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B2Gold: exploration-camp worker tests positive for COVID-19; Fekola mine still operating

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(Kitco News) - B2Gold Corp. (TSX: BTO, NYSE AMERICAN: BTG, NSX: B2G) reported Thursday that an employee at the Fekola exploration camp has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, but operations at the Fekola mine have not been impacted.

The exploration camp is located around five kilometers from the Fekola mine, which continues to operate at full capacity, B2Gold said. The Fekola Mine is 80% owned by the company 20% by state of Mali. It is located in southwestern Mali on the border with Senegal.

“B2Gold places the safety and well-being of its workforce as the highest priority and continues to monitor public and employee sentiment to ensure that stakeholders are in alignment with the continued operations at its mines,” the company said.

A quarterly record 164,011 ounces were mined at Fekola in the first quarter, accounting for more than half of B2Gold’s record January-March output of 262,632 ounces, the company reported last week.

The employee tested positive for the virus on Wednesday after experiencing cold-like symptoms Sunday, the company said. The worker was immediately isolated at the Fekola exploration camp and is being monitored by company doctors and the local Kéniéba Health Authority. B2Gold said the worker is in “stable condition with only moderate symptoms.”

The company said it isolated the entire exploration group within the Fekola exploration camp and completed contact-tracing for anyone the individual may have been in contact with on site or within the community. Anyone identified by contact-tracing residing outside of the Fekola exploration camp was also placed into quarantine. The company added that the exploration camp is being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. This is also occurring at the Fekola mine camp, which to date does not have any positive COVID-19 cases.

The company had already instituted a number of measures to help with the global effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Fekola mine, the company began a full isolation of all staff on site, to be completed by this Sunday.

“This will further improve social-distancing measures and continue to protect all stakeholders in the area of Mali where the company operates,” B2Gold said.

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