Yamana exceeds gold production plans in Q1

Yamana Gold (TSX:YRI)(NYSE:AUY) announced today that gold production exceeded its plan for the first quarter of 2018.

In a media statement, management detailed that gold equivalent ounce production from Yamana mines for the first quarter was 211,246, including 199,555 ounces of gold and 899,261 ounces of silver. Total attributable gold production was 248,088 ounces of gold, including attributable production from Gualcamayo in Argentina and Brio Gold in Brazil.

The company said that it also produced 30.4 million pounds of copper.

Given these results, the Toronto-based miner expects to stay in line with its 900,000 ounces production guidance for 2018, while delivering 47 per cent of total gold production and 46 per cent of total copper production in the first half of the year.

These predictions -the firm explained in the media brief- do not take into account production at Cerro Moro, Yamana’s newest gold-silver project in the southern Argentinian province of Santa Cruz. The mine’s first doré is expected this May while it is anticipated that it will produce 85,000 ounces of gold and 3.75 million ounces of silver in 2018.

“The balance sheet as at March 31, 2018, includes cash and cash equivalents of $129.3 million, and available credit (excluding Brio Gold) of $827.8 million, for total liquidity to the Company of approximately $1.0 billion. Net debt decreased by $163.5 million from December 31, 2017, notwithstanding capital expenditures while Cerro Moro was in development. This results in an improved balance sheet coincident with the start up of Cerro Moro,” Yamana's statement reads.

Despite the uptake in overall production, the company continues with its plans of selling Gualcamayo, whose 2018 production guidance is of 110,000 ounces of gold.

The open pit and underground heap leach operation is located in the western Argentinian province of San Juan and continues to be active while management evaluates new efforts to maximize its cash flows.

“This may include an eventual depletion of the oxide resource with a move towards a care and maintenance plan for the asset and further evaluations on a number of prospective oxide targets that are proximal to the mine as well as additional studies on the Deep Carbonate project. If, during the course of 2018, the Company does not receive a sale price that adequately reflects the strategic value of the asset, then the Company would move ahead with the latter options,” Yamana explained in the press release.