Consolidated gold production in the second quarter of 2015 was another quarterly record of 121,566 ounces, representing an increase of 42% over the same period last year and 3,437 ounces above budget. The increased gold production was primarily attributable to the continued strong ramp-up in production at the new Otjikoto Mine, as well as increased production from both the Masbate and Limon Mines. On February 28, 2015, the new Otjikoto Mine in Namibia achieved commercial production, one month ahead of schedule, after a strong start-up following its first gold pour on December 11, 2014.
In the second quarter of 2015, consolidated cash operating costs were $677 per ounce, $71 per ounce or 9% below budget and $43 per ounce or 6% below the second quarter of 2014. The favourable variances against budget and prior year actual costs mainly reflect the continued ramp up of the low-cost Otjikoto Mine, including the benefit of a weakening Namibian/USD exchange rate, lower fuel and energy costs across all operations, other consumables cost savings and higher than budgeted throughput and recoveries at the Masbate Mine during the quarter. These were partially offset by higher cash operating costs at the Libertad Mine due to lower than budgeted production in the second quarter of 2015.All-in sustaining cash costs for the second quarter of 2015 were $1,056 per ounce compared to $1,391 per ounce for the second quarter of 2014.
Consolidated gold production for the half-year was a record 237,425 ounces (including 18,815 ounces of pre-commercial production from Otjikoto), an increase of 30% over the same period in 2014 and 4,191 ounces greater than budget. As previously reported, 2015 consolidated gold production is anticipated to be weighted to the second-half of the year, due to a number of factors including the continued ramp-up of gold production at Otjikoto as well as higher budgeted grades at all operations in the latter half of the year. The Company remains on track to meet its 2015 annual production guidance.
In the first-half of 2015, consolidated cash operating costs were $688 per ounce, $62 per ounce or 8% below budget and $13 per ounce or 2% higher than in the first-half of 2014. Consolidated cash operating costs are forecast to be lower in the second-half of 2015 compared to the first-half of the year, as gold production increases. All-in sustaining cash costs for the six months ended June 30, 2015 were $1,072 per ounce compared to $1,205 per ounce for the comparable period of 2014.
B2Gold is projecting another record year for gold production in 2015. Company-wide production in 2015 from the newly constructed Otjikoto Mine, and the Masbate, La Libertad and Limon Mines is expected to be in the range of 500,000 to 540,000 ounces of gold (including pre-commercial production from Otjikoto), an increase of approximately 35% over 2014 production. Consolidated cash operating costs are expected to be between $630 and $660 per ounce, compared to $680 per ounce in 2014, and all-in sustaining costs are expected to be between $950 and $1,025 per ounce. The substantial increase in the Company’s consolidated gold production and reduction in consolidated cash operating costs per ounce reflect the positive impact of lower operating costs at the Company’s mines and new production from the Company’s low-cost Otjikoto Mine. For the second-half of 2015, consolidated gold production is expected to be in the range of 275,000 to 295,000 ounces.
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