B2Gold Corp. (TSX: BTO) (NYSE AMERICAN: BTG) (NSX: B2G) (“B2Gold” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that its entire inventory of limited-edition Rhino Gold Bars have been sold, generating approximately $1.7 million to support community-backed black rhino conservation efforts in northwest Namibia. All dollar amounts are in United Sates Dollars unless otherwise indicated.
The Rhino Gold Bar initiative began in early 2020 when B2Gold announced the ground-breaking donation of 1,000 ounces of gold produced from the Company’s Otjikoto mine in Namibia to support the preservation of the black rhino population in the country and the communities that protect them.
With this donation, B2Gold produced a series of limited-edition Rhino Gold Bars that were available for sale to investors. On one side of the bar a black rhino mother and calf are represented – symbols of hope for the future of the species. The other side shows the Namib desert – an evocative and recognizable image strongly associated with Namibia. Bars were sold at the spot price of gold on the date of sale plus a 15% conservation premium and were available in 500g, one ounce and half ounce denominations.
Commenting on the Rhino Gold Bar initiative, B2Gold President and CEO Clive Johnson said: “We are mining gold that was deposited in Namibia over 500 million years ago and using it to save an animal that has been roaming the planet for 50 million years. This is a whole new way of looking at conservation financing—creative conservation for the future of our planet.”
Proceeds from the sale of the bars are managed by the Rhino Gold Bar Advisory Committee (RGBAC), which includes representatives from B2Gold, Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT), Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), the Namibian Chamber of Environment, and the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.
A portion of the proceeds is being used to assist conservation actions in the field, including support for patrols, intelligence activities, and to rural communities for whom the protection of rhinos is their birthright.
To date, the project has already disbursed significant funding to community-backed rhino conservation efforts due to the unexpected and dire impacts of COVID-19 on the Kunene Region in Namibia (where SRT operations are located). The effects of the pandemic in terms of job security, provisions for families and the protection of Namibia’s black rhinos is potentially devastating for communities in the region that have worked hard to develop a rhino-based economy. Several areas within the rhino range have been left exposed by the lack of tourists, requiring extra patrolling efforts by SRT, IRDNC and Conservancy Rhino Rangers. Filling this gap requires increased resources at a time when conservation funding has been slashed.
B2Gold, in conjunction with RGBAC, also plans to use a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the bars to mint a new series of limited rhino bars and medallions, helping the Rhino Bar initiative to become self-sufficient and sustainable.