Yamana Gold, Glencore International and Goldcorp have signed an agreement to develop and operate the Agua Rica project using the Minera Alumbrera’s existing infrastructure and facilities.


Image: The parties believe the integration of the Agua Rica project and the Alumbrera mine has significant merit given the proximity of the assets. Photo courtesy of carlos aguilar/Freeimages.com

The Parties believe the integration of the Agua Rica project and the Alumbrera mine (the “Integrated Project”) has significant merit given the proximity of the assets, and the potential to realize significant synergies by taking full advantage of existing infrastructure associated with the Alumbrera mine for the development and operation of Agua Rica.  Agua Rica hosts a large scale, long life copper mineral resource with associated gold, silver, and molybdenum while the Alumbrera infrastructure is of significant scale and configuration that is ideally suited for the integration plan.  Preliminary studies show the potential for a mine life in excess of 25 years at average annual production of approximately 236,000 tonnes (520 million pounds) of copper-equivalent metal, including the contributions of gold, molybdenum, and silver, for the first 10 years of operation.  This is based on the Agua Rica mineral reserve estimated to contain proven and probable mineral reserves of approximately 4.5 million tonnes  (10 billion pounds) of copper and 6.5 million ounces of gold contained in approximately 910 million tonnes of ore.

The Agreement represents a significant step forward towards the optimization of Agua Rica.  The Alumbrera infrastructure, including the existing infrastructure for concentrate logistics located in northern Argentina between the mine site and the port, presents a unique opportunity to enhance project economics while also reducing both the project complexity and environmental footprint.

The Parties have established a Technical Committee to direct the review and evaluation of the Integrated Project.  It is expected that a pre-feasibility study for the Integrated Project will be completed in 2019 and that a full feasibility study with updated mineral reserve, production and project cost estimates will be completed by 2020.  This will provide the framework for the submission of a new Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) to the authorities of the Catamarca Province and for the continued engagement with local stakeholders and communities.

The parties have been working together with key government stakeholders to support a path forward for the evaluation and development of the Integrated Project.  An agreement has been reached with the Catamarca state mining company, Catamarca Minera y Energética Sociedad del Estado (“CAMYEN”), in respect to CAMYEN’s participation in the Integrated Project.  The Catamarca Province has approved a closure plan for the progressive reclamation of the Alumbrera mine that synchronizes with the advancement of the Integrated Project and is funded with existing cash of Alumbrera on reserve for reclamation activities. Yacimientos Mineros de Agua de Dionisio (“YMAD”) has indicated its support for the use of the Alumbrera infrastructure for the Integrated Project.  Finally, the National Government implemented a mechanism that was pending since the 2003 reform of the Argentine Mining Investments Law, that sets out the framework for refund of amounts paid in excess of a mining project’s overall tax burden, at a federal level.  This supports fiscal stability of mining projects in country, and the Integrated Project specifically, as it advances.

Source: Company Press Release