Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI; NYSE: AUY; LSE: AUY) reported a strong first quarter for 2021, posting net earnings $54.7 million on revenue of $422.0 million or $0.06 per share. Cash flow from operations was $160.2 million and net free cash flow was $123.5 million, in line with or above the averages of the three preceding quarters.
As of March 31, 2021, Yamana has cash and cash equivalents of $678.1 million including $222.8 million to use on the Mara copper-gold joint venture where it holds a 56.25% indirect ownership.
The Canadian Malartic gold mine in Quebec beat guidance by producing 89,550 oz. of gold earlier this year. Yamana and its 50% partner Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM) have made a construction decision to take mining underground (the Odyssey project) at Malartic. The project will extend the life of the operation to at least 2039 after a five-year construction period.
The first underground ore production is expected in 2023. By 2028 the mine will yield 3.9 million oz. of gold at an estimated cost of $800 per oz. The mining rate has been increased since the production decision was made; it now sits at 500,000 to 600,000 oz. gold annually. Open pit mining will be phased out in 2028.
The Odyssey mine office and surface facilities were completed in the four quarter of 2020. Ramp excavation has begun, and it will allow mining of a 40,000-tonne bulk sample and provide additional exploration access.
The location of the shaft collar is ready for construction. A 2,300-metre geotechnical hole has been completed in the shaft area, and detailed engineering is underway for the shaft and headframe. The shaft will be 1,800 metres deep and 6.4 metres in diameter with a daily hoisting capacity of 20,000 tonnes.
The main focus of exploration is the East Gouldie zone discovered in late 2018. It lies east of the open pit and south of the underground East Malartic and Odyssey zones. East Gouldie has an east-west strike length of about 1,400 metres, dips 60° north between 700 and 1,900 metres below surface. Capped drill core assays run as high as 13.0 g/t gold. Mineralization is open at depth and to the east.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)