Yamana Gold, the Canadian based gold producer, published its second quarter operating and financial results. The company made important announcements related to Cerro Moro mine (Santa Cruz province), and Agua Rica project (Catamarca province)
Cerro Moro mine
Commercial production was announced according to plan at Cerro Moro on June 26, 2018, following first gold and silver doré pour on May 15, 2018 and a production ramp up that also progressed according to plan. Presently, mill throughput rates at Cerro Moro are approximately 900 tonnes per day (90% of capacity), and gold and silver recoveries are 91% and 87%, respectively, (which are about 95% of design rates) and increasing toward design recoveries according to plan. The gravity circuit has been commissioned at the end of July, and is expected to further increase recoveries for both metals. Feed grades are in line with the mine plan. Additionally, development, and open pit and underground mining rates are aligned with plan.
Agua Rica project
Yamana Gold continued to advance its alternatives for the development of the Agua Rica project (Catamarca province). These alternatives include technical work and analysis for project development options for Agua Rica, as well as the review and consideration of various strategic alternatives, all in an effort to advance the project and surface value. In terms of the technical reviews, considerable effort has been undertaken to advance the two development scenarios, one a large-scale open pit integrated operation and the other an initially smaller scale but scalable standalone operation.
The large-scale open pit scenario contemplates an integration with the neighboring Alumbrera mine in which the Company holds a 12.5% interest. Under this scenario, the Company projects a mine life in excess of 22 years at average annual production levels of approximately 440 million pounds of copper, 109 thousand ounces of gold, 14 million pounds of molybdenum and 1.6 million ounces of silver for the first 10 years post ramp up. The smaller scale standalone scenarios being considered include an open pit mine, and underground mine and a combined open pit and underground mine with the focus now being on various throughput options for an open pit mine. A feasibility study update was completed for the open pit scenario in 2016 and, as such, this scenario is technically advanced and development ready.
Technical studies continue to advance the lower throughput standalone scenarios towards completion of a preliminary economic assessment in 2018 and a pre-feasibility study in 2019. These studies will be completed concurrently with the review of the various strategic alternatives.
The Company sees the lower throughput standalone underground and combined scenario as a compelling development opportunity, notably on account of the marked decrease in development capital while still maintaining the longer term optionality for a large-scale open pit operation in due course.