Windhoek — The construction of the Otjikoto mine by B2Gold Namibia is said to be on schedule for the production of gold this year.
The Otjikoto project is executed to inject nearly US$400 million of investment into the country's economy over its present envisaged life of 12 years. B2Gold Namibia's Public relations officer, Gretha du Plessis, yesterday said the excavation at the mill area is complete and a concrete batch plant is in continuous use to assist with the pouring of foundations.
A total of about 15 000 cubic metres of concrete will be poured during the construction project, and a total of 10 500 cubic metres of concrete has been poured to date. Du Plessis added that the mill and mining offices have already been completed by an Otavi contractor, and the construction of all the other administration buildings are progressing well. Most of the equipment and supplies to build the mill area has been purchased and is arriving daily at site. Mill construction activities are progressing well too and 7 500 cubic metres of concrete has been poured in this area, and four leach tanks and three Carbon in Pulp tanks have been erected. The tailings facility is materially complete, this project encompassed 1.5 million cubic meters of earth movement, and included the placement of an impermeable liner to protect the environment. The project team is busy with final quality checks for approval by the engineering team and the project is capturing water to use during start-up of the mill.
To date, the pit area has been de-bushed and stripped. The stripped topsoil from the mine and waste dump is stockpiled so that these areas can be re-vegetated after mine closure. The total volume of material moved from the pit area to date is approximately 4.7 million tonnes.
A construction camp about two kilometres northeast of the mine is operational to accommodate construction workers at the Otjikoto site. It can house up to 800 workers, although a large percentage of the workforce comes from Otavi and Otjiwarongo and are bussed to the site on a daily basis. This camp will only be operational during the construction phase. The Otjikoto gold project is located approximately 300 kilometres north of Windhoek between Otjiwarongo and Otavi and is owned 90 percent by B2Gold and 10 percent by EVI Mining, a Namibian empowerment group. The life of the open pit mine, based on the probable reserves, is estimated to be 12 years, with annual forecast gold production of approximately 141 000 ounces gold per year for the first five years and for the life of mine approximately 112 000 ounces of gold per year. During production the site will require around 480 full-time workers.