Canadian mining company B2Gold has announced positive exploration drilling results from the Antelope deposit at the Otjikoto Mine in Namibia, following deep drill testing.

Discovered in 2022, the Antelope deposit comprises Springbok Zone, Oryx Zone, and a potential third structure Impala, located around 3km south of the Otjikoto Phase 5 open pit.

The deposit has the potential to be developed as an underground mining operation, which could complement the expected processing of stockpiles at the Otjikoto mill from 2026 through 2031.

Last year, B2Gold completed a $3.3m exploration program in Namibia, with exploration drilling focused on the ML169 mining license, which surrounds Otjikoto.

A total of 22,058m of drilling was completed in 2023, the majority of which targeted the high-grade gold mineralization of the Antelope deposit.

The Antelope deposit’s mineralisation is characterized by quartz-pyrrhotite veins, which have been overprinted by deformation focused along two main marble beds.

Its shoot-like geometry of the mineralization partly derives from the thickening of quartz-pyrrhotite-gold mineralization in the hinge zones of centimeter-to-meter scale folds.

The mineralised zones are linked to a positive magnetic response that extends southward from the Otjikoto open pit as a continuous linear feature for over 4km.

B2Gold plans to test the continuity of the magnetic feature and possible connection with the ore in the Phase 5 open pit at Otjikoto, as part of its 2024 exploration programme.

The Canadian mining company has allocated $9m for Namibia exploration in 2024, which will be the largest drill program since the definition of the Wolfshag discovery in 2012.

It has planned a 39,000m drill programme to define and expand the Antelope deposit, where an initial Mineral Resource estimate is anticipated by the third quarter of 2024.

The open pit mining operations at Otjikoto are planned to be ramped down throughout 2024 and to be completed in 2025, while underground mining operations to continue through 2026.

B2Gold will continue the processing operations at the Otjikoto mine through 2031 when economically viable stockpiles are forecast to be exhausted.

B2Gold in its statement said: “These positive drill results from the Antelope deposit indicate there is potential for a possible underground development to supplement the processing of stockpiles through 2031, with the goal of increasing Otjikoto gold production levels to over 100,000 ounces per year from 2026 through 2031.”