CLIVE Johnson’s snappily named B2Gold has moved into a relatively quieter period after a transaction a year from 2011 to 2014 placed it among the mid-tier gold producers with 450,000 to 500,000 ounces of gold production under its belt. Johnson, however, was far from reserved. He exchanged punches with an analyst in January 2015 at Toronto’s Modus Restaurant – a conflict he regretted, but as an ex-rugby player used to settling matters at close quarters, not entirely surprising. Back to the mining, however: B2Gold broke ground on its $400m Fekoka project in Mali, an operation that will deliver an average 350,000 oz/year for seven years based on an optimised feasibility study published in June. As of the last quarter of the calendar year, B2Gold had built a 40km road, airstrip, cement batch plant and permanent camp at the operation. The company’s Otjikoto mine in Namibia is also being expanded to treat three million tonnes/month (mt) from 2.5mt currently. Johnson makes it into this edition again because he leads one of the few companies building mines and getting good reviews for its efforts. RBC Capital Markets recently maintained an out-perform on the stock. Underlining the risks of African mining, two B2Gold employees were safely delivered after being taken hostage in a terrorist raid on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako.
LIFE OF CLIVE
Johnson established his reputation with Bema Gold. The company operated in South Africa, but its successes were in Chile and Russia before the company was bought by Kinross in 2007 for C$3.5bn. He then regrouped with former Bema colleagues to establish B2Gold which embarked on an aggressive acquisition strategy culminating in the purchase of Papillon Resources in 2014.
- Web Address: www.b2gold.com