012 Mining Code. The Fekola Mining Convention, as amended, will govern the procedural and economic parameters pursuant to which the Company will operate the Fekola Project.

About B2Gold Corp.

Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, B2Gold Corp. is one of the fastest-growing intermediate gold producers in the world. Founded in 2007, today, B2Gold has five operating mines (four in production and one in pre-production), and numerous exploration and development projects in various countries including Finland, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Namibia, Mali and Burkina Faso.

Based on current assumptions and updates to B2Gold's current year guidance and long-term mine plans, the Company is projecting consolidated gold production in 2017 of between 530,000 and 570,000 ounces (including estimated pre-commercial production from the Fekola Mine of between 50,000 and 55,000 ounces); and in 2018, significantly increasing to between 925,000 and 975,000 ounces, with the inclusion of the anticipated first full-year of commercial production at Fekola.


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