Canadian miner Yamana Gold has reported positive results of the pre-feasibility study (PFS) on the Agua Rica project located in the Catamarca Province of Argentina.

The PFS highlighted a 21% increase in proven and probable copper mineral reserves since the end of last year to 11.8 billion pounds, while gold mineral reserves increased by 12% to 7.4 million ounces.

Annual production for the first ten full years also rose to 533 million pounds of copper equivalent production.

According to the company, the initial capital cost, estimated at $2.4bn, realises significant synergies from using the infrastructure and facilities of Alumbrera, a joint venture (JV) with Glencore and Newmont Goldcorp.

This March, Yamana Gold, Glencore and Goldcorp signed an agreement to develop and operate the Agua Rica project using the infrastructure and facilities of Minera’s Alumbrera mine.

Yamana said in a statement: “This unique and innovative project will serve to position Catamarca as a focal point for development in northwestern Argentina.”

Agua Rica is a large-scale copper, gold, silver, and molybdenum deposit and is located 25km north of Andalgalá.

Proven and probable mineral reserves of the project include 11.8Blb of copper and 7.4Moz of gold contained in 1.104Mt of ore.

Mineral resources include 260,000t of measured and indicated mineral resources, with more than 1.6Blb and 954,000oz of gold.

Inferred mineral resources of 743,000t also represent significant potential to further increase mineral reserves and life of mine.

Yamana added: “Preliminary evaluations have indicated the potential for significant upside to the project economics from increases to throughput with existing mineral reserves to 115,000t/d, which would improve NPV to over $145m and require only a marginal increase to initial capital.”

As per the PFS of the project, the Agua Rica deposit will be mined through a conventional high tonnage truck and shovel open pit operation.