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B2Gold backs out of option deal with Arena Minerals

B2GoldCorp. backed out of an option agreement with , notifying thelatter that it does not intend to complete its spending commitments for theexploration of Arena's Cerro Barco and Pampa Paciencia properties, within thelarger Atacamacopper project in Chile.

Arena said July 13 that B2Gold is required to pay about C$2 millionin shares and C$312,000 in cash by July 26 for canceling the option agreement.

The parties signed the option agreement in February 2015, givingB2Gold the option to acquire up to a 60% interest in the properties bycompleting a total of about US$23.6 million in exploration expenditures andcash payments over a specific period.

According to Arena, the Cerro Barco and Pampa Pacienciaproperties were not high-priority areas for B2Gold.

Through B2Gold's exploration efforts, an epithermal systemthat remains open at depth and on strike was discovered at the Pampa Pacienciagold-silver project, while the Cerro Barco target remains undrilled.

Arena plans to compile the results of B2Gold's explorationand to undertake additional follow-up work, if warranted. The company will alsoreview its alternatives for the properties, including further work or jointventure deals, among others.