March 7 (Reuters) - Miners Yamana Gold Inc, Glencore and Goldcorp Inc said on Thursday they signed an agreement to develop and operate Yamana’s Agua Rica gold and copper mine in Argentina using infrastructure and facilities of the three companies’ existing venture in the country.
The integration of Yamana’s Agua Rica project in northern Argentina with the three companies’ Alumbrera mine has merit because of the proximity of those assets, the companies said in a joint statement. With the integration, there is opportunity to increase financial benefits and reduce both the project’s complexity and environmental footprint, they said.
Glencore currently owns half of the Alumbrera mine, while Goldcorp owns 37.5 percent and Yamana 12.5 percent.
Upon completion of the agreement, Yamana would own 56.25 percent of the combined Agua Rica and Alumbrera assets, with Glencore owning 25 percent and Goldcorp owning 18.75 percent of it.
Preliminary studies show potential for Agua Rica’s mine life in excess of 25 years with average annual production of about 236,000 tonnes of copper-equivalent, including contributions of gold, molybdenum and silver, for the first 10 years of operation, according to the statement.
The companies have established a committee to direct the review and evaluation of the project and they expect a full feasibility study with production and project cost estimates will be completed by 2020. (Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)