B2Gold Corp.

Q1 2023 Earnings Conference Call


spk09: Good day and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the B2 Gold First Quarter 2023 Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the speaker's presentation, there will be a question and answer session. To ask a question during the session, you will need to press star 1-1 on your telephone. You will then hear an automated message advising your hand is raised. To withdraw your question, please press star 1-1 again. Please be advised that today's conference is being recorded. I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Clive Johnson, President, CEO, and Director. Please go ahead.
spk13: Good morning, afternoon, wherever you are, everyone, and thanks for joining us. We're here today, of course, to talk about the Beachy Gold Q1 2023 conference. operational and financial results. We had another strong quarter of operating performance, which led to some very positive financial results. Mike Cinnamon, our CFO, is going to walk you through that. And then Bill Lytle, our COO, is going to update us on the Back River project, the status of that, and talk a bit about the Focola Complex expansion projects to be due to expiration, we'll talk to us a little bit about expiration plans for Back River, which just approves a large expiration budget. And he'll also update the progress in terms of expiration in the Focola complex. And then we'll open up for questions after that. So with that, I'll hand it over to Mike Cinnamon.
spk02: Thanks, Clive. So I'll walk us through the operating results versus the cash flows. On the revenue side, we sold 4,000 ounces more than we'd budgeted, so a total of 249,000 ounces from our operating mines. And good news is we had an average price of just over $1,900 for the Q. When we budgeted, we had $1,700, so we're very happy to see that $200 plus an ounce. And obviously, gold prices continue to increase, as you know, to today. On the production side, from All the operations, including our share of Caliber, 267,000 ounces. And from our three operating mines, 251,000 ounces, both of which were 5,000 ounces ahead of budget. And most of the 5,000 ounces were spread pretty evenly across the three operations. So Focola had 166,000 ounces. Production was higher. We expected it to be higher because we had that favorable higher grade material coming from phase six of the Focola pit, and the big grade was 2.47 grams per ton, which is right on budget. Then Mizbati. Mizbati was pretty much as planned. The grade this year is lower than it was in the comparable quarter last year. As we know, the feed grade was 0.95 grams per ton. And then Ochocoto, 38,000 ounces, slightly ahead of budget. We were in some of the higher-grade portions, Wolfshag underground mine. A reminder, too, for Ojikoto, as we look through to the balance of the year, it's more weighted to the second half of the year as we get into more higher-grade material in Phase 4 of the Ojikoto pit, plus continuing high-grade ore from Wolfshag. But overall, a good result in production, pretty much on target, slightly ahead of budget. Cash costs. we actually did considerably better than budget. So on a consolidated basis from all operations, total cash costs were $600 an ounce, which is $85 ahead of budget. And if you take our three operating mines, $576 an ounce, which was $88 lower than budget. And so looking at the individual operations for COLA, there were two main reasons why it was significantly, it was $60 lower than budget. One was that we mined less material in the period due to some of the tire working conditions and phase fix, including only having one ramp available for haulage, which has now been resolved in April of this year. And then we also had lower fuel costs. The mining tonnage shortfall is expected to be caught up over the balance of 2023. On Mizbati, again, we were $176 an ounce below budget. That was a function of slightly higher than budget gold production and quite significantly lower than budget diesel and heavy fuel oil costs. We haven't revisited any of the lower fuel costs for the balance of the year. We've assumed that it'll stay where we budgeted it at, but certainly current indicators are that definitely the prices have dropped a bit, and while the forward curve is a forward curve and not in backwardation anymore for fuel. It's pretty flat, so we may see some benefit as we roll through the balance of the year and the cost side. For the all-in sustaining costs, total all-in, including our share of Caliber, $1,060, which was $146 lower than budget, and same story from our three standalone operating mines. And it's really a function of the lower cash operating costs, as I mentioned, and then timing of capex we've seen capex for q1 was was below budgets sustaining capex was about 10 million below what we budgeted just for the timing of things like the uh completion of the tsf raises at focola and then some of the other uh fleet equipment rebuilds and that's just timing we expect to see all of that reverse as we go through the balance of the year a few comments maybe on the operations of phil i think bill's going to talk to the cola complex generally, but we are continuing with FACOLA regional developments through the period. And as we announced in our newest release, we're now, because we've done so much drilling on that FACOLA regional area, since we did the original Anaconda area resource, that we wanted to take those results and put them into a new resource for Anaconda. So that resource is going to take a bit longer to produce with the result that that FACOLA Phase 2 mill study is now expected in the fourth quarter of 2023. On the Ojikodo side, we continue to develop Wolfshag Underground. We continue to explore there. The Ojikodo pit itself is scheduled to ramp down in 2024 and wind up in 2025 based on our current plans, and we've disclosed that. On the Grand Malati project, that As announced, we are undertaking a joint sales process with our partner, HEA. That process is moving along. It seems to be good interest on phase one. We're still on phase one of the process. We expect to wrap that part up within probably the next two months, month to two months, with a goal that we'll wrap up this whole process before year end. And on Sabine, I think Bill's going to give an update, but we have some disclosures in there about the acquisition of Sabine. We haven't put in the purchase process. Bill's going to talk about currently what we're doing there. But one thing I will mention is that subsequent to the completion of the transaction, we did revisit a fair amount of the financing obligations that the financing plan that Sabine had put in place. And so we bought out the offtake agreement, all of it, 100% of it. So that's gone. We've also canceled that facility that they had and the goal prepaids that they set up. And in addition, as we were permitted to under the terms of the agreement, we bought out one-third of the streaming arrangement that was there with wheat and precious metals. So that's a total cost of $111 million cash, which you'll see come through in Q2. But it does let us really focus on financing with the facilities and the financing capacity that we have available through our own cash flows and our debt facilities. and also allows us to benefit more from future upside, which, as we've mentioned many times when we discussed Back River, we see a lot of upside there. On the earnings side, when you translate all those operating results, the tributary earnings to shareholders just under 86 million are 8 cents per share. Adjusted earnings to tributary shareholders, 106 million or 10 cents per share. And a couple of comments on the cash flow. So cash flow, not cash flow from operating activities, 203 million or 19 cents per share. Or as we've also disclosed in the news release, cash flow before working capital, 223 million or 21 cents per share. So very solid cash flow quarter. Of course, the gold price helped as well as some of those lower costs that I mentioned. On the financing side, we continue to pay a dividend at the same rate, 4 cents U.S. per share. It was an annualized 170 plus million per year pre-Sabena, but now with the additional Sabena shares that have been issued, the Sabena acquisition, you think we'll see that jump up to somewhere around 210, 210 plus, 210 million. On the CapEx side, look at 131 million spent in the queue. In total, we were about $42 million under budget. Ten of that was lower sustaining capital, as I mentioned already, and then $32 million was just lower non-sustaining capital, which is all related just to the timing of the underground development for Kohler Regional. Again, these are all timing, I think, and we think they're all going to reverse in the queue. Also, what are in the full year? And the other thing I'd highlight there is that, as we disclosed, we're excited to get going on the exploration site at Baccarat. $20 million really focused on additional drilling that we plan to do at Back River, and I think Vic can give you an update on that in a second. Overall, we finished the period $673 million in the bank and not been drawn on the revolver and really minimal debt on the balance sheet other than a few leases. And I think, anything else you want to touch on there? I think that's all the highlights.
spk13: I think that's most of my thoughts right now.
spk02: Okay, thank you.
spk13: Okay, Bill Vidal's going to talk to us about an update on how we're doing at GUS, and then talk a little bit about expansion of lands and typical.
spk16: Yes, so thanks, Clive. Mike covered the operational stuff quite in-depth, so I'm not going to talk about any of that, but just quickly talking on the Anaconda Phase I study. So I think everyone is aware originally we talked about potentially putting out a BA in Q2, that's been moved to Q4, and it is based on some of the exploration success we've been seeing. But I would like to expand upon that a little bit. I don't think it's just the exploration success. As you know, the anaconda phase one or phase two study is really about the oxides, but they're also having success on the sulfides. So what we're talking about doing now is more of an integrated kind of regional complex where we look at everything And we give you an update not only for what would be happening at the oxide plant, but also what would be happening as far as sulfides and where they would go. So all that has to come into play, and we're talking about putting that out in Q4 this year. Related to what's currently going on there, the phase one, remember phase one is a trucking study or a trucking program, which basically takes us between 80 and 100,000 ounces a year down to Focola while we're finishing the study in California. building phase two, if that's what we so chose to do, that project remains on track. So basically all of the roads are in now. We're just finishing up the final culverts. The infrastructure is being built. We have received our ESIA for the phase one study. We're currently waiting for them to finalize their feasibility review and issue the exploitation license. And so what I can say is that really I'm going to say right at the end of Q3, beginning of Q4, you're going to start seeing ounces come out of there. And what I will tell you is that always remember what we've said is just because that's what the study says, that's not necessarily what we're going to do. We're going to take the ounces, the highest grade ounces, the highest NPV ounces and process those first. So what I can say is that right now there's about 18,000 ounces we're talking about in 2023, which would come out of the anaconda phase one. Anything else on that? That's good. Okay, so Sabina, everyone's aware that Sabina closed kind of in the third week of April. Since then, we've been extremely busy. Some of the questions that we got early on when people were asking about the deal was, did we think that we could keep, that we could bring the B2Gold construction team back together to build this one? And I'll say with pleasure that almost to a person, Everybody jumped at the opportunity to come back. So we do have all of the necessary people in place to include Kieran Loughran and Tom Carter, who've been with us really for the last 20 years building all of our projects in Far East Russia and Africa and Nicaragua. They're busy assembling the rest of the team, and I will say that we've had very few people turn us down. They want to come back. But on top of that, I think it's really important to highlight that the people that were at Sabina were The people that were running the site and kind of managing these contractors on site have also agreed to come across and work with our team together. So now what we've got is we've got a very good historical knowledge of the site. Certainly the people that were in charge of logistics have been critical in both last year and this year. They're with us. And we've got our build team to add on to that. So I feel very strongly that we have the right team that can certainly execute this project and we're still calling for it to be on time. So we're still talking about a Q1 2025 commissioning. As far as the logistics, I think everyone's aware this is a logistics project even more than the mining project. The winter road this year was a success. While they were saying that they had 1,200 containers, they had 600 which were on the critical path. They brought in more than 800 containers this year. So we have all of the necessary equipment and supplies to do all of the key things that need to be done in order to keep us on the schedule. So really the intent of this year is to get the camp up, which they're already doing, I can say with confidence. This morning I talked to them, the kitchen is already up, and they're getting ready to run power into the kitchen, so then the wings would come up next. And so we're seeing kind of a July 1 date for the opening up of the kitchen or of the first phase of the camp. And then over the next couple weeks after that, they'll finish it up into August. We have to pour concrete this year. That's concrete for the warehouse, the mill building, and potentially the powerhouse. All of that concrete is on site. All of the steel for those facilities are on site. And we're just currently scheduling in which order we want to do them. As far as orders for 2023, 2024, sea lift slash winter road, that all remains on schedule. We've done a very good job of integrating the former Sabina team with the B2O construction team. They were in the office last week finalizing orders. Everything has to be on the sea lift and heading up towards the marine lay down area in kind of August, September. So by July, everything has to be at the point where they consolidate. All of that remains on schedule at this point. And then we're actually shooting for an earlier opening date of the winter road next year. We have as many as 2,000 containers we want to drag up the road next year. So we're talking about an early February date. And we've worked with the Sabina team, the former Sabina team, to make that happen. And what we've done is we've brought in more trucks. We've brought in more equipment to operate to open up the road from two directions, actually three directions, from the middle and from both ends. And we're hoping that it'll get open, as I said, early, like the first week of February. What else can I say on that? As far as additional logistics, we have extended the airstrip, so we're able to bring stuff directly onto site with something as big as a 727. And overall, that project remains on schedule. I will tell you that before the end of June, is our intent to update the budget based on what we have put forth and come up with what our final cost is going to be. So we continue, as far as things that are happening off-site, we continue to maintain very good relationships with the Inuit community, the Katikmiit Association in Nunavut, We just attended a conference up there. I don't know if Clive wants to talk about it a little bit more, but in general, because we've maintained all of the Sabina key personnel, to include Matthew Picard and Andrew Moore, those people have really continued the bridge of that relationship, and we maintain very strong relationships with the Inuit community.
spk13: Sure. Yeah, I'll just touch on, we went to the symposium yesterday, in Nunavut. The mining symposium at the time was really good because we just closed the Sabina deal, so we were able to introduce everyone there to B2Gold and talk about the fact that some of our experiences of the Russia days, as Bill mentioned, in construction for some of us, go back to that in terms of knowledge about a logistical challenge in the north. So that was very well received. And I also talked to ago, but a line cutter and a claim student and an expediter in the Yukon, so I'm sort of back to the north as well. But I think the most important message that we brought to them was continuity, as Bill mentioned, from some of the great work that we've been doing with the landowners group. Continue on with some very good CSR projects, so we'll be able to increase the budget on that, due to the speechable financial strength. But the big message to us that we were, as Bill said, maintaining the schedule that Savita had put forward. That was a great relief to many people because, unfortunately, Agnico Eagle, after taking over TMAC, had run the mine for a while, obeyed and then decided to shut it down and go back to drilling. So I think they were very concerned whether another big company might come in, bigger company might come in and do the same thing. When we did the acquisition, when we started looking at Savina, I made it very clear to Bill that it was up to him and his team to decide the schedule that we could live with. And I did say to Bill that if we thought we needed more time, I thought our shareholders would understand that to get it right. But the good news is, with the quality of work done by Sabina, very good work, and Bruce McCloud and his entire team, we were able to, after lots of scrutiny and tremendous amount of due diligence, conclude that we could, in fact, maintain the schedule, as Bill has said. So, great symposium, Bill. that we went to, and frankly, it's nice to be investing in Canada. We're not a foreign investor on this one, and I think as long as we can do what we've done for a long time, deliver on the promises we've made in the north, I think we'll have a great success and great relationships with the local communities. So it was very positive. Chip, we were also talking potentially within Eco-Legal, are there some things we can combine as two companies to do so? of the community and the industry, we felt very welcome. The key is to deliver, as always, on the promises that we've made. I think with that, I'll get Vic King to talk a bit about this new budget, and maybe he can talk a little bit about, Vic, about the team, because we've not only inherited some great people, and whether it be the Indigenous relationships from Sabine on the exploration side.
spk03: Thanks Clive. Yes, absolutely. The quality of the work that's being done by the Sabine team is top class. I'm very happy to say that we've virtually retained almost the entire team. We'll be hitting the ground running for sure. to go team as well the budget has increased by our global budget as Mike mentioned it has increased by 20 million us that is to put it into context I think Sabina had in the order of around 5 million Canadian I think on average as an exploration budget so this is this 20 million 27 Canadian is a five-fold increase to be spent in six months. It's a 10 times increase. So we intend to hit the ground really hard, bringing in additional dregs. We plan to complete at least 25,000 meters of diamond drilling. The allocation of that drilling will be on the Goose project, which comprises a number of deposits But a lot of that will be on the oil deposit Which is the highest grade and also the biggest contributor to the resource? some of that drilling will be in full to improve the into the Density of drilling to optimize the underground planning underground mining planning, but also to extend the what is clearly open-ended mineralization on each of the four deposits on the GOOSS project itself. That's going to be about $15 million of the budget. There's another $5 million that we intend to spend on what are clearly top-class projects, gold opportunities in this banded iron formation-hosted lithologies. George, which is about 50 kilometers to the northwest of Goose, is where there is a resource there already and over 40 targets on that license, on those claim blocks. Sabina had been drilling there this year, completed drilling I think two weeks ago, the current program. We'll get back in there and drill at George. And just to highlight, I've just mentioned two projects there. Within this 80-kilometer belt, this coal district, we also have another three project areas, Boulder, Dell, and Boot, that have had economic intersections of mineralization, which we'll certainly be following up on as well over time. I think that covers Back River. Just to get back to Mali, Mali had the lion's share of the budget this year, over $34.5 million. And that really is a record amount for Mali, for sure. We have more rigs turning there, more people busy in exploration than we've ever had. We've already completed over 100,000 meters of drilling in Mali. A lot of that, as Bill mentioned earlier, has been focused on infill drilling in the saprolyte, so moving more material into the indicated category to support the studies that are going into the Phase II mill options that we're looking at in the area. That infill drilling is complete, and we're currently updating the resource, hope to complete certainly before the end of this quarter, and it will feed into the timeline that both Bill and Mike mentioned earlier. We haven't only been doing infill. As you would have seen in an earlier press release, I think earlier this month, we've had some significant success in sulphides on the anaconda properties. At Mamba, we hit actually our highest or biggest intersection we've ever had across in West Mali, 8.6 grams over 46 meters. This supports another hit in the same zone, Mamba main zone, of over 8 grams over nearly 16 meters. So the sulfide potential here is certainly not over yet for sure. There are plenty of more intersections that would tend to support the potential for underground, and certainly extension of the sulfide, a lot of the pits into the sulfide at the Anaconda project. Additionally, you'll recall that we acquired the Bacalobi license, which is essentially piece of the jigsaw sitting between the two anaconda properties and Med 90, where our Focola mine is located. We've extended the drilling onto the Bacalobi license. Particularly one of the snakes, Cobra, has shown to extend over two and a half kilometers of additional strike on the Bacalobi side of the fence. That's within within the oxide, so that'll certainly contribute as well. In the last press release, we also named or indicated a new zone, which is further to the south, but still on Bacalobi, which we call Taipan, and we've had some pretty good intersections there as well. For instance, 28 meters at 1.8, 23 at over 4 grams, and that's really just getting started. So I think a lot more work planned for Marley, keeping those rigs and those people busy. I guess those are the highlights.
spk16: I forgot something. Can I jump back in? Yes. One of the things that we've been asked to do as we've taken on this project is, you know, B2 does things a little bit differently than the way they were going to do it. So we've been asked to generate kind of a new capital schedule and a new operating cost profile. It is our intent to have those done in Q2, so internally by the end of this month, but I think by the end of Q2 we're ready to talk about. That also includes, as Sabina was talking about, they were talking about bringing some ounces forward from the underground. We are currently revisiting the underground, both the methodology and and the schedule, and we will include that in our next update on how far we think we can push this thing as it comes up out of the ground.
spk13: Okay. Great. One of the studies that will be, Sabine is the start, and we'll pick up is the study on potential for wind power. Obviously, we're a leader in the industry in solar power with what we've done in Namibia and Mali, but we'll be having a hard look. There's no assumptions for anything currently. We're waiting for a study to be done, but there is pressure for it in the northwest. of Canada, that could be an interesting opportunity in terms of reducing emissions, but also could have a positive effect on cost up there as well. In terms of strategy going forward, we are very happy with the growth profile we have right now in terms of looking at the two stages of expansion for Kohler Complex and also, of course, the exciting project that And a lot of that is because of our, one of the reasons we did the acquisition, and are confident about our ability to accomplish these things, subject to a study on this, on the second mill, is of course our extraordinarily strong financial position. And if you look back at our history, the strategy really, if you put it quite simply, is that our strong operational and therefore financial performance for years has fueled growth by our ability to do accretive acquisitions, to build mines ourselves, and also do a lot of exploration work. I think that's one of the keys to our success. But we're also a very focused group. So you've heard us talk about the sequencing of the expansion of Focola if we go forward with the second mill, how that works within doing the first expansion, which is the trucking, which is happening now at Focola, then goose construction, and then potentially building the second mill. So we're not going to build two mills at the same time. We've always said that. But also, we're not going to be looking now as hard at M&A Development Project M&A for that same reason. We're going to stay very focused on the growth profile we have now in the company. We will continue to look at exploration opportunities, something we've been very good at, and that will include not only entering to deals with landowners, but also smaller companies. We've started to invest in some junior companies with exciting projects like Snowline up in the Yukon. And Matador in Eastern Canada. So that's a pretty exciting strategy, we think. Also offering to these groups that have got good exploration teams, offering if there's any assistance we can provide in terms of looking at their exploration plans, et cetera. So a lot of junior exploration companies, unfortunately, they're struggling these days even with gold going higher. So for a lot of these companies, I think it's quite attractive to have a friendly shareholder. I'm not trying to bear egg anybody, but a friendly shareholder like P2 Gold So we're going to be exploring those kind of alternatives as well as we go forward. But the thing we're going to continue to do, as we've done for many years, is be very focused now on the acquisitions we've done and the opportunities we have to grow the company. Michael, do you have anything that you think we should add to that? Okay, well, I think with that, we'll open it up for questions.
spk10: Thank you.
spk09: As a reminder, to ask a question, please press star 11 on your telephone and wait for your name to be announced. To withdraw your question, please press star 11 again. Please stand by while we compile the Q&A roster. Our first question comes from the line of Ovaez Habib from Scolicia Bank.
spk06: Thanks, operator. Hi, Clive and B2 team. Again, congrats on the beat and a strong start of the year. And really great to see the development of Back River progressing well. Just a couple of questions for me. Just starting off with Anaconda Phase 2 study. Now, looks like based on exploration success, especially on the sulfides, you know, you pushed out the study to Q4. Now, maybe this is a question for Bill as well. Would you look to change the scope of the project with larger processing facility or any color you can provide as to the size and scope of the project kind of looking going forward?
spk16: Yeah, surely. Once again, it's never enough to put a second mill on. Now it needs to be bigger, harder, faster, stronger. But what I would say is that we're definitely not changing the scope of the second mill. We're looking at a 4 million ton per atom oxide mill, but as you know, as B2Often does, we did put in capacity to expand and or eventually add a sulfide circuit if necessary. That's all being looked at. But really what we're talking about is, remember, you're going to have this very interesting situation if you build the mill there, because it only takes oxides. The sulfides have to come south to Pecola. So instead of instead of kind of cheating you and saying, okay, I've got this great oxide mill, and then my sulfides, as you know, in the long-term, will start to decrease, I'll be able to tell you, listen, my life of mine is extended because of sulfides, which means I've now got two options for oxides. Don't forget we've got the Endoco, we've got Bacalobi. The whole concept is to roll this thing into a regional play and really show you what this complex can do.
spk06: Thanks, Bill.
spk16: Clive wants me to mention that as B2 is wont to do from time to time, they get all of the decision makers in a room with the technical people, and they beat these things about the head. Clive calls them swirls, and we just had one yesterday. And it was an interesting swirl in the sense that all the options put on the table seem very good. It's just a question of which way you want to go inside of a larger corporate strategy.
spk06: Right. Thanks, Will. And just any sort of color you can provide right now how things are moving along with the underground at FECOLA or underground component of FECOLA?
spk16: Yeah, I can talk about it a little bit, and then I'll turn it over to Dennis Stanbury, who was just there working with the regulators to get the permits. But I'll tell you, remember, the exploration project, or sorry, the underground project is an exploration project at this time, right, with the concept of to develop it and get down to the face so you can drill it off and put the resource into reserves. So we're basically, we've done it stepwise where all the surface infrastructure had been approved already, and now we're up to really putting in the portal and all the supporting infrastructure for that. So Dennis, maybe you want to say a few words? You were just over there.
spk12: Yeah, we met with regulators last week, had a good session with them. They've come back with a very, very short list of questions. We're putting that together right now this week to submit. With the tone of their letter, it sounds like we will have the permit to go full speed on that underground property next week. With any luck, that's what we hope. They're ready in the pit. They're getting down to the final level. They've prepared the face for the first blast. Access is quite good. Burncut's doing an excellent job there. The work looks very, very first class. Hopefully, we'll be kicking off the first rounds and heading underground very, very shortly. Thanks, guys.
spk06: Perfect. Thanks for the color, Dennis. And then maybe moving a little bit to Uchikuru, I believe open pit mining is ending in 2024, underground kind of ending around in 2026. Do you right now see potential to increase, extend that underground mine life at Uchikuru or pretty much, you know, we're kind of, you know, wrapping up Uchikuru around in the next couple of years?
spk16: So the answer is yes. I think we've always said that there's a resource down plunge that has to be drilled off from underground, which we're getting down to that. We'll start to do that now. We've always cautioned that we're not going to extend the overall life of mine. Of course, you'll extend the underground, but it's unlikely that we'll find enough resource at that spot to extend the life of mine. We are onto something which has potential, which I think is a bit preliminary to talk about. But at the end of the day, The existing underground will not extend the life of mine. It might extend the ounce profile, but we're certainly digging around, and we're on to something we think could do that somewhere else. Well, Vic's an expert, so he can talk about it.
spk03: Yeah. Okay, yeah. Yeah. About three kilometers south of the Ocho Cato pit on what we call, hopefully, the Ocho Cato feeder structure. We've hit some interesting intersections. These definitely will have to be mined underground. The question here is whether we can actually get these to hang together over sufficient strike extent to actually build up a resource that would warrant basically developing down to those levels. It is early stage, as Bill said. It's still very encouraging.
spk06: Thanks for the color and Bill as well. And maybe I'll stop there and jump back in the queue, but thanks for taking my questions.
spk13: Excellent.
spk09: Thank you. One moment for our next question. Our next question comes in the line of Ralph Profiti from 8 Capital.
spk05: Thanks, operator. Good afternoon, everyone. Just a couple questions on sort of the success that we've seen on the logistics side. Is there an ability to take advantage of some of the sequencing on delivery of material, critical material between the ice road and the sea lift? Just wondering if that's being taken advantage of in order to sort of stay ahead of schedule. And then sort of a follow-on question from that, if you're talking about an early opening in February, can you put that in context for me how sort of the 2022 season
spk16: uh figure it out uh in terms of the timing and just sort of what's what's behind that more opportunistic approach has there actually been work done on the ice road that's opening up that window a little bit more positively so the answer i'll start in reverse the answer is yes uh so the logistics question at the end of the day um as you know basically what happens is you get you know 15 000 tons or 18 000 tons onto a onto a vessel they bring it up normally on the eastern route up past Ontario and then Quebec and then down into that area. That happens, everything has to be in by July, or sorry, by September, October. There we have the marine lay down area where we do prioritize things to come up the winter road. So that's what actually happened in 2022. They listed things which were critical for the 2023 construction season and operational season, and those came up the road first. That's why As I said, they only got 800 out of 1,200, but that still was enough, surely, to make sure that we were able to maintain the schedule. Related to the extension of the hauling season or the increased number of containers we want to bring down, the answer is yes. They did kind of a deep dive after this year, and they looked at a couple things. One, last year, in 2022, they only had 28 trucks. We currently have – we've increased that to 40 trucks that will come up the road, and each truck can basically do a load a day, so up and back in a day. And then we've tried to increase the season. The season started out in March this year for a couple reasons. One, they changed the contracting group that did the ice road, so this was the first time that they'd constructed this particular ice road, and they struggled a little bit, my understanding, with the sea ice. The sea ice has to be actually done last because it has to freeze up a little harder. So what they should have done is they should have, what we're actually doing is they should have scheduled equipment kind of in the middle and worked out towards the sea ice and towards the site and from the site where the sea ice is the last to go. So that is on plan for this year. And then additionally, there's always talk about kind of this bedding material, not creating a permanent road, but actually being able to build kind of a gravel sub-base up, which will allow you to get the freeze in earlier and get road in. They can actually, this year, even before the road opens up, because it's within our license area, within our operational area, they can put another six or seven kilometers of kind of permanent road in. That would actually fit very well, I think, with some of the exploration activities that are happening up at that end, which we're looking at. So we see opportunities really to get these incremental gains. And of course, it's one of these things that each year you learn more and you get more experience at it. I would say that I think two years ago, I heard that they brought up, not two years ago, they didn't do anything two years ago, but the last time before this last one, they brought up 80 containers, right? So they didn't have this experience of this full-on ice road. 2022, they had full-on experience. And I think they've done a pretty good job looking at the lay down area unto itself. It is a very adequate facility to complete with. Currently, what is it, 10 million liters of fuel capacity. We're putting up an additional 15 this year, and then we'll put up more capacity on site. So we're going to have 50 million liters of fuel capacity at the end of this year. So overall, I think we're in really good shape for 2023 and 2024.
spk13: Yeah, and maybe just a reminder, back in the day, in the BEMA days, when we built Cupol, we actually had to build 470 kilometers of ice roads. The individuals involved in that, a lot of the individuals involved in that are involved here, and there's always logistical challenges, but I can't think of a group more qualified to handle these types of things working with the existing Savita team. So we're feeling pretty good about that. Bill mentioned by looking at the end of the second quarter to have more information on the capital costs as we see it and also the operating costs, et cetera. So we're targeting to have that available for the AGM. So at our annual general meeting, June 23rd, we'll have a lot more information to tell you about our view and why we're feeling so positive about Goose.
spk05: That's great context. Very helpful.
spk09: Thank you. One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from the line of Justin Stevens from PI Financial.
spk08: Hey, Clive and team. Yeah, congrats on a good quarter. Definitely beat what I was looking for. And a few more questions just in terms of the modeling for the rest of the year here. Obviously, Ficola Phase 6 was a nice boost for the quarter, but should we expect a bit of a tail-off in grades in the coming quarters as that sort of works its way through the month line?
spk15: Was that at Ficola?
spk08: Yeah, Ficola Phase 6.
spk16: The answer is yes. We are at Q3, Q4 producing slightly fewer ounces, so the grade will be lower. Of course, on guides.
spk02: And remember, as we mentioned, the Ochicoto production is weighted the other way, so they kind of offset to a large degree.
spk08: Yes. Makes sense. And then just staying with the coal, obviously the Phase 7 strip is underway. Should that be mulled pretty evenly throughout the year, or is there going to be a bit of a bump in a particular quarter?
spk16: Well, we're already stripping in phase seven, so I'd say it would continue to be throughout the rest of the year.
spk08: Got it. Just in terms of the modeling, for the FACOLA regional phase one trucking, how should we be looking at the attributable production? Obviously, there's the mullion 10% free carry. Is the truck saprolite going to be 90% attributable to B2, or is that potentially still in flux?
spk02: Well, you want to go, Mike? Well, I... Sorry, I think you're asking what percentage. I think you must assume the state's going to end up with 20%. Yeah, 80-20. The same as we have for FACOLA. Maybe under different money, depending on how they settle out on the final code. Right, 2019 versus 2012. Right now it's kind of in flux, but either way you can expect they're going to have 20%, I think.
spk08: Got it. And that would be subject to the same sort of independent valuation procedure that happened with the initial plan then, too, right? That's correct. Got it. Perfect. And the last one for me. For Goose, given the bulk of the required supplies to meet the timeline, I'm assuming we're going to be coming in with 2023 sea lift to make the 2024 ice road season. Do we expect a spike in terms of the capital spending sort of the middle of this year?
spk16: I think we're kind of even this year, aren't we?
spk02: I think we spread it out pretty evenly over the three quarters from Q3, Q4.
spk16: Yeah, remember what's happening. So we've already ordered the stuff, which is already – we've already paid for all the stuff that is getting on a boat right now to go up to the marine laydown area. And so that's already paid for. What you'll see is the labor is kind of – I think I heard something like more than 90% of all the material that we need for site has already been purchased or is under PO for sure.
spk08: Got it. So yeah, if you cut the POs already, then it should be fairly even. It'll just be the transportation then.
spk16: It's now just labor and how we schedule that.
spk02: But that should be, yeah. Q2, we can give you a better idea of timing. Got it. But right now, schedule it out pretty evenly through the three quarters.
spk08: Perfect. Sounds great. All right. That's it for me. Thanks. Cheers, thanks.
spk09: Thank you. One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from the line of Don DeMarco from Nation Bank Financial.
spk11: Thank you, operator. Good morning. Congratulations, Collide and team. So, hey, guys, continuing with the question on CapEx, So it's going to be evenly distributed, but what should we model for the magnitude of the CapEx in 2023? I know that Bill had mentioned there's going to be more color in Q2, but can you give us any kind of order of magnitude right now for what to put in our model for this year on goose?
spk16: Well, I think what's out there is what the Sabina model has. I don't think at this point we're holding that in our budget or in our estimate, right?
spk02: Fair enough. Okay. I think we guided, we think it's somewhere between $750, $850, so $800 Canadian, midway in that range. For total capital, Sabine had spent between $100 and $200, so why don't you take $150 and assume that the balance is left for us.
spk16: Yeah, and remember that includes supercharging the underground, which we're currently placing POs on as well.
spk02: And we will, I think we'll expect that Again, we haven't guided this yet, so it's coming in Q2, but you can expect they're pretty evenly balanced between 2023 and 2024 with the goal that we get at least physical construction completed in Q1 2025.
spk11: Okay. And you mentioned that you extended the airstrip. Can you now fly directly to the project site from Vancouver or Edmonton?
spk16: From Edmonton, for sure. They're bringing in I guess dash H right now with the rotations. So the answer is yes.
spk11: Okay.
spk14: Yeah, just to supplement that too as well, we're going to be planning a site visit for the analysts up to Back River in September. So obviously a good time of year to see the progress that we've made and it's good to see the airstrip firsthand.
spk11: Okay, great. Look forward to that. And I noticed in the financials it indicated that that you incurred a $16 million write-off of some mineral property interest. They're non-core greenfield targets. Not a big magnitude, but can you just give us a little more color on where this might have been?
spk02: I can comment on the majority of that is Pakistan. We had three projects, but properties we were working on, and so we evaluated those and decided that we weren't going to pursue those, but we are still interested. There's There are other things of interest there for us, so we're currently in discussions with the state. I don't know, Vic, do you want to add anything to that?
spk03: Yeah, the three projects that we had in the Kuzelkun Goldfields, which is near Murintau, really didn't measure up. We've identified another area closer to Samarkand, closer to the capital, that we're in discussions with the Ministry of Arts.
spk11: Okay. So just in conclusion then, so for some of these greenfield targets, I know you're kind of across the world over the last few years. So Uzbekistan is still – there's still some interest there. What about Japan and Finland, and is there any others where there might be some early-stage greenfield interest still ongoing?
spk03: Well, Finland is definitely up there as an area that we're spending quite a bit of money and putting a lot of effort in, and it's ongoing. Japan is through our interest in B-metals. They're running that project. Elsewhere, we've upped our budget in Cote d'Ivoire, obviously leveraging of our West African experience. The geology is the same. It's a francophone country. It is less volatile, I guess you could say, in terms of the cyclophones in West Africa, and it has huge potential. So we picked up two licenses there in our own right, on our own right, worked them up from basic absolute greenfields, from concept through soil sampling, and we're basically doing auger drilling next year. on 15 kilometers of strike of anomalism, so that's going well. I think those are the main ones at this point in time. We've shed a few as well, other areas that we're consolidating. Obviously, we have an intent now in Canada, as Clive said, through placements and hopefully building those relationships with junior companies or picking up our own ground in Canada.
spk11: Sure enough. Okay. Okay. Well, thanks for that added color. And that's all for me. So congratulations again on a strong start to the year.
spk13: Thanks. Thanks, Tom.
spk09: Thank you. One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from the line of Stephen Green from TD Cowan.
spk07: Thanks, guys. Just a couple of quick follow-ups. Bill, you talked about developing a plan for FECOLA and kind of giving us some guidance on that plan in Q2. Would that include kind of your roadmap to the 800,000 ounces, or will we have to wait until Q4 with your kind of bill plan for that?
spk16: Yeah, what I said was that the original plan for Q2 was going to be in Q4, so you're not going to see anything At the end of Q2, what you're going to see is a comprehensive plan in Q4 for the whole complex. With a new resource. With a new resource, that's right.
spk07: Okay, and would that include a new reserve as well?
spk15: A new reserve for FACOA regional complex, Q4? It depends on the outcome of the study. I mean, that's why we're doing the study. There would be certainly portions of it that would be eligible to be reserves. and we would evaluate all of them. As far as which specific pieces would come in, I think it's too early to comment on that.
spk16: But in really a kind of direct answer to your question, that is one of the reasons we're doing this whole comprehensive study is to kind of show where all the pieces fit together for this $800,000 that we've been putting out there.
spk07: Right. Okay, fair enough. And just a clarification on Ojukodo. I know you have some lower-grade stockpiles there, and there's been discussed in some of your literature on that taking you out to 2030 and beyond. Is that still the case, or is it dependent on kind of keeping some of the grade up with the underground through those years?
spk16: So it is absolutely the case. As a matter of fact, some of the things that we're doing with power and locking in, you know, we're getting some offtake agreements on some solar power. That absolutely is giving us the hedge against any potential increases in fuel price, that type of stuff, to make it abundantly clear that this project is economic out to 2031 with the low-rate stockpiles.
spk07: Okay. So that remains the base case. Okay.
spk16: Yes.
spk07: That's all I have. Thanks, guys.
spk09: Thank you. One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from the line of Mohammed Sidby from CIBC World Markets, Inc.
spk04: Hi, Clive and Tim. Congrats on a good course. It's Mohamed Tidibe from CIBC on behalf of Nida Soni. She's on the monitor right now. Most of my questions have been answered, but I just wanted to clarify on the FICPOLA on the Anaconda area of study, which will be released on June 4, 2023. Is the thinking to hit the ground running as soon as the study is out, or would you delay the economic decision on the on the project for some time later. I'm basically thinking about the timeline of the 800,000-ounce goal as early as 2026. Is that still ahead?
spk16: Yes. So I would say that obviously we've got to wait until the study comes out to get the results. But as of right now, we see no reason that our current kind of projections don't hold. I mean, obviously what we're doing is we're doing the studies to prove it. But at the end of the day, As far as how the phase two gets scheduled, if we go, we see holding the schedule on that. You know, kind of if we do phase two, it'll be a 2026 kind of interproduction.
spk04: That's perfect. Thanks for that, Collin. And then just a final question on me. I think more on the modeling front, really. I'm thinking about the mathematics on soil counties. Should we expect these to flow to NG2, or maybe it will be sometime later during the year? and get that it was i i heard something about my body in q2 i thought yeah exactly uh sorry just a question on the mass body unsold ounces after the the uh the unsolved ounces uh from q1 should we expect that to be sold in q2 or would it be later during the year yeah it's just a timing issue of getting the two customs to decamp because it's on a knife it doesn't always work perfectly with a quarter end so yeah absolutely Okay, perfect. Thank you. That's everything on my end.
spk09: Thanks.
spk10: Thank you.
spk09: As a reminder, to ask a question, please press star 11 on your telephone and wait for your name to be announced. To withdraw your question, please press star 11 again. Our next question comes from the line of Harman Puri from Bank of America Securities.
spk01: Hi, Operator. Thank you, and thank you for the update today. Most of my questions have actually been answered. I just have another sort of modeling question. Can you provide us with some color on sort of the grade profile at Socola? In the results, you noted that you had a favorable mine phasing sequence start to 2023. Could you sort of provide color as to whether or not you're still going to be hitting that 2.2 gram per ton guided number for 2023?
spk16: Yeah, I don't think overall for the annual amount we're re-guiding. We say it's at least that number, so whatever it was, 2.2 or 2.3, that is our annual number.
spk02: Yeah, I mean, we were right on budget in Q1 for grades. Like, we're right on budget.
spk01: Okay, okay, thank you.
spk09: Thank you. At this time, I would now like to turn the conference back over to Clive Johnson for closing remarks.
spk13: Okay, well thanks everyone for taking the time to have us present the Q1 results and talk about our plans going forward. So thank you all very much. Have a good day.
spk09: Thank you. This concludes today's conference call. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect.

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