- Partner News
- Media Releases
- Mainstream News
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Feb. 16, 2017) – YAMANA GOLD INC. (TSX:YRI)(NYSE:AUY) (“Yamana” or the “Company”) herein provides 2017, 2018 and 2019 production, and 2017 cost guidance.
Yamana concentrates its efforts on six producing mines which beginning in early 2018 will increase to seven with the start of production from Cerro Moro. The following table presents mine by mine production expectations for 2017.
|(Gold oz.)||(Silver oz.)|
|2016 Actual||2017 Guidance||2016 Actual||2017 Guidance|
|Canadian Malartic (50%)||292,514||300,000||–||–|
The following table presents the Company’s total production expectations for its mines for 2017, 2018 and 2019.
|Total Gold Production (oz.)||1,009,079||920,000||1,030,000||1,100,000|
|Total Silver Production (oz.)||6,709,250||4,740,000||10,000,000||14,500,000|
|Total Copper Production (lbs.) (Chapada)||115,548,437||120,000,000||120,000,000||120,000,000|
Yamana expects that certain mines, based on historical performance and potential, may achieve higher levels of production that would increase the overall production level. Total gold production as shown in the table below includes attributable production from Brio Gold Inc. (“Brio Gold”) based on their production guidance, and assuming Yamana’s 84.6% ownership of Brio Gold remains unchanged for the guidance period. Potential production increases from the commissioning of C1 Santa Luz have not been included in these expectations.
The following table presents the Company’s total attributable production expectations for 2017, 2018 and 2019.
|Total Gold Production (oz.)||1,198,741||1,140,000||1,250,000||1,320,000|
For comparison purposes, 2016 production in the tables above excludes 70,274 ounces of gold and 326,876 ounces of silver from Mercedes, the sale of which closed on September 30, 2016. Total consolidated 2016 production including Mercedes was 1,269,015 ounces of gold and 7,036,126 ounces of silver. Production of all metals in 2016 met or exceeded guidance expectations (refer to the Company’s press release issued on January 11, 2017 for information comparing 2016 production to guidance expectations).
(All amounts are expressed in United States dollars unless otherwise indicated.)
The following table presents consolidated cost expectations for 2017.
|2016 Actual, excluding Brio Gold|
|Consolidated total cost of sales per unit sold||$||991||$||13.79||$||1.92|
|Consolidated co-product cash costs per unit produced (1)||$||650||$||8.96||$||1.58|
|Consolidated co-product AISC per unit produced(1)||$||897||$||12.65||$||2.03|
|Consolidated total cost of sales per unit sold||$||945 – 965||$||14.20||$||1.70|
|Consolidated co-product cash costs per unit produced (1)||$||665 – 675||$||10.55||$||1.60|
|Consolidated co-product AISC per unit produced (1)||$||890 – 910||$||14.30||$||2.00|
The following table presents cost of sales, co-product cash costs and co-product AISC guidance by mine for gold and silver for 2017.
|2016 cost of sales per unit sold||2017E cost of sales per unit sold||2016 co-product cash costs(1) per unit produced||2017E co-product cash costs (1) per unit produced||2016 co-product AISC(1,2) per unit produced||2017E co-product AISC (1,2) per unit produced|
|Canadian Malartic (50%)||$||1,025||$||945||$||606||$||560||$||795||$||730|
The following table presents sustaining capital and exploration spend expectations by mine for 2017.
|(in millions)||2016 Sustaining Capital Actual||2017 Sustaining Capital Guidance||2016 Total Exploration Actual||2017 Total Exploration Guidance|
|Canadian Malartic (50%)||$||51||$||51||$||8||$||11|
The Company expects approximately 75% of exploration spending will be capitalized in 2017. For 2017, there is an additional discretionary and generative exploration spending budget of approximately $21 million that is available and expected to be allocated based on results at Yamana’s various mines and assets. This would bring spending on exploration to $98 million for 2017.
The following table presents other consolidated expenditure expectations for 2017.
(excluding Brio Gold)
|Total sustaining capital (millions)||$||242||$||204|
|Total expansionary capital (millions)||$||117||$||270|
|Total exploration (capitalized and expensed) (millions)||$||84||$||98|
|Total Depreciation, depletion and amortization (“DDA”) (millions)||$||395||$||339|
|Total general and administrative (“G&A”) expense (millions)||$||86||$||91|
|Cash based G&A||$||82||$||82|
The preceding cost expectations relate to Yamana’s mines and exclude any attribution from Yamana’s interest in Brio Gold.
Over the years, the Company has grown through alternating phases of strategic acquisitions to upgrade its portfolio and pursuing organic growth within its portfolio to increase production and cash flow. The Company is currently in an organic growth phase, whereby it is focusing on the numerous internal opportunities under evaluation.
The key operational objectives in the next two years include:
The key operational objectives in the next five years include:
Consistent with the above objectives, the Company foresees a hiatus in significant expansionary capital spending after the completion of Cerro Moro and the Barnat extension at Canadian Malartic in 2018. Given the technical nature of the projects in Yamana’s pipeline, the Company is not expecting to begin development of any major projects in the next five years. With the expected reduction in capital spending and increase in production over the guidance period, the Company expects to generate significant increases in cash flow and free cash flow beginning in 2018.
Yamana remains a growth focused company and, in particular, is focused on incremental growth from existing producing mines or from the prudent development of high quality projects. The objective is to have a manageable number of mines in a select number of jurisdictions. More specifically, the Company has established an optimal portfolio size of between six and ten producing mines, all in jurisdictions where Yamana currently operates. By focusing on disciplined growth in Canada, Brazil, Chile and Argentina, the Company is better able to lever existing infrastructure and jurisdictional expertise.
Further, the Company is targeting mines that have the potential to produce at least 130,000 ounces of gold per year (approximately 10% of total attributable metal production on a gold equivalent basis), and this will be a key criterion for evaluating any mine or project in future years. The Company has not set a specific long term objective for consolidated gold production as it continues to believe that prudent growth, which balances increasing production and decreasing costs, is a better driver to create value.
Yamana predominantly produces gold. However, it also produces a significant level of silver and copper. While copper production is expected to be relatively consistent over the guidance period, silver production is expected to increase significantly. The production of silver and copper reflects a greater scale to the Company’s operations and potential to generate cash flow than is suggested by headline gold production taken on its own. The Company envisages an increase in the relative percentage of precious metals production as part of its plan to increase cash flow while continuing to benefit from steady state non-precious metals production.
The Company’s ownership of Brio Gold is held for investment purposes. Yamana believes there is considerable value yet to be surfaced from this portfolio of assets and that this value will be better realized with Brio Gold operating as a standalone public company. Yamana takes a long-term view of its ownership of Brio Gold; however, the Company will evaluate various monetization opportunities for its holding from time to time. Brio Gold offers a compelling growth opportunity with a portfolio of three producing mines with expected increasing production and one development project that could add significantly to the production platform.
OPERATIONAL AND FINANCIAL COMMENTARY
Gold production is expected to increase in the guidance period in each of 2018 and 2019 mostly as a result of increases in production at Chapada (with the addition of production from Suruca in 2019), at Canadian Malartic, and with new production from Cerro Moro.
Silver production is expected to increase more significantly, in percentage terms, than gold production almost entirely as a result of the ramp up of Cerro Moro production.
Copper production, all of which is from Chapada, is expected to remain constant throughout the guidance period.
With improvements in productivity and/or increasing grades at several operations, most notably El Peñón, Chapada, Jacobina, Canadian Malartic and Cerro Moro, Yamana’s costs are expected to decrease from 2017 levels into 2018 and 2019. Over this period, Yamana expects significant increases in cash flow overall driven by increases in production and improvements in costs with disproportionate cost improvements coming from El Peñón, Canadian Malartic, Chapada and Cerro Moro, the Company’s most significant cash flow contributing assets.
Commentary on specific mines is as follows.
Chapada: projected cost improvements and increases in gold production are attributable to mine optimizations presently underway and production from Suruca beginning in 2019. Production for gold is expected to increase to over 130,000 ounces in 2019.
Canadian Malartic: projected cost improvements and production increases are attributable to increases in grade, which are expected continue into 2018 with the contribution from the Barnat extension. Production is expected to increase to approximately 325,000 ounces on a 50%-basis beginning in late-2018.
El Peñón: production is expected to remain consistent throughout the guidance period although with the opportunity for production increases as more recent discoveries of extensions of larger ore bodies are evaluated.
Cerro Moro: the largest single contribution for overall production increases for both gold and silver is expected to come from Cerro Moro which is in development and is expected to begin operating in the first half of 2018, with a full year contribution in 2019. Production in 2019 is estimated at approximately 130,000 ounces of gold and 9.9 million ounces of silver. Cerro Moro is expected to be a significant contributor to cash flow as a result of the expected cash costs and AISC that are well below the Company’s current average cost structure. Average co-product cash costs and co-product AISC for 2018 and 2019 are expected to be below $500 per ounce gold and $7.50 per ounce of silver, and below $600 per ounce of gold and $9.00 per ounce of silver, respectively.
Jacobina: production is expected to be consistent throughout the guidance period with possible upside from grade improvements which could increase production and lower costs.
Minera Florida: production is expected to be consistent throughout the guidance period with possible upside from contributions from recent discoveries at Minera Florida which could increase production.
Gualcamayo: production is expected to be consistent throughout the guidance period with possible upside from contributions from recent near mine oxide discoveries. Costs in 2017 are estimated based on lower recoveries as there is more reliance on underground material than the preceding year. Costs should improve throughout the guidance period as recent oxide discoveries are developed and as the costs related to underground sub-level stoping improve after initial one-time upfront costs.
Yamana refers to its press release issued on February 14, 2017 which provided an exploration update relating to significant discoveries at its Minera Florida, Gualcamayo, El Peñón and Chapada mines. These discoveries will be evaluated this year to determine further contributions to mineral resources and mineral reserves, and possible increases in production. Production in the guidance period does not include possible further production contributions from these discoveries.
Among other efforts this year, Yamana will evaluate generative opportunities in its portfolio mostly related to advancing exploration assets in its Kirkland Lake camp and to dormant assets such as La Pepa, Suyai and Jeronimo.
Agua de la Falda, which is a joint venture (“JV”) with CODELCO and covers a broader area that includes Jeronimo, provides exceptional gold and copper exploration opportunities which will be evaluated this year. Yamana and CODELCO have been evaluating the possibility of re-processing historical heaps and other known near to surface oxide ore through the existing plant and facilities on site at Agua de la Falda, which could provide medium term production opportunities with minimum investment and serve as a platform for further increase in value of the JV. Subject to further detailed review, preliminary production estimates from this initiative are upwards of 40,000 ounces of gold per year for an initial 5 years. This could potentially more than fund all exploration and possible development efforts at Agua de la Falda.
In respect of El Peñón, as previously indicated, Yamana has reflected on the impact of new narrower vein discoveries and more recent discoveries of extensions of larger, higher grade ore bodies. In light of this, and given the already long life of El Peñón, which began producing in 1999, a more deliberate and reflective approach has been taken at El Peñón in relation to production. The objective has been to create a steady state operation with a more achievable production platform that is less dependent on very high levels of exploration and development spending. Exploration and development spending per year has been reduced significantly with a corresponding decrease in work force.
The following table compares exploration and development spending at El Peñón for 2016 with estimated amounts for 2017. A more complete description of the exploration strategy for El Peñón is provided in the previously referred to exploration update press release dated Febraury 14, 2017.
Overall, the objective has been to allow El Peñón to contribute meaningful levels of gold and silver production over a longer period, and to remain a very significant cash flow contributing mine. The revised plan for El Peñón establishes a platform that is more sustainable and that will deliver more consistent production going forward.
A significant portion of the expansionary capital budgets for 2017 and 2018 relates to Cerro Moro which, as previously noted, is expected to begin operations in 2018, and to the Barnat extension at Canadian Malartic which is expected to also begin to contribute to production in late-2018. Yamana’s expansionary capital is expected to decline significantly after completion of Cerro Moro and the Barnat extension beginning in late-2018.
In 2016, expansionary capital, not including Cerro Moro, was $58 million. Going forward, by 2019 as these projects are completed, Yamana expects its annual expansionary capital to decline significantly for several years to levels in the range of $50 to $75 million, absent any new projects moving into the development stage.
In early 2016, the Company stated the objective of reducing debt by at least $300 million between 2016 and 2017. Over the course of 2016, the Company reduced its net debt by approximately $160 million through various initiatives, including a going public event for Brio Gold, the sale of its Mercedes mine, the monetization of share purchase warrants of Sandstorm Gold Ltd., the early repayment of senior debt notes, the scheduled repayment of senior debt notes and a net repayment on its revolving credit facility. Only cash proceeds are reflected in debt reduction levels as non-cash consideration raised through the sale of Mercedes has not been monetized. As a longer term objective, the Company continues to target a Net Debt/EBITDA ratio of 1.5 or better, which it believes to be consistent with its prudent financial policy and planning.
The Company expects to more formally showcase a number of its mines throughout 2017. Specifically, more information is expected to be provided to the investment community through one or more dedicated investor day presentations and mine tours.
The Company expects to host mine tours to El Peñón, Minera Florida and, later in 2017 or early 2018, Cerro Moro. All materials relating the Company’s investor day and mine tours will be available on Yamana’s website, and while attendance at the events will be by invitation, the investor day presentation will also be available by webcast.
2017 foreign exchange rate assumptions are presented in the table below.
2016 exchange rates shown in the table above are the average realized exchange rates for the 12 months ended December 31, 2016. The exchange rates shown above are as at February 15, 2017 and were compiled from Bloomberg.
As at December 31, 2016, the Company had zero-cost collar contracts totaling 170.0 million Reais equally split by month covering January 2017 to April 2017 with Brazilian Real to United States Dollar average call and put strike prices of 3.40 and 4.13, respectively. In October 2016, the Company entered into zero-cost collar contracts totaling 400.0 million Reais with Brazilian Real to United States Dollar average call and put strike prices of 3.25 and 3.79 respectively, allowing the Company to participate in exchange rate movements between those two strikes. These contracts are evenly split by month covering May 2017 to December 2017. All contracts have been designated against forecast Reais denominated expenditures as a hedge against the variability of the United States Dollar amount of those expenditures caused by changes in the currency exchange rates.
Yamana is a Canadian-based gold producer with significant gold production, gold development stage properties, exploration properties, and land positions throughout the Americas including Canada, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Yamana plans to continue to build on this base through existing operating mine expansions, throughput increases, development of new mines, the advancement of its exploration properties and, at times, by targeting other gold consolidation opportunities with a primary focus in the Americas.