After acquiring Monarch Gold for $152 million in November for its Wasamac gold project in the Abitibi-Temiscamingue region of Quebec, Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI; NYSE: AUY; LSE: AUY) is expanding its land package around the project. The gold miner also expects to release an updated feasibility study for Wasamac by late July, followed by a construction decision.
Yamana is paying Globex Mining (TSX: GMX) $15 million for claims adjoining Wasamac. The initial payment of $4 million will made in Yamana shares, with the remainder to be paid in cash or shares (at Globex's discretion) over a period of four years. Globex will also retain a 2% gross metal royalty, with Yamana able to reduce that to 1.5% by paying $1.5 million. The deal includes the Francoeur, Arntfield and Lac Fortune properties next to Wasamac, as well as claims in Beauchastel Twp., east of the project. The sale is expected to close on June 21.
Francoeur and Arntfield both host past-producing mines, and Yamana notes that work by Globex on the adjoining properties has outlined a 6-km western continuation of the Wasa shear just north of the Cadillac Break, with mineralization that is similar to Wasamac.
Data from the properties will be consolidated with data from Wasamac; Yamana plans to conduct a drill program this year to add resources and potentially grow Wasamac's production profile.
Wasamac is located about 100 km from the Canadian Malartic mine, owned jointly by Yamana and Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM).
A 2018 feasibility study forecast a 6,000 t/d operation at Wasamac would produce 142,000 oz. gold per year over an 11-year mine life.
Yamana's updated feasibility will look at a higher throughput rate of 7,000 t/d, facilitated by more automation underground, and an optimized materials handling system and process plant design. The miner sees potential for the project to product 170,000 to 200,000 oz. gold per year and all-in sustaining costs below the company's average.
Wasamac contains proven and probable reserves of 21.5 million tonnes grading 2.56 g/t gold for 1.8 million oz. Measured and indicated resources are 7 million tonnes grading 2.35 g/t gold for 525,000 oz.
Yamana has already begun the permitting process at the project.