Aim-listed Hummingbird Resources reports that the cumulative headwinds faced by the company this year have resulted in a material risk of producing below its 2020 production guidance of 110 000 oz to 125 000 oz.
The headwinds faced by Hummingbird include extreme weather events, a military coup in Mali that resulted in an additional border closure for about a month and ongoing complicated Covid-19-induced logistical complications.
Total ounces poured at Yanfolila during the 11 months to the end of November were about 93 000 oz.
In the third quarter, the mine endured extreme weather events with the wettest rainy season on record. This led to the continued mining of oxides and waste that were of lower grade than the company’s initial start-of-year plans, resulting in lower production for that quarter. This was particularly the case from the Komana East mining pit.
Hummingbird CEO Dan Betts says 2020 has been a “difficult and frustrating” year. “The harsh reality is that should we fail to meet guidance, no matter what the circumstances, it will be viewed as such and this is a fact that weighs heavily on the team.”
However, he adds that Yanfolila, which will have paid off all its debt in the first half of next year, is well set up to deliver solid production for the years to come.
“Our exploration programme this year has produced many encouraging results which we are confident will contribute to additional resources being included into the mine plan to extend mine life.”
Meanwhile, Hummingbird has re-sequenced certain parts of the mine plan to access and process a greater proportion of softer oxide material. This was done to prevent wear and tear on critical parts in the plant during the unprecedented and unspecified border closures owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. This strategy was successful in preserving the plant and ongoing production, reports Hummingbird.
Going forward, Hummingbird notes that a final drilling programme is being carried out at the Sanioumale East (SE) deposit, the results of which are due to be released before year-end to complete Hummingbird’s, to date, successful 2020 exploration and drilling campaign.
Once drilling at SE is finalised, Hummingbird will update the Yanfolila mineral resource models and aim to release those findings in the first quarter of 2021.
The company also reports that is Kouroussa gold project, in Guinea, is continuing with pre-development plans. Hummingbird is currently awaiting the award of a mining licence by the government to then move into the development stage of this gold project once pre-development plans are complete.
“. . . we are confident the mining licence will be awarded soon. We will then move towards the development stage following completion of the pre-development plans of this exciting project, which will see us become a multi-asset producer in the coming years producing in excess of 200 000 oz/y,” says Betts.
The company plans to finalise the 2021 budget in the coming weeks, with the aim to being to release it during the first quarter of 2021, including key findings and forecast estimates.