Yamana Gold, Glencore and Goldcorp have signed an agreement to develop and operate Yamana’s Agua Rica project in Argentina’s Catamarca Province using the infrastructure and facilities of Minera’s Alumbrera mine.

The agreement is expected to extend the life of the Agua Rica project by more than 25 years at average annual production of approximately 236,000 tonnes of copper-equivalent metal. The mine will also produce gold, molybdenum and silver for the next ten years.

Yamana, Glencore and Goldcorp jointly said that the integration has merit because of the proximity of those assets. The integration also gives an opportunity to increase financial benefits and reduce operational complexity complexity and the environmental footprint of both the projects.

At present, Glencore owns half of the Alumbrera mine, while Goldcorp and Yamana own 37.5% and 12.5%, respectively.

Upon completion of the integration, Yamana would own 56.25% of the combined Agua Rica and Alumbrera assets. Glencore will own 25% and Goldcorp 18.75%.

Yamana, Glencore and Goldcorp have established a technical committee to direct the review and evaluation of the integrated project and expect completion of a full feasibility study with production and project cost estimates by next year.

“The agreement is expected to extend the life of the Agua Rica project by more than 25 years.”

Full integration of Agua Rica and Alumbrera is expected to occur with the filing of the full feasibility study and Environmental Impact Assessment with the authorities of the Catamarca Province.

The Agua Rica mineral reserve is estimated to contain proven and probable mineral reserves of about 4.5 million tonnes of copper and 6.5 million ounces of gold in approximately 910 million tonnes of ore.

The companies noted that the integration agreement represents a significant step forward towards optimising the Agua Rica mine.