EXPLORATION BUDGET increases by 25%
(All dollar amounts are expressed in United States dollars unless otherwise specified)
TORONTO, May 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - YAMANA GOLD INC. (TSX:YRI; NYSE:AUY; LSE:YAU)("Yamana" or "the Company") today announced its Board of Directors has approved an increase in the annual dividend to $0.18 per share or $0.045 per share per quarter beginning in the third quarter of 2011. This represents a 50 percent increase over the prior annual dividend of $0.12 per share, or $0.03 per share per quarter. Effective in the third quarter of 2011, shareholders of record on the established record date that will be determined on formal declaration of the dividend will receive $0.045 per share rather than the $0.03 per share that they would otherwise have been entitled to.
Yamana is committed to delivering value to shareholders, across all measures including cash value by means of dividends. The Company has established a trend of paying quarterly dividends consistently since 2006. The dividend at this level better aligns the Company's dividend to its comparatively low cost structure, earnings and cash flow. Yamana's dividend yield is now one of the highest yields in the industry. The Company will continue this trend of returning greater value to shareholders in cash as earnings, cash flow and cash balances continue to increase.
"If we were to compare the level of the dividend from the beginning of 2010 to current levels, we would show over a four-fold increase from $0.01 to $0.045 per share per quarter. This is a reflection of our earnings generation capability, driven partially by our industry low cost structure and our robust and growing cash flows and cash balances. We remain confident in the commodity price environment and our ability to execute on our future growth and continued growth in cash and cash flow," commented Peter Marrone, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We have a track record of paying dividends and see this as an important way to deliver additional value to our shareholders."
The Board of Directors has also approved an increase in Yamana's exploration budget for 2011 to $105 million from $85 million, an increase of approximately 25 percent. The increased level of exploration spending is expected to carry over into future years, with as much as $125 million to be allocated to exploration in 2012. This increase will accelerate efforts on exploration particularly given recent exploration successes and will also contribute to the enhancement of the Company's internal organic growth initiatives.The additional funding will be used to accelerate the fast pace of discovery and enhance prospects for increased production levels at Mercedes in Mexico and Pilar in Brazil. Recent results at Pilar indicate a 2.6 kilometre down dip extension of the current resources, oriented toward the southwest which will be drilled further. Northwest of the known Jordino deposit, one of three deposits at Pilar, associated with the Ogo deposit, an additional 2.2 kilometre extension will also be tested further. Pilar has significant potential to become a much larger deposit demonstrated by the significant increase in the resources and prospectivity at this project. At Mercedes, the additional funding will further accelerate the exploration of the higher grade Lagunas Norte zone within the Barrancas system and continue to develop more resources to enhance the potential number of mining faces available at any one time, increasing the potential for higher production levels. The new exploration program will focus on near mine and regional efforts at El Penon in Chile, continuing on the previous years' regional exploration program and the discoveries of Pampa Augusta Victoria and the Elizabeth vein systems. The expanded program also includes advancing new projects including Arco Sul, which is the sulphide extension of the Fazenda Nova oxide deposit mined until 2007 by the Company. Drilling at Arco Sul will continue throughout 2011 with a mineral resource estimate expected in 2012.