Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Yamana Gold Inc., Canada’s fourth- largest gold producer by market value, may begin production at its Jeronimo gold project in Chile by late 2014, Chief Executive Officer Peter Marrone said.
The Toronto-based company plans to complete a feasibility study on the mine by mid-year, he said yesterday in an interview after Yamana released its fourth-quarter earnings statement. Yamana’s board will probably make a final decision on whether to proceed with construction before the end of the year, he said.
“It does look very favorable so far,” Marrone said. “Realistically, if we look at permitting and construction and startup of operations, we are looking at a horizon of somewhere between 22 and 30 months.”
Yamana, which has mines in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Chile, reiterated its 2012 production forecast of 1.2 million to 1.3 million ounces of so-called gold equivalent, rising to about 1.75 million ounces by 2014. Gold prices have increased for 11 straight years and reached a record $1,921.15 on Sept. 6 in London.
Yamana owns 57 percent of the Jeronimo project and Chile’s state copper company, Codelco, owns the balance. Marrone said in May he may seek a bigger stake.
The two parties have had “informal” talks on potential changes to the ownership structure, he said yesterday.
Fourth-quarter net income fell 29 percent to $89.6 million, or 12 cents a share, from $125.6 million, or 17 cents, a year earlier. Profit excluding an impairment loss on investments and other one-time items was 25 cents a share, beating the 24-cent average of 14 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
--Editors: Steven Frank, Simon Casey
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