Canadian gold miner Yamana Gold on Monday reported that it was remobilising its Cerro Moro gold and silver mine in Argentina and said that it was also seeking clarity on whether its Canadian Malartic gold mine, in Quebec, could resume operations next week.
The Cerro Moro mine transitioned to a reduced production schedule on March 19, in compliance with Argentina’s declaration of a temporary mandatory physical isolation period. But on Friday, the country declared mining an essential service, which now allowed Yamana to resume normal operations.
The company stated that it would resume operations in an “orderly and gradual manner with attention to health and safety requirements”.
In Canada, the Canadian Malartic mine was placed on care and maintenance on March 24, in line with the Quebec government’s order to suspend all nonessential business. The restriction order was initially expected to expire on April 13, but has been extended to May 4.
Yamana noted that the original temporary restriction order designated mining as an essential service, subject to certain limitations on activities, and stated that it was seeking clarification if the extension applied to mining companies.
“Once the temporary restriction order expires, the company expects full operations to resume at Canadian Malartic as soon as possible in an orderly and gradual manner with attention to health and safety requirements.”
All Yamana’s other mines, including Jacobina, El Peñón, and Minera Florida, continue to operate normally with enhanced health and safety precautions and protocols.
The company produced 192 238 oz of gold and 2.73-million ounces of silver in the first quarter, for total gold-equivalent ounce (GEO) production of 221 746 during the three months.
Jacobina, in north-east Brazil, El Peñón, in northern Chile, and Minera Florida, in central Chile, all delivered exceptional quarters, exceeding production targets.
In terms of gold production, 50%-owned Canadian Malartic produced 64 763 oz, Jacobina produced 43 938 oz, El Peñón produced 42 230 oz, Minera Florida produced 22 563 oz and Cerro Moro 18 743 oz.
The El Peñón mine produced 1.36-million ounces of silver and Cerro Moro produced 1.37-million ounces.
Yamana previously guided that 46% of production would occur in the first half of the year, which it expected to be about evenly split between the first and second quarters based on the GEO ratio forecast in its original production guidance. Production in the first quarter achieved this target. Owing to the impact of Covid-19, the second quarter was expected to be weaker than previously anticipated, but Yamana said it expected normal operations in the second half of the year.
The miner would formally update its guidance for the balance of this year and for 2021 and 2022 when it released its first-quarter results on April 30.
Yamana noted that it had strong financial performance in the first quarter, the result of which was an improved balance sheet, including further net debt reductions.