Many companies have been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and the potential impact it would have on day to day operations.
After close monitoring on all its operations since mid-February of the virus, B2Gold has put measures in place and introduced additional precautionary steps to manage and respond to the risks associated with COVID-19 to ensure the safety of our employees and surrounding communities where everyone works while continuing to operate.
All B2Gold corporate personnel travel has been restricted to absolute minimum requirements and employees in the corporate offices have been encouraged to work remotely. At each of our mines in Mali, Namibia and the Philippines, and at our development project in Colombia, we have implemented several control measures for dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19. These include pre-screening for symptoms and travel history with possible COVID-19 exposure of any employees, visitors and contractors (site personnel) prior to any travel to or from a site and isolation, where necessary, from the general site population.
Each site has implemented restrictions and isolation procedures that are particular to each region’s situation and response capabilities. Procedures continue to evolve according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centre for Disease Control guidelines as more becomes known about the virus. The company is regularly monitoring the situation and following local and national health authority requirements and recommendations. A critical care specialist has been consulting the company on the guidelines and global implementation.
To date, B2Gold has not experienced any incidents related to COVID-19 at its sites or corporate offices and continues to operate all mine facilities and is proceeding with its projects as previously planned. The mill expansion and solar facility projects at the Fekola Mine in Mali are still projected for completion in the third quarter of 2020, the Gramalote Project in Colombia continues to drill off the Inferred Mineral Resource and progress its feasibility study, and development of the underground mine at Otjikoto in Namibia is moving forward. The company does not expect material delays in the current schedules, but will continue to monitor the situation, seek advice from specialists where required and adjust plans, if necessary, to adapt to the ever-changing landscape.
B2Gold continues to engage with local stakeholders to prevent the virus from entering the communities around our operations. Education programs are being put into place to protect the communities by promoting hygienic practices and limit social interactions in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.