Agua Rica is a porphyry copper, molybdenum, gold and silver deposit located in the province of Catamarca, Argentina. The property is east of the prominent Farallón Negro Volcanic Complex which hosts Goldcorp’s producing Alumbrera mine. Yamana reported Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves from Agua Rica, effective Dec. 2010, of approximately 10 billion pounds of copper and 6.5 Mozs of gold contained in 909 Mt of ore at copper and gold grades of 0.49% and 0.2 g/t respectively (0.2% Cu cut-off ).
Yamana has studied two development scenarios for Agua Rica, one being a largescale open pit operation that would be integrated with the neighboring Alumbrera mine and the other a smaller scale standalone operation that would minimize upfront capital expenditures while maintaining longer term optionality to increase the scale of the mining operation. The large scale open pit scenario projects a mine life of more than 22 years at average annual production levels of approximately 440 Mlbs of copper, 109 kozs of gold, 14 Mlbs of molybdenum and 1.6 Mozs of silver for the first ten years of production. Technical studies related to the lower throughput standalone scenario continue to advance with a Preliminary Economic Assessment expected during 2018 and a Pre-Feasibility Study in 2019.
Sandstorm entered into an early deposit gold stream on Agua Rica that allows for an additional advance payment of between $135 million and $225 million to convert the 0.25% NSR royalty into a gold stream. The amount of the payment is based on the following formula: $150,000 multiplied by the price of gold plus $7.5 million. If this advance payment is made, Sandstorm will have the right to purchase 20% of the gold produced at Agua Rica for the life of the mine, with ongoing payments equal to 30% of the spot price of gold.
Yamana is advancing discussions with third parties with respect to moving the Agua Rica project towards a development decision. A study is being advanced to consider three low throughput scenarios that include sub-level caving, a combination of sub-level caving and a small open pit, and a standalone small open pit. The focus is to develop a mine plan that maximizes returns and limits the arsenic content in the concentrate to below penalty levels imposed by smelting operations.