Hummingbird guidance reflects caution over delayed Guinea mine

HUMMINGBIRD Resources has targeted gold production of between 165,000 to 200,000 ounces in 2024 as it ramps up Kouroussa, a newly commissioned mine in Guinea.

The lionshare of production was from Yanfolila, Hummingbird’s Mali mine with Kouroussa contributing just over 6,000 oz last year. All in sustaining costs were at $1,361/oz which is an average cost in the gold sector, according to the World Gold Council.

AISC for 2024 is guided to below $1,500/oz. Yanfolila is forecast to produce 75,000 to 85,000 oz in 2024 while Kouroussa will contribute 90,000 to 115,000 oz at a conservative sub-$1,500/oz AISC.

However, this requires no more interruptions at Kouroussa which last year reported a number of commissioning problems related to skills training and fleet mobilisation. A fire at Guinea’s main fuel depot in December resulted in suspension of mining at Kouroussa.

Hummingbird said today mining operations at Kouroussa had restarted and “are expected to ramp up to full capacity levels over the coming weeks”. So far the market has kept faith with Hummingbird’s promises. The share gained 2% on the London Stock Exchange today taking the stock’s 12-month gains to about 22.5%.

Dan Betts, CEO of Hummingbird said the firm’s primary focus was “on delivery”, adding that guidance reflected “the ramping up of Kouroussa”. He expected to “refine” guidance in the year only when “we have reached consistent commercial production levels”.

It is critical Hummingbird gets Kouroussa at full pelt as it has pledged to cut $122.8m in debt over three years starting with a $77m debt repayment by the end of this year.

In December, the firm unveiled steps to shore up its balance sheet by announcing terms of a $30m share placement with institutions, led by investment bank CIG which becomes the gold miner’s 45% shareholder. Hummingbird also said it would hedge 15% of forecast gold production in 2024.