Drilling also continues on the Bantako North permit which, together with the Menankoto permit, includes the Anaconda resource area, located 20 kilometers from Fekola.
This year, B2Gold will continue to drill to infill and expand the existing saprolite resource of 21.6 million tonnes at 1.11 g/t for 770,000 ounces for the Anaconda area.
It will also track sulphide mineralization in the Anaconda area, including Mamba, Adder and several other targets below saprolite mineralization.
The good combinations of grade and width in the Anaconda area continue to provide a strong indication of the potential for Fekola-style south-dipping sulphide mineralization bodies that remain open at depth beneath the saprolite, the company said.
Preliminary planning by B2Gold has demonstrated that a pit located in the Anaconda area could provide saprolite material to be trucked and fed into the Fekola plant from late 2022, subject to approval. obtaining all necessary permits and completing a final mine plan.
The company has budgeted $33 million in 2022 to facilitate Phase 1 saprolite mining in the Anaconda region.
An updated mineral resource estimate based on the results of the extensive 2020 and 2021 infill drilling and exploration program is expected in the first quarter.
Concurrently, B2Gold also announced an updated and significantly increased mineral resource estimate for the Cardinal-FMZ deposits, located approximately 500 meters from the Fekola resource pit.
Last year, B2Gold continued exploration of the Cardinal Zone as part of its $27 million exploration program in Mali. Fekola’s exploration and mine geology teams have completed over 50,000 meters of RC and diamond drilling to convert inferred mineral resources to the indicated category.
The Cardinal Zone now has an initial indicated resource estimate of 8 million tonnes at 1.67 g/t for 430,000 ounces of gold, and an updated inferred resource estimate of 19 million tonnes at 1.21 g /t for 740,000 ounces of gold, confined in a conceptual pit, is running at $1,800 per ounce of gold.
The oxide mineralization within the updated indicated resource, which is currently being mined, is a low-cost feedstock for the Fekola mine, with approximately 50,000 ounces expected to be produced from the Cardinal zone in 2022.
Going forward, it has the potential to add an average of about 60,000 ounces per year of sulphide mineralization over the next 6 to 8 years to Fekola’s annual gold production, B2Gold said.
Gold mineralization in the Cardinal Zone extends 3.5 kilometers along strike and intersects up to 350 meters vertically below surface, with mineralization remaining open at depth and at depth.