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B2Gold (BTG) Initiates Solar Battery Hybrid System at Fekola Mine

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Zacks Equity Research
·3 min read
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B2Gold Corp BTG has commissioned the world’s largest off-grid solar battery hybrid system at the Fekola gold mine in Mali in a bid to lower CO2 emissions by 39,000 tons. Notably, this solar system is likely to save13.1 million liters of heavy fuel oil annually.

In July 2019, B2Gold approved the plant’s construction after completion of the feasibility study by a Germany-based solar project consultancy Suntrace and its partner BayWa.

This hybrid battery system combines solar energy with conventional energy generation and battery storage, providing uninterrupted power supply day and night in off-grid areas.

In fact, Fekola’s six heavy oil generators will be switched off during the day, with its new 30 MW solar system, while energy production from the remaining three generators can also be lowered. The 15.4 MWh battery storage balances fluctuations in energy generation and ensures smooth operation, so that during the day, up to 75% of the mine’s electricity requirements can be covered by renewable energies.

In 2020, the Fekola mine had a record annual gold production of 622,518 ounces, exceeding the upper end of its guided range (of between 590,000 and 620,000 ounces). The Fekola mine expansion to 7.5 million tons per annum (Mtpa) from an annual base rate of 6 Mtpa is contributing to the mine’s increased gold production. This mine is expected to produce gold ounces between 530,000 and 560,000 in 2021. Fekola's gold production is expected to be lower in 2021 due to waste stripping and lower mined ore grades expected in the first half of year, as Phase 5 and 6 of the Fekola Pit are developed.

B2Gold forecasts current-year gold production between 970,000 ounces and 1,030,000 ounces. This marks a decline of 5% from the 2020 levels due to lower expected production from Fekola in 2021.

Price Performance

Over the past year, B2Gold’s shares have gained 5% compared with the industry’s growth of 3.9%.



Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

B2Gold currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are Impala Platinum Holdings Limited IMPUY, Fortescue Metals Group Limited FSUGY and BHP Group BHP, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Impala Platinum has an expected earnings growth rate of 195.9% for the current fiscal year. The company’s shares have surged 84% in the past year.

Fortescue has a projected earnings growth rate of 84.3% for the current fiscal year. The company’s shares have soared 182% in a year’s time.

BHP Group has an estimated earnings growth rate of 77.6% for the current fiscal year. The company’s shares have appreciated 83% over the past year.

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