Coping with COVID: B2Gold

B2Gold shuts down Vancouver head office but continues operating mines around the world

B2Gold CEO Clive Johnson. | Submitted

Coping with COVID-19 is a daily feature that highlights how local businesses are coping with the impacts of the Coronavirus. Today, B2Gold CEO Clive Johnson describes dealing with the pandemic on multiple continents.

Company: B2Gold

Workforce: 2,212

Challenge: Every country has different levels of COVID-19, and different approaches for trying to contain it, so for mining companies like B2Gold Corp. (TSX:BTO), which operates mines in Mali, Namibia, and the Philippines, and a development project in Columbia, no one-size fits all plan will work. The company is having to deal with international travel restrictions, and had to send all employees at its head office in Vancouver home when someone working for a different company but on the same floor of the Bentall 3 building tested positive for the virus.

Response: “An individual from another company tested positive on (floor) 31, and had some contact with a few of our employees, so we just shut the office down.

“We have a joint venture (in Columbia). We have a lot of drill rigs out there. We have a lot of people out there. But because it is a development project, and it doesn’t have all the rigors of all the safety setup you’d have at a mine, and because it’s non-essential, we voluntarily shut that down during this time.”

As for mines that are still running in Mali, Namibia and Philippines, the company has had to essentially freeze its workforce in place.

“People that are on site are staying on site, and people that are offsite are staying off site. So if you are on a rotation, and you’re due to go back to Fekola (Mali)…then you stay where you are – you don’t travel.”