What happened

Shares of Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) are soaring today, up by 10% as of 2 p.m EDT. While the price of gold has been rising, too, it's a modest increase and not enough to move the broader precious metals space very much. The main reason for the miner's stock-price jump is an update on its exploration and development plans.   

So what

This morning, Yamana announced that it had achieved "significant exploration results" at its Jacobina and El Penon mines. Investors clearly liked what they heard and pushed the shares higher.   

An old-timey gold miner panning for gold

Image source: Getty Images.

At Jacobina, Yamana noted that what was once the "extended mine life" plan has now become the base case scenario for the asset. Thus, after successful exploration results, the company now expects Jacobina to have a 14.5-year mine life. That said, management made clear that it has had great success extending the life of this mine over time. It believes that further exploration could result in even more positive outcomes, so additional good news isn't out of the question at Jacobina.   

At El Penon, Yamana -- and here I'm simplifying things a great deal -- found additional gold veins. Management believes these results are consistent with its plan for a 10-year mine life. However, the processing facilities at this site are underutilized, so the positive results here could actually lead to higher output from the mine. That would spread operating costs over more ounces and likely reduce all-in sustaining costs for the asset.   

Now what

Yamana actually shared a great deal of detail in its release, so investors can really dig into the story here if they want to. But the big picture is that the gold miner's exploration spending is bearing fruit, and that is very good news indeed.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.