YAMANA GOLD INC. (TSX:YRI)(NYSE:AUY) ("Yamana" or "the Company") herein provides preliminary fourth quarter and full year production results for 2017. The Company is also pleased to report on construction activities at its Cerro Moro project in Argentina.
FOURTH QUARTER AND 2017 OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
•Strong production momentum continued into the fourth quarter and for the full year 2017. Preliminary fourth quarter and full year 2017 production results from Yamana's six mines are presented in the following tables.
Yamana Mines Fourth Quarter 2017
Preliminary Production Full Year 2017 Preliminary Production 2017 Full
Total Gold Production (oz.) 259,000 977,000 960,000
Total Silver Production (oz.) 1,170,000 5,005,000 5,000,000
Total Copper Production (m lbs.) 34.0 127.0 125.0
Fourth Quarter 2017
Preliminary Production Full Year 2017 Preliminary Production
Chapada 36,000 120,000
El Peñón 39,000 160,000
Canadian Malartic (50%) 81,000 317,000
Gualcamayo 45,000 154,000
Minera Florida 24,000 90,000
Jacobina 34,000 136,000
Chapada 72,000 253,000
El Peñón 1,052,000 4,282,000
Minera Florida 47,000 470,000
•Full year production for both gold and copper exceeded the higher guidance levels set in October, which, for gold, was the second increase of the year. Original guidance set in February 2017 was for 920,000 ounces of gold, 4.74 million ounces of silver, and 120 million pounds of copper.
•Production for all metals was delivered at costs in line with or better than guidance for the full year.
•2017 production from Yamana's mines is a significant production platform which the Company expects to enhance in 2018 through further operational improvements and with the startup of the high-grade Cerro Moro gold-silver mine.
•More detailed information relating to production and costs along with financial results, Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource estimates, and guidance for 2018 to 2020 will be provided on February 15, 2018.
CERRO MORO CONSTRUCTION UPDATE - ON TIME AND ON BUDGET
•Cerro Moro construction activities advanced in the fourth quarter according to plan. The commissioning and ramp up schedule has Cerro Moro well positioned to achieve previously provided production guidance.
•Notable milestones achieved in the fourth quarter include: ?Underground and open pit mine development is now being managed by Operations having already transitioned from Technical Services.
?Underground development in 2017 progressed according to plan and produced a high grade stockpile of approximately 16,265 tonnes grading 27 grams per tonne ("g/t") gold and 1,725 g/t silver.
?Open pit operations have commenced with mobilization beginning in December and development activities are now underway at the high grade Escondida Central pit, where the ore zone starts at surface.
?In the processing facility, completion of the mechanical discipline was achieved at year end 2017 while electrical and instrumentation activities are scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.
•Expenditures for the 12 months ending December 31, 2017 totaled approximately $172 million with the scope of activities and level of spend in line with plan of $178 million and the project remains on budget. The Company expects the balance of planned expenditures to be spent in the first half of 2018 with the majority in the first quarter. In line with plan, mill commissioning is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018 with ramp up of operations expected in the second quarter.
•The Company is expecting to account for production from Cerro Moro as commercial production before mid-year. As a result, nearly all of the 2018 production contribution from Cerro Moro is expected to contribute to cash flow.
COPPER ADVANCED SALES PROGRAM
Yamana is also pleased to report that it has entered into a copper advanced sales program pursuant to which the Company will receive $125.0 million on January 12, 2018 in exchange for approximately 40.3 million pounds of copper to be delivered in the second half of 2018 and first half of 2019. This production represents approximately one third of planned production in the period of the program or approximately 16 per cent of the total production for 2018 and 2019. Copper is expected to be delivered against these prepaid volumes coincident with planned shipments of concentrate from its Chapada mine.
The program allows a better balance of cash flows quarter over quarter in that cash flows that would be generated from the production and sales of copper in later periods is being realized in this quarter which is normally a weaker quarter for cash flows and which, in this case, also coincides with the final quarter of significant capital expenditure in relation to Cerro Moro.
A further benefit of the copper advance sales program is the mitigation of risk of net debt increases in this pivotal development period for Cerro Moro, a period in which capital expenses continue to be incurred while production has not yet begun and cash flows have not yet been generated from that operation. Additionally, the proceeds of the program are expected to provide the added benefit of savings in interest that would have otherwise been payable on the Company's revolving credit facility.
The cash consideration will be treated as deferred revenue to be amortized, and the revenue recognized, over the second half of 2018 and first half of 2019 when the physical deliveries of copper occur under the prepaid sales. The cash consideration will be included in operating cash flow for the first quarter of 2018. The Company effected the copper advanced sales program through Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
In relation with these matters, Peter Marrone, Yamana's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased with our strong operational performance. We have met and significantly exceeded production at low costs that are consistent with our costs guidance. We are also very pleased with the advancement of Cerro Moro, which is on schedule to begin operations in a few months. The copper advanced sales program is part of a series of steps we have undertaken, and continue to undertake, as part of a program begun several years ago, to definitively improve and settle our balance sheet and financial status, all in preparation of the start-up of Cerro Moro. We expect Cerro Moro to meaningfully increase our cash flows based on its planned strong production of precious metals at low costs, costs that are among the lowest in the industry. We are now well positioned with our six, and soon to be seven, producing mines along with a strong pipeline of advancing assets and opportunities."
FINANCIAL RESULTS RELEASE
The Company will release its fourth quarter and full year 2017 operational and financial results after market close on Thursday, February 15, 2018 followed by a conference call and webcast on Friday, February 16, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. ET.
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