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Yanfolila processing plant maintenance cuts Hummingbird’s first-quarter output

25th April 2022

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

     

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Aim-listed gold producer Hummingbird Resources produced 15 548 oz of gold at its Yanfolila mine, in Mali, for the quarter ended March 31, compared with the 18 181 oz produced in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Output was also lower than the 22 781 oz produced in the first quarter of 2021.

The company on April 25 attributed the decrease in production primarily to the planned essential maintenance work done on the processing plant, as well as the gradual improvement in mining rates at Yanfolila, as more excavators were added to the fleet towards the end of the first quarter.

With additional excavators now operating on site, daily mining volume rates have continued to increase.

“Additional maintenance programmes were undertaken during the quarter to improve the overall fleet performance of our contract miner, with some positive productivity improvements starting to be seen on the existing fleet,” Hummingbird CEO Dan Betts said.

All-in sustaining costs (AISC) for the first quarter increased to $2 235/oz, from $1 803/oz in the fourth quarter of 2021, as a result of the lower production.

Hummingbird, however, expects a lower AISC profile for the remainder of the year.

It has also maintained its full-year production guidance at between 87 000 oz and 97 000 oz of gold, while the full-year AISC is estimated at between $1 300/oz and $1 450/oz.

At Yanfolila, grade mill feed for the quarter under review averaged 1.71 g/t versus 1.79 g/t averages in the previous quarter.

The grade profile for the first quarter was relatively low, primarily owing to lower-grade sections of the orebody accessed during the period and a run-of-mine (RoM) pad not fully optimised to allow for more consistent and better grade ore feed into the mill.

However, with improved mining rates and practices taking place, Hummingbird said the quantity and quality of ore on its RoM pad were expected to improve, after which better mill grade feed could be expected to be processed.

The company said it was also working to increase throughput at the Yanfolila mill in the second quarter before the wet season, particularly by using increasing oxide stockpiles from the mining taking place at the Sanioumale West deposit.

Mined bank cubic meters (BCMs) totalled about 2.1-million for the first quarter, up from about 1.9-million BCM in the December 2021 quarter. This 12% improvement was a result of the additional excavator fleet becoming operational towards the end of the quarter.

Meanwhile, Hummingbird reported that its processing plan recovery rates for the first quarter improved by 95.39% quarter-on-quarter.

Additionally, the company said it was continuing to finalise the analysis of the optimal Yanfolila underground development route so that it could be added to future mine plans.

KOUROUSSA

Hummingbird is also developing a second operation – Kouroussa, in Guinea.

Construction began in January and is rapidly advancing, Betts explained, with civil works under way. The processing plant and camp site accommodation earth works were also nearing completion.

During the first quarter, several key components of the processing plant were built, including the fabrication of the carbon-in-leach tanks and the finalisation of their foundation works.

Several long lead items were ordered, including apron feeders, a jaw crusher, a semi-autogenous grinding mill, a cyclone cluster and agitators.

Moreover, the excavation of the tailings storage facility pond area also started during the quarter.

A temporary construction camp was completed and is operational, while the main site operations camp was cleared and base layers were installed ahead of foundation works.

Key equipment arrived on site, as have tooling, machinery, personnel and consumables, with operational-readiness planning and preparations under way.

Importantly, the power and mining contractor contract negotiations were nearing finalisation and were expected to be awarded soon, Betts said.

He added that the mine would more than double Hummingbird’s current gold production when fully operational.

Kouroussa is scheduled for its first gold pour at the end of the second quarter of next year.

Hummingbird also has a controlling interest in the Dugbe gold project, in Liberia, which is being developed by TSX-V-listed Pasofino Gold through an earn-in agreement. The definitive feasibility study for Dugbe is currently being finalised.

"Significant work has been completed in the first quarter to deliver more consistent and elevated future production at Yanfolila . . . to improve mining volume rates, something that we are already starting to see,” Betts said, adding that improvements were expected to continue going forward.

Meanwhile, during the quarter, Hummingbird received and analysed a further 12 000 m of assays from the Sanioumale East deposit, showing continuing high-grade intercepts being received. About 3 179 m of assays from the first round of drill testing were done at greenfield deposit BBC, which showed the potential to establish new resources.

“We continued to receive the final results from our 2021 group-wide drilling campaign during the quarter for both Yanfolila and particularly Kouroussa where we have continued to intersect many significant intercepts.

“These results are now being incorporated into our updated company resources and reserves statement, which is expected to be released later this quarter,” Betts concluded.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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