Hummingbird back on track, but raises concerns about artisanal workings on Yanfolila

Hummingbird Resources: Yanfolila mine, Mali

HUMMINGBIRD Resources, a UK-listed gold miner, said it was getting back on track following heavy rains last year that led to the collapse of a pit wall at its Yanfolila mine in Mali – a downpour that also swept a bridge away.

The company poured 23,807 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of about 33% on the fourth quarter’s gold pour. The average mill feed grade also came in higher at 2.46 grams per ton (Q4: 1.91 g/t). As a result of higher grade and production all-in sustaining costs (AISC) fell 23% to $1,297 per ounce from $1,677/oz previously.

However, company CEO, Daniel Betts, said the impact of dilution owing to previous mining by artisanal miners in the Yanfolila mining area had been more extensive that planned in the company’s reserve estimates. Production was subsequently impacted in Yanfolila’s Komana West pit, it added.

“We are taking immediate steps to reverse the impact of this dilution through working closely with the mine contractor and as we progress deeper in the pits the impact of this is expected to reduce significantly in the near term as we access areas of expected higher-grade ore,” said Betts in a statement.

“We look forward to receiving the updated reserve/resources report in Q2, which will allow us to publish a new Life of Mine plan for Yanfolila,” he added.

“It is also pleasing to note the strong progress we have made on the second ball mill project and we look forward to the positive impact that will bring to our process plant capacity once completed,” he said. Construction of the second ball mill will allow for an increase in production from Yanfolila.

The company said in January that it was sticking to original production guidance of up to 125,000 oz from Yanfolila for its 2019 financial year. However, AISC could increase by up to $50 per oz over the original $800/oz for the year.

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