VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - B2Gold Corp (TSX:BTO)(NYSE MKT:BTG)(NAMIBIAN:B2G) has announced that it has received approvals for Gold Prepaid Sales Financing Arrangements of up to $120 million and has signed a commitment letter to enter into a Euro equivalent of $81 million term mining Equipment Facility and has increased the size of the Otjikoto Equipment Loan Facility.
On March 14, 2016, B2Gold received approvals for Prepaid Sales Financing Arrangements of up to $120 million from members of its Revolving Credit Facility led by HSBC. The Prepaid Sales, in the form of metal sales forward contracts, allows B2Gold to deliver pre-determined volumes of gold on agreed future delivery dates in exchange for an upfront cash pre-payment.
Gold delivery volumes were determined based on the achievable forward price at the time of execution, net of average all-in-funding costs of 4.00%. The Prepaid Sales Arrangements have a term of 33 months commencing March 2016, and settlement will be in the form of physical deliveries of unallocated gold from any of the Company's mines in 24 equal monthly installments during 2017 and 2018.
Initial Prepaid Sales contracts have been entered into for the delivery of approximately 43,100 ounces of gold in each of 2017 and 2018, for total cash Prepaid Amount proceeds of $100 million. The number of ounces to be delivered was based on an average forward price of $1,248 per ounce of gold. The ounces to be delivered represent approximately 7% and 5% of forecast consolidated gold production in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Proceeds from the Prepaid Sales will be used for the construction of B2Gold's Fekola Project in Mali. B2Gold also expects to enter into additional Prepaid Sales Arrangements totaling $20 million and believes that with the receipt of cumulative cash Prepaid Sales funds of $120 million, closing of the $81 million Fekola Equipment Facility discussed below, and based on current assumptions, that the construction of the Fekola Project is fully funded and remains on schedule to commence gold production in late 2017.
B2Gold has also signed a commitment letter to enter into a Euro equivalent of $81 million term equipment facility with Caterpillar Financial and is to be made available to the Company's majority-owned subsidiary, Fekola S.A. to finance or refinance the mining fleet and other mining equipment at the Fekola Project in Mali. The loan is repayable over 20 equal quarterly installments.
The 2016 construction and development budget for the Fekola Project totals approximately $233 million. In 2016, B2Gold expects to continue to construct the project with work in all major areas and based on current assumptions the Fekola Project remains on schedule to commence production in late 2017.
B2Gold and Caterpillar Financial have also agreed to increase their Otjikoto equipment facility from $4.5 million to $45.4 million which will allow B2Gold Namibia to finance or refinance its mining fleet and equipment at the company's Otjikoto Mine in Namibia.
Based on current assumptions, the Company is projecting gold production in 2016 of between 510,000 to 550,000 ounces, increasing to between 800,000 to 850,000 ounces in 2018.
B2Gold Corp. is a Vancouver based gold producer with four operating mines (one in Namibia, one in the Philippines and two in Nicaragua) and a strong portfolio of development and exploration assets in Mali, Nicaragua, Namibia, Burkina Faso and Colombia.
B2Gold’s strategic focus is to acquire interests in mineral properties with demonstrated potential for hosting gold deposits, to undertake exploration and drilling campaigns to define and develop resources on these properties and to develop, construct and operate mines on such properties.
The Company is also capitalizing on its strong strategic position and balance sheet by evaluating further exploration and acquisition opportunities that fit within its strategic objective of building an intermediate gold company.
Clive T. Johnson - President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Clive Johnson has served as a Director and the President of B2Gold since December 2006 and Chief Executive Officer since March 2007. Mr. Johnson oversees our long-term strategy and development as well as the day-to-day activities of B2Gold. Previously, Mr. Johnson was involved with Bema Gold and its predecessor companies since 1977. Mr. Johnson was appointed the President and Chief Executive Officer of Bema after it was created by the amalgamation of three Bema group companies in 1988. He was a driving force in Bema’s transition from a junior exploration company to an international intermediate gold producer. Mr. Johnson is currently a director of Uracan Resources Ltd. In 2004 Mr. Johnson received the 2004 Viola MacMillan Developer’s Award from the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada and in 2013 he received the Pacific Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Mining and Metals.
Roger Richer - Secretary, Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Roger Richer has served as our Executive Vice President, General Counsel since March 2007 and our Secretary since December 2006. Mr. Richer manages the legal affairs, corporate records and corporate governance of B2Gold. Mr. Richer has over 30 years of experience in mining law, corporate finance and international business transactions and practices. Mr. Richer was with Bema Gold from its inception in 1988 until 2007. Until June 2008, Mr. Richer had also served as the President of Consolidated Puma Minerals Corp., a TSXV listed company. He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Victoria.
Tom Garagan - Senior Vice President of Exploration
Tom Garagan has served as our Senior Vice President of Exploration since March 2007. Mr. Garagan is responsible for all aspects of our exploration, including technical review of new acquisitions. Mr. Garagan is a geologist with over 30 years of experience. Mr. Garagan was with Bema Gold from 1991 to 2007 and was appointed Vice President of Exploration in 1996. He has worked in North and South America, East and West Africa and Russia. He was instrumental in several discoveries, including the Cerro Casale and Kupol deposits. Mr. Garagan currently serves as a director of Uracan Resources Ltd. Mr. Garagan has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in geology from the University of Ottawa.
Dennis Stansbury - Senior Vice President of Engineering and Project Evaluations
Dennis Stansbury has served as our Senior Vice President of Engineering and Project Evaluations (and prior to that our Senior Vice President of Development and Production) since March 2007. Mr. Stansbury is a mining engineer with over 35 years of engineering, construction, production and management experience at surface and underground mines in ten different countries. After working for a number of gold mining companies in South America and the United States, he joined Bema Gold as Vice President South America in 1994 and was appointed Vice President of Development and Production in 1996. Mr. Stansbury has a Bachelor of Science degree in mining engineering from Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology.
Mike Cinnamond - Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer
Michael Cinnamond has served as our Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer since April 1, 2014. Mr. Cinnamond oversees the financial reporting, cash management and tax planning of B2Gold as well as financial compliance and reporting to the regulatory authorities. Prior to joining us, Mr. Cinnamond was an audit partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP where he was the BC Resources Leader for the Mining, Forestry and Energy and Utilities practices. Mr. Cinnamond has 16 years of experience in the mining industry sector. Mr. Cinnamond previously served as the Finance Chair of the Canadian Institute of Mining, and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC. Mr. Cinnamond holds an LL.B designation from the University of Exeter.
Ian Maclean - Vice President of Investor Relations
Ian MacLean began his Investor Relations career in 1996 with Nevsun Resources. In 2001 Mr. MacLean joined Bema as the Manager of Investor Relations and was appointed Vice President Investor Relations in 2006. Mr. MacLean has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
Bill Lytle - Senior Vice President, Operations
Bill Lytle has had more than 15 years experience specializing in providing operational health, safety, environmental, and social assistance during all phases of the mining cycle as well as extensive experience working with international lending institutes such as the IFC. Bill has been involved as a consultant to B2Gold and previously a full time employee of Bema Gold Corp. (“Bema”), notably working on the permitting and development of the Julietta and Kupol projects in Russia for Bema. He has a B. Sc in Chemical Engineering, M. Sc. in Civil Engineering, and is a registered professional engineer (Colorado, USA).
Dale Craig - Vice President, Operations
Dale Craig has been involved in the mining industry for more than thirty years, and has worked in a variety of mine operations including lead/zinc/copper, coal and gold. Dale is responsible for operations in Nicaragua and the Masbate operation in the Philippines. Over the last twelve years he has participated in development and operation of gold mines in Northern British Colombia, Guyana, Mongolia, Peru and Nicaragua. Dale has been associated with B2Gold since 2009, initially as General Manager for the La Libertad Mine. In 2010 he was appointed Country Manager for B2Gold in Nicaragua. He has a BSC (Mining Engineering) from Michigan Technological University, BSc (Biology) from University of Toronto, and is a graduate of Haileybury School of Mines. Dale is a registered professional engineer in Alberta, Canada (APEGGA) and in Peru (IIMP).
Eduard Bartz - Vice President, Taxation and External Reporting
Eduard Bartz has approximately 20 years of direct experience in the mining industry, joining Bema in April 1997. He was appointed as Vice President, Taxation and External Reporting in December 2013 and was previously corporate controller of B2Gold (and Bema) prior to his new position. He is a Chartered Accountant and member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Colombia.
B2Gold Corp. will release its fourth quarter and year end 2015 results before the North American markets open on March 16, 2016.