VANCOUVER, May 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -B2Gold Corp. (TSX: BTO, NYSE AMERICAN: BTG, NSX: B2G) (“B2Gold” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce its operational and financial results for the first quarter of 2020. The Company previously released its gold production and gold revenue results for the first quarter of 2020. All dollar figures are in United States dollars unless otherwise indicated.

The Company is also pleased to announce that it has increased its quarterly dividend by 100% to $0.02 per share, or an expected $0.08 per share annually, which will become effective upon approval and declaration of the second quarter dividend in June 2020. The declaration and payment of future quarterly dividends remains at the discretion of the Board of Directors and will depend on the Company’s financial results, cash requirements, future prospects and other factors deemed relevant by the Board.

The Company has been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential impact at B2Gold’s operations since mid-February 2020. B2Gold places the safety and well-being of its workforce as the highest priority and continues to encourage input from all its stakeholders as the situation continues to evolve. The Company continues to monitor public and employee sentiment to ensure that stakeholders are in alignment with the continued operations at its mines.

2020 First Quarter Highlights

  • Consolidated gold production of 250,632 ounces,well-above budget by 7% (16,156 ounces) and a significant increase of 25% (50,090 ounces) over the first quarter of 2019 (excluding discontinued operations) with solid performances from all the Company’s operations (all exceeding their targeted production for the quarter)
  • Record quarterly total gold production of 264,862 ounces (including 14,230 ounces of attributable reported gold production from Calibre; previously estimated as 12,000 ounces in the Company’s press release dated April 8, 2020) (1)
  • Record quarterly consolidated gold revenue from the Company’s three operating mines of $380 million, a significant increase of 44% ($116 million) over the same period last year (excluding discontinued operations)
  • Record quarterly consolidated cash flow provided by operating activities from the Company’s three operating mines of $216 million, an increase of $130 million or 151% over the first quarter of 2019
  • Record quarterly low consolidated cash operating costs (see “Non-IFRS Measures”) from the Company’s three operating mines of $367 per ounce produced ($382 per ounce sold); consolidated all-in sustaining costs (“AISC”) (see “Non-IFRS Measures”) from its three operating mines of $695 per ounce sold
  • Net income attributable to the shareholders of the Company of $72 million ($0.07 per share); adjusted net income (see “Non-IFRS Measures”) attributable to the shareholders of the Company of $99 million ($0.10 per share)
  • Fekola Mine achieved record quarterly gold production of 164,011 ounces and record low quarterly cash operating costs of $251 per ounce produced
  • Otjikoto and Masbate Mines continued their remarkable safety performance, extending the number of days without a Lost-Time-Injury to 733 days (approximately 2 years or over 6 million man-hours) at the end of the first quarter of 2020 for Otjikoto and more than 500 days at Masbate (almost 9 million man-hours).
  • B2Gold remains well positioned for continued strong operational and financial performance. Total consolidated production guidance remains at between 1,000,000 and 1,055,000 ounces of gold; consolidated cash operating costs are forecast to be between $415 and $455 per ounce and consolidated AISC are forecast to be between $780 and $820 per ounce
  • Based on current assumptions, including a gold price of $1,500 per ounce for the balance of 2020, the Company expects to generate cashflows from operating activities of approximately $700 million in 2020 and if a $1,700 per ounce gold price is assumed, more than $800 million for 2020
  • Based on the Company’s current life of mine plans, from the five-year period from 2020 to 2024, annual consolidated gold production is forecast to average 950,000 ounces with AISC averaging $825 per ounce
  • In addition to sharing best practices and helping with COVID-19 risk mitigation, the Company is also committed to providing financial assistance to both the local communities and to local and national authorities in the countries in which it operates
(1)B2Gold applies the equity method of accounting for its approximate 34% ownership interest in Calibre Mining Corp. (“Calibre”) and reports its attributable share of Calibre production ounces as part of its total production results.

2020 First Quarter Operational Results  

Consolidated gold production in the first quarter of 2020 was 250,632 ounces, well-above budget by 7% (16,156 ounces) and a significant increase of 25% (50,090 ounces) over the first quarter of 2019 (excluding discontinued operations of El Limon and La Libertad) with solid performances from all the Company’s operations, each of which exceeded its targeted production for the first quarter. The significant increase in gold production over the first quarter of 2019 was driven by the Fekola Mine in Mali which had a very strong start to the year with record quarterly gold production of 164,011 ounces, well-above budget by 9% (14,011 ounces) and 49% (53,662 ounces) higher compared to the first quarter of 2019. Fekola’s significant increase in gold production over the first quarter of 2019 was mainly due to expansion of the Fekola mining fleet and optimization of the pit designs and mine plan for 2020, which have provided access to higher grade portions of the Fekola deposit earlier than anticipated in previous mine plans.

Including attributable reported ounces from Calibre (14,230 ounces in the first quarter of 2020; previously estimated as 12,000 ounces in the Company’s press release dated April 8, 2020), the Company’s total gold production in the first quarter of 2020 was a quarterly record of 264,862 ounces.

Consolidated cash operating costs in the first quarter of 2020 were a quarterly record low of $367 per ounce produced ($382 per ounce sold), well-below budget by $53 per ounce produced (13%) and the first quarter of 2019 by $87 per ounce produced (19%) (excluding discontinued operations). The favourable budget variance and prior period variance was attributable to the strong operating results from all of the Company’s operations with above budget gold production and lower than budgeted total cash operating costs at all sites. During the first quarter of 2020, Fekola achieved quarterly record low cash operating costs of $251 per ounce produced ($286 per ounce sold) which was $40 per ounce produced (14%) below Fekola’s budget and significantly lower compared to Fekola’s prior-year quarter by $132 per ounce produced (34%). In addition, both Masbate’s and Otjikoto’s cash operating costs were also well-below their budgets.

Including estimated attributable results for Calibre, consolidated cash operating costs for the first quarter of 2020 were $389 per ounce produced ($405 per ounce sold).  

Consolidated AISC for the first quarter of 2020 were $695 per ounce sold, well-below budget by $110 per ounce (14%) and the first quarter of 2019 by $48 per ounce (6%) (excluding discontinued operations). The favourable budget variance reflects lower-than-budgeted cash operating costs and lower-than-budgeted sustaining capital and exploration expenditures (mainly due to timing and expected to be incurred later in 2020). 

Including estimated attributable results for Calibre, AISC for the first quarter of 2020 were $721 per ounce sold compared to budget of $822 per ounce sold and $848 per ounce sold for the first quarter of 2019.

Based on current assumptions for 2020, B2Gold remains well positioned for continued strong operational and financial performance. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, Calibre announced the temporary suspension of its Nicaraguan operations due to COVID-19, creating uncertainty as to what portion of the remaining forecasted production ounces from Calibre would be realized in 2020. However, given that the Company’s three operating mines are already 16,156 ounces ahead of budget at the end of the first quarter of 2020, the Company has determined that its overall consolidated production and financial guidance should be maintained. Therefore, total consolidated production guidance remains at between 1,000,000 and 1,055,000 ounces of gold; consolidated cash operating costs are forecast to be between $415 and $455 per ounce and consolidated AISC are forecast to be between $780 and $820 per ounce.  

The Company has implemented several measures and introduced additional precautionary steps to manage and respond to the risks associated with the COVID-19 virus to ensure the safety of B2Gold’s employees, contractors, suppliers and surrounding communities where the Company works while continuing to operate. These measures include the movement of people and goods, hygiene and cleanliness, social distancing and remote working, isolation procedures at B2Gold sites in the event of higher risk personnel, working with surrounding communities and contingency plans for potential disruptions including increases of supplies. The Company is continually updating the plan and response measures based on the safety and well-being of its workforce, the severity of the pandemic in areas where it operates, global response measures, government restrictions and extensive community consultation. The Company is working closely with national and local authorities and will be monitoring each site’s situation closely while ensuring the safe operation of its mines.

In addition to sharing best practices and helping with risk mitigation, the Company is also committed to providing financial assistance to both the local communities and to local and national authorities in the countries in which it operates. B2Gold is helping to ensure food security and is providing support for medical equipment and health services to local communities around its mining operations. In Metro Vancouver, B2Gold is contributing CDN$500,000 to support three local community organizations. In Mali, B2Gold has committed $500,000 including funds for much needed medical supplies; in the Philippines, B2Gold has committed $415,000 to assist families with food and basic medical requirements; and in Namibia, B2Gold has committed $321,000, with a focus on hygiene, sanitation and food security within urban townships.

2020 First Quarter Financial Results

Consolidated gold revenue in the first quarter of 2020 was a quarterly record of $380 million from the Company’s three operating mines on sales of 239,500 ounces at an average price of $1,588 per ounce compared to $264 million on sales of 203,400 ounces at an average price of $1,298 per ounce in the first quarter of 2019 (excluding discontinued operations). Compared to the first quarter of 2019, the significant increase in consolidated gold revenue of 44% ($116 million) was mainly attributable to a 22% increase in the average realized gold price and an 18% increase in gold ounces sold. Despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, the Company continues to successfully ship its gold bullion inventory to refineries. 

Cash flow provided by operating activities in the first quarter of 2020 was a quarterly record of $216 million from the Company’s three operating mines compared to $86 million in the first quarter of 2019. This significant increase of $130 million (151%) reflected the significant increase in gold revenue, as a result of higher realized gold prices and sales (as discussed above).

Net income for the first quarter of 2020 was $83 million compared to $27 million for the first quarter of 2019. For the first quarter of 2020, the Company generated net income attributable to the shareholders of the Company of $72 million ($0.07 per share) compared to $22 million ($0.02 per share) in the first quarter of 2019. Adjusted net income attributable to shareholders of the Company (see “Non-IFRS Measures”) for the first quarter of 2020 was $99 million ($0.10 per share) compared to $32 million ($0.03 per share) in first quarter of 2019.