Mali’s Yanfolila mine pours first gold, ramping up to commercial production

PROJECT MILESTONE Hummingbird Resources having started gold production at Yanfolila gold mine on time and within budget last month

TARGET ON TRACK The company targeting about 130 000 oz gold in the first full year of operation

26th January 2018

By: Mia Breytenbach

Creamer Media Deputy Editor: Features


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Having started gold production at its Mali-based Yanfolila gold mine on time and within budget last month, West African gold producer Hummingbird Resources remains on track with its ramp-up to commercial production.

Since acquiring the project from Gold Fields in 2014, Hummingbird has developed the low-cost, high-margin project into a significant and profitable gold mine.

“The last quarter of 2017 saw Hummingbird become the newest African gold producer: the team on the ground at Yanfolila operated 24/7 over the Christmas period and the ramp-up is going well and is on track to reach commercial production as planned,” commented Hummingbird CEO Dan Betts in the company’s 2017 fourth-quarter review, released earlier this month.

The 1.24-million-tonne-a-year carbon-in-leach circuit processing plant has been commissioned, with the company targeting about 130 000 oz gold in the first full year of operation. Plant throughput was at 65% capacity during the last two weeks of December, reaching 75% capacity this month.

Following the ramp-up, production is expected to average 107 000 oz/y of gold over the life-of-mine at a 3 g/t average grade.

Meanwhile, the company has started shipping gold doré bars to the refinery.

Hummingbird has also soft-launched its ‘1 oz Hummingbird’ single-mine-origin, pure gold coins from Yanfolila. More than 1 400 people indicated interest in buying the coins within three weeks of the soft launch.

Coin sales are to start in the first quarter of 2018, with first delivery of the coins targeted for the end of the first half of 2018.

Hummingbird ended 2017 with a cash position of about $40-million, while Cora Gold, in which the company holds a 33.85% interest, raised £3.45-million and listed on Aim. Cora Gold focuses on gold exploration in Mali and Senegal, and offers the potential for proximal satellite deposits to provide further feedstock for the Yanfolila plant.

However, Yanfolila remains a high-grade, open multi-pit operation with significant expansion opportunities. It holds probable reserves of 709 800 oz at 3.14 g/t, total resources of 1.8-million ounces of gold, and an additional 390 700 oz of noncompliant exploration potential.

As one-million ounces of gold remain outside the current mine plan, drilling of existing resources will be targeted throughout 2018 to deliver greater reserve life.

Betts noted in previous releases that Hummingbird was committed to not only delivering name-plate production at Yanfolila but also “demonstrating its growth potential . . . through the continued conversion of already discovered resources . . . to mineable reserves”.

Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta will officially open the Yanfolila gold mine on February 14.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor



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