The Asia Miner

SEP-OCT 2014

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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36 | ASIA Miner | September/October 2014 Philippines A CHANGE-OUT of the SAG mill at B2Gold's Masbate Gold Proj- ect has been successfully completed with the new mill now in operation and performing its function flawlessly after a short peri- od of commissioning. The project was completed on time in late June with no safety incidents. The shutdown of the SAG mill from May 29 to June 28 resulted in second quarter production falling by around 4% from the correspond- ing period of 2013 to 36,901 ounces, which was 2920 ounces below budget. During this period mill throughput was reduced by 54%, which was slightly more than expected. Gold production in the frst half of 2014 was 79,477 ounces com- pared to the budgeted amount of 91,713 ounces. This was slightly lower than the 81,877 ounces produced at Masbate in the frst half of 2013, which included 7087 non-attributable ounces for the pre-acqui- sition period from January 1, 2013 to January 15, 2013. First half production was lower than budget, due to a number of fac- tors. At the end of 2013, mine development at the Colorado Pit had advanced more slowly than planned. As a result, mill feed in the frst- half of 2014 contained transitional and primary ore from the HMBE and Main Vein Pits not anticipated in the budget, which have a lower pre- dicted recovery than the oxide ore from the Colorado Pit. As the Colo- rado Pit development is expected to catch up to budget in the second half of 2014, the high grade oxide ore from Colorado which had been scheduled to be processed will be mined and processed throughout the second half of the year. Overall, production guidance for 2014 remains unchanged. The Mas- bate mine is projected to produce approximately 190,000 to 200,000 ounces of gold in 2014, at an operating cash cost of approximately $765 to $800 per ounce. Transition from contract mining to self-mining is proceeding smoothly at Masbate with mining equipment being transferred at the end of the second quarter. Remaining changes include employee movements in the third quarter and transfer of maintenance functions at year-end. Last year, B2Gold began a metallurgical sampling and analysis pro- gram in order to assess the potential for a mill expansion at Masbate. That preliminary work continues, with conclusions expected in the fourth quarter of 2014. A proposed mill expansion would allow the company to take advantage of opportunities to process additional ore, allow for the full utilization of the new SAG mill and optimize process plant gold recoveries. IN honour of Arbor Day 2014, and further to Presidential Proclamation No 643 urging public and private sectors to plant trees for a healthi- er ecosystem, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) and its member-companies have commemorated the planting of the local mining industry's 20-millionth tree since 2011. The celebration has also reaffrmed the mining industry's commitment as the country's largest industrial forester. The ceremony was held at the COMP-supported Lungsod Kalikasan area at Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in Quezon City with 150 key off- cers, company associates and industry stakeholders joining the occasion. Since the Mining Act's signing into law in 1995, the country's resource development sector has institutionalized rehabilitation programs into indi- vidual business plans in active response to revitalizing the industry and implementing a parallel agenda to conserve the natural environment. Also since then, large-scale mining companies operating under the Mining Act have conducted progressive rehabilitation, including major tree-planting activities as early as the non-operational exploratory phase, in effect plant- ing trees before mining activities even start. According to the DENR's Mines and Geosciences Bureau records, the Philippine mining industry collectively planted 20 million trees from 2011 to 2013. At an average forest density of 500 trees per hectare, planting activities covered an aggregate 40,156 hectares. This further establish- es the industry as the country's largest industrial planter of trees and the single largest private sector contributor to national reforestation and greening efforts. Said to have originated 200 years ago in Spain, Arbor Day was observed as a festival through the manifesto of a local priest, don Ramón Vacas Roxo, who invoked love and respect for nature through tree-planting. Ob- servance in North America was launched in 1872 in Nebraska where the Arbor Day Foundation was established in 1972. Today, it is observed in 40 countries worldwide. In 2003, a special Proclamation was signed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declaring June 25 as Philippine Arbor Day, in recogni- tion of the need to promote a more vigorous natural environment for citi- zens through rehabilitation and regreening efforts. The mining industry has aligned itself to Proclamation No 643 and in the past three years has plant- ed a daily average of more than 18,000 trees across the country, effectively rehabilitating 37 hectares on a daily basis. Of the country's 9 million hectares endowed with high mineral potential, only 2.7% is covered by mining permits while only 0.32% is in the devel- opment or operating stage, according to the 2011-2016 Philippine Devel- opment Plan. This translates to the equivalent of 28,800 hectares hosting actual mining or exploration, a lot smaller than the aggregate 40,156 hect- ares the industry has planted. Along with the country's growing population of close to 100 million, the resulting carbon footprint also increases. Once fully-grown, 20 million trees can potentially offset 3.9 million tonnes of CO2 emitted by 2 million small cars if each travelled an annual average of 10,000km. Masbate SAG mill change-out completed Employee volunteers help transform a barren and defoliated site into a green sanctuary that will help propagate wildlife as part of Arbor Day celebrations in Cebu (Photo courtesy Carmen Copper). Mining industry plants 20 million trees

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