Hummingbird appoints other mining contractors at the Kouroussa mine as dispute with Corica drags on

Hummingbird Resources has started using other contractors to run mining operations at the Kouroussa gold mine in Guinea as it continues to negotiate with the principal contract miner – Corica Mining Services – which suspended operations on March 17.

Corica did so claiming that it had not been paid $27m it was due as well as Hummingbird failing to provide a deed of guarantee as per the contract.

Hummingbird has rejected Corica’s claims calling them “highly misleading” and – specifically addressing the $27m claim – said monies withheld were contractually allowed for in line with underperformance clauses.

Hummingbird CEO Dan Betts said on April 16 that a “step-in” notice had been issued to Corica and that “this move allows us to assume control and mobilise resources whilst discussions remain ongoing with Corica, to resume mining activities at Kouroussa and enter the high-grade material at the Koekoe deposit.”

The step-in notice allows Hummingbird to appoint alternative operators or contractors and the company has called in West African mining contractor Etasi which is currently operating the support fleet on site.

According to Betts, the additional Etasi fleet will be mobilised and commissioned at Kouroussa “over the coming weeks” while “the company is also engaged in discussions with alternative operators, contractors and suppliers to provide further, near-term operational support.”

Betts added that Hummingbird continues “to engage with Corica, with constructive discussions ongoing surrounding the resolution of key disputes.”

The dispute has taken heavy toll on the Hummingbird share price which had been sliding anyway from a 12-month high of 20.5p set in early May 2023. The shares were trading around 11.5p when the bust-up with Corica became public in early March and they plunged to below 5p before recovering to current levels around 7.0 p.