Transformational growth at B2Gold!
For B2Gold, 2018 was a year of transformational growth, as outlined above, driven by the first full-year of commercial production from its new large, low-cost Fekola Mine in Mali and record annual production from its Masbate Mine in the Philippines. For the tenth straight consecutive year, the Company achieved record annual consolidated gold production.
As a result of 2018 gold production of over 950,000 ounces, a 51% increase over 2017, B2Gold nearly doubled its reported gold revenues for the year in 2018 to $1.2 billion. Due to the increase in low-cost production from Fekola and the Company's ongoing disciplined cost control, at all projects, reported cash flows from operations nearly tripled from $155 million in 2017 to $451 million in 2018.
The Fekola Mine success is the latest in a series of accretive acquisitions, construction and exploration successes that have resulted in a steady rise in profitable production over the last 11 years, from 2007, when B2Gold was created as a junior exploration company with no gold production, to over 950,000 ounces of gold from the Company's five gold mines in four countries in 2018.
The Company is also assessing the potential to advance the Gramalote Project. The Mineral Resource model for Gramalote Ridge was recently redone (by AngloGold Ashanti) which indicates the potential for a resource with improved gold grades and contained ounces that could result in improved project economics. The economics of the project are currently being re-evaluated, and the Company expects to release the results of the new Gramalote economic study in the second quarter of 2019.
Looking forward, B2Gold will continue in 2019 to maximize cash flows and maintain a strong financial position by continuing our impressive operational and financial performance from existing mines. In April 2019, the Company expects to commence the mill expansion at the Fekola Mine and also in the second quarter of 2019 complete an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment.
In addition, in 2019 B2Gold's exploration team will continue exploration at Fekola, further defining the Fekola North extension zone which remains open and drill beneath the shallow Anaconda saprolite zone, and also further test other targets on the Fekola property. After such a transformative year by many measures in 2018, management is excited about continuing our success in 2019 and beyond.