B2Gold Corp. achieved first gold pour at its Fekola gold mine in Mali on Oct. 7, about three months ahead of schedule.
The company said Oct. 11 that it expects commercial production at the Fekola mine by the end of this year and expects output of between 50,000 and 55,000 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter.
In 2018, the mine's first full year of production, B2Gold expects between 400,000 and 410,000 ounces of output.
Production from the Fekola mine is expected to result in an over 70% increase in the company's total production for 2018, it said.
Following a revised life-of-mine plan, the company expects average output of 345,000 ounces of gold per year at Fekola over a shorter 10-year mine life, including 400,000 ounces per year in the first three years of production.
Additionally, the company's believes that there is significant potential to increase the mine life of Fekola through further exploration drilling.
The ongoing C$15 million exploration drill program at Fekola and surrounding areas is focused on resources outlined immediately below the Fekola reserve boundary, which can potentially add up to 900,000 ounces to reserves with further infill drilling, B2Gold said.