B2Gold begins arbitration proceedings against Mali over exploration licence

B2Gold has begun international arbitration proceedings against the Republic of Mali, relating to its Menankoto exploration permit around 20 kilometres North of the Fekola Mine licence area.

The action, which is being undertaken via B2Gold’s Malian subsidiary Menankoto SARL, argues that Mali breached its obligations to Menankoto under the Convention and under the 2012 Mining Code.

Menankoto originally filed an extension application for the Menankoto Permit in October 2020, under which the Menankoto permit was originally issued.

However, Menankoto was then advised in early March 2021 that the new permit would not be granted, and that a third party had been granted a new exploration permit covering the perimeter of the permit.

While the exploration permit to the third party has since been withdrawn by the Malian Government, Menankoto’s resubmission of its original permit application has also been rejected by the mines ministry due to the fact that the application had been the subject of a court decision against Menankoto.

Operations at B2Gold’s Fekola mine, which is projected to produce 530-560,000 ounces of gold in 2021, have not been impacted by the dispute relating to the Menankoto Permit, the company said.

B2Gold produced 622,518 ounces of gold from the Fekola Mine in 2020; an estimated 27% of Mali’s industrial gold production. Since Fekola began production in 2017, it has generated about US$580 million in revenues for the State of Mali.