The gold miner made 57 cents a share in the fourth quarter by producing 689,600 ounces of gold at net cash costs of $164, including any silver or other by-product sales. The company saw record production at three of its mines and the first full quarter of production from its Penasquito mine in Mexico, which is one of the biggest silver mines in the world, which produced 4.6 million ounces of silver.
Cash flows came in at $1.7 billion for the year and Goldcorp grew its reserves by 23%. Although Red Lake, Canada's largest gold mine, is still the company's bread and butter, Penasquito is quickly becoming the icing on top.
The mine has 18.6 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves and 1.1 billion ounces of silver reserves. Compare that to Hecla Mining (HL), one of the oldest silver miners in the world whose proven and probable silver reserves are 142.1 million ounces, according to the company's Web site. Goldcorp doesn't get to keep all that silver, the company has a royalty agreement with Silver Wheaton (SLW) which gets 25% of all the silver mined annually for the life of the mine. The expectation is that Penasquito will produce 28 million ounces annually, giving 7 million ounces to Silver Wheaton and leaving 21 million ounces to Goldcorp. The massive amount of silver Goldcorp can produce is helping the company contain its cash costs, as inflation pressures mount on gold miners. The company is expecting to produce between 2.65-2.75 million ounces of gold in 2011 at net cash costs of $280-$320 an ounce, counting sales of silver and other metals. Despite increasing its annual dividend by 11% to 40 cents share, Goldcorp will spend $1.8 billion on its operations and projects this year as well as $170 million in exploration.
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