Modern Mining

Hummingbird Resources, listed on AIM, reports that the ramp-up of its Yanfolila gold mine in Mali, which commenced gold production in December 2017, is progressing well.

Strong performance by Yanfolila

The Yanfolila gold plant (photo: Hummingbird).

Completion of plant construction and ore commissioning in 2017 was achieved within both the planned 18-month schedule and the US$88,5 million budgeted capital cost. Since first gold was poured on 19 December 2017, the performance of the plant has steadily improved month by month. In the first 14 days of March, the plant operated at an average of 95 % of design throughput and has consistently achieved a gold recovery rate of approximately 96 %, which is in excess of design specification.

Total gold recovered to 14 March 2018 was 16 804 ounces, of which 11 958 ounces has been poured and 4 846 ounces are currently within circuit inventory.

During the initial ore commissioning phase, the plant was processing ore from the lower-grade stockpiles in order to ensure plant performance and gold recovery were satisfactory before increasing the head grade. Over the past two months, the amount of high grade ore fed into the mill blend has been steadily increased and the plant is now running close to nameplate capacity with recoveries remaining consistently above design; higher-grade ore continues to be increasingly introduced to the plant. 

Dan Betts, CEO of Hummingbird, commented: “We are delighted that the plant has performed so well and that the work carried out by our highly experienced team and contractors has so far been rewarded in ramp-up operations with 96 % recoveries, over 3 g/t head grade and a steady increase in plant throughput towards design. This is an impressive achievement in such a short space of time.”

Located in the Sikasso region of south-west Mali close to the border with Guinea, Yanfolila is a low-cost, high-grade, open-pit mine. The process plant has a capacity of 1,24 Mt/a and incorporates industry-standard unit process operations consisting of primary and secondary crushing, closed circuit ball-milling with gravity concentration, intensive leach of the gravity concentrate, carbon-in-leach of the gravity tailings, elution, electrowinning and smelting to produce gold doré.

South Africa’s SENET was the EPCM contractor for the process plant. The open-pit mining contractor is African Mining Services (AMS).

Yanfolila has 710 koz of reserves at 3,14 g/t but an overall 2,2 Moz resource at 2,4 g/t. The average annual production over a life of mine (LOM) of 7,5 years is 107 000 oz at an AISC of approximately US$700/oz.

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