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Mali: B2Gold Reaches Agreement in Principle on the Menankoto Permit, Located Near the Fekola Mine.

B2Gold is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement in principle with the State of Mali in connection with the issuance of the Menankoto exploration permit (the “Menankoto Permit“). The Government of Mali has recently announced that it will grant a new exploration permit covering the same perimeter as the Menankoto Permit to a new Malian subsidiary of B2Gold. In consideration of this issuance of a new permit, B2Gold has undertaken to withdraw the arbitration proceedings that its Malian subsidiary, Menankoto SARL (“Menankoto“), commenced in June 2021 against the Republic of Mali under the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States.

Based on the Government of Mali’s recent announcement and related discussions, B2Gold expects that the new Menankoto Permit will be issued to its new Malian subsidiary prior to the end of 2021 in compliance with the procedures and requirements set out under the Malian 2019 Mining Code (previous permit had been issued under the Malian 2012 Mining Code), which provides for  an initial term of three years and renewable for 2 additional three year periods. The Company and the State of Mali are both pleased with this outcome and the process to reach this agreement, which was conducted in a fair and transparent manner and restores the Company’s interest in the Menankoto Permit that it believes Menankoto was entitled to under its original extension application.

The operations at the Fekola Mine, which is situated on a separate mining licence 20 kilometres from the Menankoto Permit and is projected to produce 560,000 to 570,000 ounces of gold in 2021, have continued normally and were not impacted by the dispute relating to the Menankoto Permit. In addition, the Fekola Mine has not included the Mineral Resources from the Anaconda area (comprised of the Menankoto Permit and the Bantako North permit) in the current Fekola life of mine plan. The Bantako North permit area (wholly owned with B2Gold’s 10% Malian partner and which permit was recently renewed for an additional 3-year term) contains a significant portion of the Mamba deposit saprolite material and remains open. Preliminary planning by the Company has demonstrated that a pit situated on the Bantako North permit area could provide saprolite material for at least 1.5 to 2 years to feed the Fekola mill commencing in the second half of 2022 subject to obtaining all necessary permits and completion of a final mine plan. This additional feed from the Anaconda area to the Fekola Mine has the potential to provide immediate value to the State of Mali, B2Gold’s 20% partner at the Fekola Mine, and communities near the project, and creating significant long-term benefits for the Government of Mali as well as value generation for the communities located both near the Menankoto deposit, regionally and nationally.

The Malian authorities have also recently reviewed and approved an update to the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the Fekola Mine required to include the Cardinal zone, located within 500 metres of the current Fekola resource pit. The Company is in the process of updating the Fekola Mine Plan to include production from Cardinal, which has the potential to add an average of approximately 60,000 ounces per year over the next 6 to 8 years (based on Cardinal’s inferred resource only) to Fekola’s annual gold production. Grade control drilling at Cardinal is ongoing to upgrade a portion of the Mineral Resource estimate to the Indicated category for 2022 production budget purposes.

Since the Company commenced its investment in Mali, B2Gold has enjoyed a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with the Government of Mali. Most recently, B2Gold partnered with the Government of Mali to assist the people of Mali facing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its impact on the mining sector. B2Gold continues to explore additional ways in which it might help the Government deal with the impact of the pandemic.

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