Yamana Gold ( AUY) announced Wednesday afternoon that it generated quarterly earnings of $179.4 million, or 25 cents per share, compared with 47.1 million, or 8 cents per share, during the same period last year.Analysts were expecting earnings of 4 cents per share, according to a census conducted by Thomson Reuters. Yamana produced 254,774 equivalent ounces of gold in the quarter at an average cost of $383 per ounce. The company earned an average realized price of $789 an ounce during the quarter. "We began to experience declining costs during the fourth quarter, confirming the expected downward trend and further increasing our margin to the gold price," said Peter Marrone, chairman and CEO of Yamana, in a prepared statement. Shares of Yamana Gold were recently lower 1% at $7.97 in after-hours trading.