* Q1 EPS $0.23 vs $0.20 a year earlier
* Revenue rises 18 percent
* CEO sees changes to open-pit mine ban
TORONTO, May 1 Yamana Gold Inc said on
Tuesday its quarterly profit rose 15 percent as revenue was
boosted by higher production and stronger gold prices.
The miner said net income for the first quarter was $170
million, or 23 cents per share. That compared with $148 million,
or 20 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.
On an adjusted basis, profit was $184 million, or 25 cents a
share, up from $152 million, or 21 cents a share, in the same
quarter of 2011.
Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 24 cents per
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 18 percent to $560 million, as the average
realized gold price increased to $1,696 an ounce, up from $1,387
an ounce in the year-ago period. Cash costs were $518 an ounce,
up from $449 an ounce.
Yamana's gold output increased 4 percent in the quarter to
278,832 equivalent ounces, as production was boosted by the
newly commissioned Mercedes mine in Mexico.
The higher gold output in the quarter was offset by a drop
in silver and copper production. Copper output fell to 38.3
million pounds from 45.6 million pounds, while silver production
was 2.2 million ounces compared with 2.3 million ounces in first
quarter of 2011.
The company said it is on track to produce 1.2 million to
1.3 million gold equivalent ounces in 2012, a 13 percent
increase over 2011 production.
Yamana is in the process of building three new mines, and is
in advanced development on two other projects, as it targets
output of 1.75 million gold equivalent ounces by 2014.
A feasibility study for its Jeronimo project in Chile is due
in June. Yamana is also developing the Suyai project in Chubut,
Argentina, where a law banning open pit mining has delayed
numerous major gold and silver mines.
Chubut elected a new governor last year and the company
expects changes to that law to be introduced later this year,
Chief Executive Peter Marrone told Reuters.
If the ban is lifted, development of the gold project could
be fast-tracked, he added. Suyai has the potential produce in
the range of 190,000 to 250,000 ounces a year.
"It's advanced enough to come to feasibility study very
quickly," said Marrone. "We're carrying just under 2.5 million
ounces of resources, almost all of which would convert to proven
and probable reserves."
Yamana is spending some $665 million on construction and
development this year and expects to start production at its two
new Brazilian mines, Ernesto and C1 Santa Luz, before year end.