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B2Gold Q3 gold output surges 78% YOY, on track to meet FY'18 guidance

B2Gold Corp.'s consolidated gold production in the third quarter jumped 78% year over year to a quarterly record of 242,040 ounces, from 135,628 ounces last year, according to an Oct. 11 release.

As a result, the company said it expects to meet the upper end of its revised gold production guidance of between 920,000 and 960,000 ounces. Its year-to-date consolidated output currently stands at 721,817 ounces.

The surge was sparked by the strong performances of the Fekola mine in Mali, the Masbate mine in the Philippines, and the Otjikoto mine in Namibia.

Fekola produced 107,002 ounces of gold, 2% above budget, as it is running above plan on mill throughput and recoveries.

Meanwhile, Masbate booked its second-highest quarterly production ever at 57,542 ounces of gold, thanks to higher-than-expected oxide ore tonnage and grade from the Colorado pit. This prompted the company to lift its guidance for the mine to between 200,000 and 210,000 ounces of gold, from between 180,000 and 190,000 ounces of gold.

Otjikoto's gold output reached 42,403 ounces to exceed the budget by 4%, mainly due to higher-than-expected mill throughput.

Due to the political unrest in Nicaragua, B2Gold decided to further lower its guidance for the under-performing La Libertad mine to between 90,000 and 95,000 ounces of gold, from the original range of between 115,000 and 120,000 ounces of gold. The mine produced 21,995 ounces of gold, or 39% below budget, in the third quarter.

The company, however, chose to maintain its revised guidance for the El Limon mine, also in Nicaragua, of between 50,000 and 55,000 ounces of gold. The mine recorded an output of 13,098 ounces of gold, 16% below budget, in the period.

Meanwhile, consolidated gold revenue rose 110% year over year to US$324 million on record quarterly sales of 268,527 ounces at an average price of US$1,206 per ounce. In the year-ago quarter, the company generated US$154 million on sales of 121,597 ounces at an average price of US$1,267/oz.

The increase was driven by higher gold output and the timing of gold sales made during the opening gold bullion and in-circuit inventories at the beginning of the quarter.