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Edited Transcript of YRI.TO earnings conference call or presentation 15-Feb-19 2:00pm GMT

Q4 2018 Yamana Gold Inc Earnings Call

Toronto Feb 21, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Yamana Gold Inc earnings conference call or presentation Friday, February 15, 2019 at 2:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Daniel Racine

Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO

* Henry Marsden

Yamana Gold Inc. - SVP of Exploration

* Jason LeBlanc

Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO

* Yohann Bouchard

Yamana Gold Inc. - SVP of Operations

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Conference Call Participants

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* Anita Soni

CIBC Capital Markets, Research Division - Analyst

* Carey MacRury

Canaccord Genuity Limited, Research Division - Analyst of Metals and Mining

* Dan Rollins

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Head of Global Mining Research and Analyst

* Joshua Mark Wolfson

Desjardins Securities Inc., Research Division - Analyst

* Mark Llanes

Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Analyst

* Michael Parkin

National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - Mining Analyst

* Steven Howard Butler

GMP Securities L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research & Gold Analyst

* Tanya M. Jakusconek

Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Thank you all for joining us this morning. Before I turn the call over, I need to advise that certain statements made during this call today may contain forward-looking information, and actual results could differ from the conclusions or projections in that forward-looking information, which include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the estimation of mineral reserves and resources; the timing and the amount of estimated future production, cost of production, capital expenditures; future metal prices; and the cost and timing of the development of new projects.

For a complete discussion of the risks, uncertainties and factors, which may lead to actual financial results and performance being different from the estimates contained in the forward-looking statements, please refer to Yamana's press release issued yesterday announcing fourth quarter and full year 2018 results as well as the management's discussion and analysis for the same period and other regulatory filings in Canada and the United States.

I would like to remind everyone that this conference call is being recorded and will be available for replay today at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Replay information and the presentation slides accompanying this conference call and webcast are available on Yamana's website at yamana.com.

I will now turn the call over to Mr. Daniel Racine, President and CEO.

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [2]

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Thank you, operator. Good morning, and welcome to our fourth quarter and full year results conference call. Presenting with me on the call today is Jason LeBlanc, our CFO; and Henry Marsden, our Senior VP Exploration. The rest of management is also with us in the room and will be available for the Q&A portion of the call.

As you know, last month, a terrible event occurred in our industry in one of the countries in which we operate. Brazil is a country with high-quality protocol in health and safety. We want to assure you that Yamana maintain a robust high-quality tailing management facilities at all our operation. They are continuously monitored and evaluated. Our waste management facility in Brazil are newer and on a different type of design and not downstreaming from any communities. You can read more about the facilities in our CSR report, which is posted on our website. Our thoughts are with our friend and colleague in Brazil.

The health and safety of our employees are a major importance for us. We are happy to report that we had a 20% improvement in total recordable injury frequency rate from 2017. A number of our mines demonstrated the possibility of achieving the Yamana's Gold "One Team, One Goal: Zero" vision for sustainability, which reflects the company's commitment to 0 harm to employees, environment and community near mine operation.

We finished the year maintaining our focus on operation excellence by delivering production and improving our costs. Once again, we exceeded production expectation. We had a record gold production in 2018 from Canadian Malartic and Jacobina, and above expectation gold production from Chapada and El Peñón.

We also exceeded guidance for silver and copper. We are also very proud of our newest mine, Cerro Moro. In its first 6 months of production, the mine has exceeded average mill feed grade, recovery for gold and silver and exceeded guidance. 5 of our 6 mine did better than our guidance, so not too bad. And we will talk more about our R&R, but I'm happy to report that our exploration programs continue to deliver on mineral resources discovery and mineral reserve replacement and growth at Yamana's mine, excluding those that we've sold in 2018.

Peter and the team has been busy on advancing our strategic initiative, including the sale of Gualcamayo, option agreement on La Pepa, the combination of Leagold and Brio, and advancing development scenario for Agua Rica. For Agua Rica, we have looked at an integration scenario between Agua Rica and Alumbrera, and discussion are ongoing with our partners and stakeholders.

The operating results for the fourth quarter were solid, both with respect to production and cost, yet decline in metal prices and a certain onetime weighted -- items weighted on the company headline financial resort -- results. After accounting for onetime item, we delivered adjusted earning of $26.2 million or $0.03 per share. The most notable include noncash impairment reversal at Jacobina, which partially offset -- was partially offset by impairment at Florida and Malartic. Jason will speak to it in the financial overview section.

When looking at our cash flow in the quarter, it is important to account for the impact of copper advanced sale program in which 125 million of copper was presold in Q1 2018 with deliveries scheduled from Q3 2018 through Q2 2019. The impact of this program in the fourth quarter was $33.3 million.

Additionally, in the fourth quarter, the company incurred a $23.3 million (sic) [$33.3 million] onetime tax expense that was payable to the Brazilian tax authorities. The expense was unexpected, not consistent with the company's interpretation of the tax legislation and inconsistent with past practice. The company has made the payment so to avoid penalties and interest, but in respect of which the company is pursuing legal recourse and remedies.

In term of production, we had a strong year, beating the increased guidance set in October of 920,000 ounces. We also exceeded 2018 guidance for silver by 6% and copper by 3%. Importantly, production was delivered and all-in sustaining costs that were lower than the guidance cost ranges for all metals. For the other metals, all-in sustaining costs for silver was also below guidance range, while copper was modestly higher.

Last night, the company also released its third-year outlook for production and 2019 cost guidance. In terms of production, we are guiding for 1.06 million gold equivalent ounces in '19, 1.1 million ounces in 2020 and 2021. The company GEO's production guidance include contribution from gold and silver with silver converted to gold equivalent production at the ratio of 82.5:1 across the guidance period.

In the case of gold production, it is expected to benefit from continued strong performance across all mines led by production increase at Canadian Malartic, while silver production is expected to benefit from grade and production increase at Cerro Moro, in line with current mine plan. Copper production, which is not included in GEO, is expected to remain at 100 million pounds over the next 3 years.

Last year, at this time, we have guided 940,000 ounces for 2019. And yesterday, we came out with exactly the same number. For 2020, we guided 970,000 ounces. And now we are more conservative at 955,000 ounces. But I can tell you now that we won't come with a lower number next year at this time.

For copper, we have always guided 120 million pounds for this and the coming years. This is not negative or light. And they the same numbers you can see in all the presentation we did last year on our -- in our website.

In term of cost guidance, our 2019 cost guidance include full adoption of the World Gold Council methodology for all-in sustaining cost reporting. The cost metric have also been adjusted to reflect the production of their export tax in Argentina. Jason will walk through this reconciliation later in the presentation. On this slide, 2018 cost has been restated to reflect the updated methodology for cost reporting. On this basis, the low end of 2019 cost range is expected to remain relatively flat year-over-year.

Looking more closely at the mine-by-mine guidance for 2019, at Chapada, copper grade are expected to remain constant through the guidance period, with copper production forecast to hold steadily -- steady at 100 million pounds. Mill feed grade for gold are forecast to decline year-over-year with cost guidance set at 100,000 ounces. The decline is consistent with mine sequencing as reflected in previously published technical report.

The Phase 1 project targeting a further 2% improvement in flotation recovery is tracking well for the completion and commissioning by midyear. The feasibility study for Phase 2 and Phase 3, mill expansion and pit wall pushback, in the main Chapada pit is also progressing well and is expected to be completed by midyear.

Based on the work completed to date, the phase plan show that the potential to sustain annual production in the range of 100,000 to 110,000 ounces of gold and 150 million to 160 million pounds of copper until 2024. This represent an opportunity to deliver significant cash flow increase and cash flow return and does not include the gold-only potential at Suruca.

For Jacobina, 2019 is forecast to be as strong as 2018. Jacobina is a very positive turnaround story for Yamana, both in term of operating results and exploration potential, with -- which Henry will discuss. With significant underground development work complete and the surface stockpile of approximately 100,000 tonnes at 2 grams per tonne, the mine continue to be well positioned to deliver on its production and cost target.

Production and costs were better than expected at Canadian Malartic in 2018, and that trend should continue in 2019. Production in 2019 is forecast to be 330,000 ounces, in line with the plan, with production costs to similar to those reported in 2018.

The Extension Project is continuing according to plan with ore contribution from Barnat expected to begin in late 2019, with more meaningful contribution in 2020 and 2021, with production expected to increase to the guidance period.

On the exploration front, the company continues to see encouraging drill result at East Malartic and Odyssey project, with drilling ongoing to extend and upgrade the mineral resources in these zones.

At Cerro Moro, gold equivalent production for 2019 is expected to be in line with plan with gold of 130,000 ounces and silver at 6 million ounces. The operation will focus on optimizing the underground mining design and processing practices, building on the success delivered in the first 6 months of the operation. The exploration budget has been increased by 33% over 2018, which will be used for an aggressive drill program designed to test major structure, while continuing to generate new target in the company's very large land package.

At El Peñón, GEO production in 2019 is forecast to be in line with production guidance for 2018, with cost expected to be lower than those reported in 2018. I would note for the first half of the year, the plan costs were increased underground development activity, which is expected to drive higher grade and higher production from El Peñón in the second half of 2019. Overall, El Peñón continue to perform well for Yamana with production tracking 200,000 GEO and reserve up by 5% over depletion.

Similar to the approach taken at El Peñón and Jacobina in the past, at Florida, the focus of updating the mine life plan is to right size the operation at a sustainable production level, maximize operating margin and advance mine development and mineral reserves delineation. From there, the company can deliver mine flexibility and scope for the future potential production increases.

For 2019, higher mining rate are expected in PVS and Pataguas zone with overall production expected to improve modestly. Several cost containment initiatives planned for 2019 are expected to continue to lower our overall cost.

I will now pass over to Henry to speak on company exploration program.

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Henry Marsden, Yamana Gold Inc. - SVP of Exploration [3]

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Thank you, Daniel. Exploration had a good year in 2018, maintaining a relatively steady total reserve and showing an increase in resources even after conversion to reserves. This allows Yamana to remain a long-term reserve life index and continue to add to its mine life at its main assets.

Overall, gold reserves have remained steady in spite of pit depletion at Canadian Malartic. This is due to a near steady replacement of mine depletion at its main sites and strong new contributions from the Brazilian assets. Resources have increased with the replacement of reserve conversion at most sites and strong additions from Chapada, Jacobina and the East Malartic zone of Malartic.

When we look on a site-by-site basis, we've seen significant new reserve growth in both gold and copper at Chapada. This is driven largely by drill increases at the Baru and Sucupira complex, allowing engineering to move the high-grade Sucupira zone to reserve status.

Exploration for higher-grade, near-surface, near-mine resources resulted in the discovery of the Baru northeast zone in 2018. And this effort will continue in 2019.

Malartic focused on the deeper zones at Odyssey, East Malartic and 117, adding significant new measured and indicated on the East Malartic zone. The 2019 program will continue on these zones, but will also focus on some near-surface exploration in the eastern part of the trend.

El Peñón had a very strong year. Replacing depletion and adding inferred in the core of the mine in the Dorada vein system, continuing to extend the mine life of this quality asset. Cerro Moro completed the first year of an aggressive exploration program, partially replacing depletion, adding some inferred and building a strong inventory of targets that we will attack with an aggressive 2019 exploration program.

Jacobina focused on increasing grade and had spectacular results during the year. We've seen large additions to all categories, driven largely by increases in grade. This program will continue with the same focus in 2019.

Exploration at Minera Florida focused on the core mine area, focusing on reserves and resources and trying to add new grade zones at higher-than-norm grade. This focus will continue in 2019.

Our greenfield effort was also expanded substantially in 2019. We added 2 new exploration projects. We reactivated some of our key internal assets and aimed to fuel a long-term pipeline of quality projects for the future.

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [4]

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Thank you, Henry, and good morning, everyone. As Daniel mentioned, I want to take some time to walk through the changes in our cost reporting that will take effect from our Q1 reporting onwards. Our 2019 guidance has been issued in accordance with these new metrics and may have a bit of a different look and feel from our 2018 numbers.

First of all, while we continue to report detailed information for gold and silver production as part of our disclosure, our cost reporting will now be on a gold equivalents ounce sold basis going forward. Our GEO calculations will be based on the average realized gold-to-silver ratio for the quarter. Our updated cash cost metric has moved to be more transparent and comparable with our industry peers and more closely aligned with GAAP measures.

Cash cost now line up with the GAAP-based cost of sales metric before DD&A and including treatment and refining charges. As previously noted when we released our 2018 production results in January, we along with a number of peers worked with the World Gold Council to create an updated and standardized metric for ASIC. We have reclassified a number of items but most notable new inclusions for Yamana are the addition of capitalized exploration, closure-related costs and stock-based comp. The full reconciliation tables can be found in our MD&A that we filed last night. But I'll take a moment here to walk through a few illustrations using Cerro Moro as an example.

Here you see a waterfall chart to show how our new AISC guidance for Cerro Moro in 2019 tied to the previous 2019 cost guidance, which was $650 per ounce on a gold co-product basis. The largest impact comes from including items that are ultimately cash flow neutral and were simply reported in a different manner previously. This includes the existing Bocamina sale tax in Argentina that was previously treated as a reduction of revenue in our capitalized exploration spending. These changes do not affect the free cash flow of the operation.

The other main item is the Argentina export tax that was introduced in 2018, and is scheduled to be in place for 2 years through 2020. At current commodity prices, we forecast it will add approximately $130 per GEO or $30 million per year to Cerro Moro's cost. But this temporary tax only covers the modest portion of the mine's life. So the overall net asset value and upside to net asset value from mine life extensions is intact. Last on this point is that this level of tax is higher and is contemplated in our fiscal stability agreement. So we are in discussions with the national government on this matter.

I also wanted to highlight how our new cash cost metric ties directly to cost of sales per unit with the inclusion of DD&A per unit. In the case of Chapada, we would also add TCRCs. But for the example here, we use Cerro Moro again. We anticipate that the current depreciation cost on a per unit basis at Cerro Moro will improve as we advance further on our 1 million GEO exploration target there.

Turning now to our quarterly financial performance. We generated $483 million in revenue for the quarter, our highest revenue quarter of 2018. The revenue was similar to Q4 last year, benefiting from the contribution at Cerro Moro and higher copper sales, offsetting lower attributable gold ounces following the disposition of Brio Gold in Gualcamayo. Revenue in the quarter, however, was impacted by elevated precipitate levels in inventory at Cerro Moro.

Higher-than-planned silver fee grades created capacity constraints at the mine furnace and this affected our sales volumes, resulting in an extra 15,000 ounces of gold and about 800,000 ounces of silver remaining in inventory at the end of the year. We expect this inventory will normalize to about 25% at current levels over the first half of 2019, which will add approximately $25 million in revenue above guided production.

Operating costs during Q4 were also the lowest of the year on a strong production performance, cost discipline and the depreciation of local operating currencies.

Net loss attributable to Yamana equity holders for the quarter was $61 million or $0.06 per share. But when considering typical adjusting items for the quarter, we had adjusted earnings of $0.03 per share. As Daniel mentioned, there were some significant events that occurred in the quarter that were noncash in nature or not reflective of ongoing operations, the most notable being the noncash impairment reversal at Jacobina, impairment at Florida and the impairment of goodwill at Malartic. The impairment reversal at Jacobina followed from an extension of the mine life due to increased reserves and resources and many other sustainable operational improvements.

At Florida, recent operating performance and a reset of the mine resulted in an impairment of its carrying value. Similar to the approach we took at Jacobina and El Peñón previously, the current focus at Florida is to right size the operation at a sustainable production level, while we deliver mine flexibility and scope for future production increases.

We have high confidence in the geologic opportunity at the mine, but we'll be able to pursue that better from an optimized platform. There was also a onetime $33 million tax payment made in Brazil at the end of Q4 that was not anticipated. We do not believe a similar event is likely again. In this incidence, we believe the revenue taxing authority there applied an incorrect interpretation of recent tax legislation that led to this payment. We decided to make this payment to avoid penalties on this decision as a normal administrative process to challenge such a decision was not available and not consistent with prior practice. We are disputing this payment on both fundamental and administrative grounds.

Our cash flow generation for the quarter on a normalized basis was also our strongest of the year. Cash flow from operations before working capital was $115.9 million. But when normalizing for our copper prepay and a nonrecurring tax payment, cash flow would have been $182.5 million, or more reflective of the performance during the quarter. However, with the inventory buildup at Cerro Moro, which will reverse this year and the unexpected tax payment, we ended the year behind schedule in terms of our balance sheet improvement. I expect this to be back on track for 2019.

Our portfolio of assets has been consistently delivering in terms of production and cost. We are at the end of a period of heavy capital spending and anticipate new contributions from assets like Cerro Moro. So we are well positioned for a reduction in our net debt over the next few years and are committed to a net debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 1.5 turns or better.

As a reminder, we delivered just under 11 million pounds into the copper advanced sales program in Q4. The proceeds of which were received back in early 2018 as part of an overall $125 million advance payment. If not for that timing difference, cash flows would have been $33 million higher this quarter, which is more reflective of what the normalized cash flows would have looked like. The two remaining quarters of the program have lower quantities to be delivered at about 8 million pounds of copper in each of Q1 and Q2 this year.

I'd also like to cover off a few quick guidance items. We expect sustaining capital to total $182 million and DD&A to total $475 million this year, both a little higher than last year with the addition of the full year contribution from Cerro Moro. The largest portion of our expansionary capital budget, $34 million, relates to the Malartic expansion project. As anticipated, expansionary capital, on the whole, is down quite significantly year-over-year following the completion of Cerro Moro.

Our total exploration spending will be modestly lower year-over-year as we have focused in on our best opportunities to drive mine life extensions and net asset value improvement. Cerro Moro is receiving a larger portion of our exploration dollars, for example, given the opportunity there and our focus to add to our GEO inventory.

With that, I'll now turn the call back over to Daniel.

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [5]

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Thank you, Jason. Maybe before going to the Q&A part, I would like to say that we'll continue to be focused on operation excellence, discipline on our cost and production, deliver on our guidance. And then like Jason mentioned, with the actual price of metals, we will generate free cash flow this year and lower our debt.

I'll now return the -- operator, we're ready for the Q&A section.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) The first question is from Mike Parkin with National Bank Financial.

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Michael Parkin, National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - Mining Analyst [2]

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Thanks for the details on the Brazilian tax payment. Can you just give us a bit more color on how did the government kind of come to you asking for that? And just a little more explanation on why you feel there's no risk of a repeat?

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [3]

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Yes. Sure, Mike. Jason here. So the payment we made very late in Q4, in fact, was an extension payment on from what we talked about in 2017 and 2018. So essentially a final reassessment on that -- those prior payments was issued. We interpreted the payments previously with the benefit of both our internal and external resources confident that we applied it in the correct manner. And then what happened lately, the government reassessed this for amount different than that. Normally, when a situation like that happens, you have a administrative process which would allow due process. And for the taxpayer, if they feel that there was a mistake made in that calculation to challenge that. That was not provided for here. We had to make the payment by the end of December and within a couple of weeks, actually, or risk the program that we entered into previously. And that was just an intenable situation for us. That -- those prior payments were made with a philosophy of reducing risk, so this would be contrary to that. So we made the payment. And now we'll move to our legal court -- legal recourse to challenge that on both, as I said, fundamental ground for the actual calculation of the payment, and then from an administrative process where we were not given that opportunity to challenge the payment so...

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Michael Parkin, National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - Mining Analyst [4]

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Okay. So rewinding like a couple of years or so ago, when you press -- you had in your MD&A the details of the final program that dictated annual payments of $8.6 million or which you then opted against and paid the lump sum. Those numbers were calculated by your own team, not the tax authorities?

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [5]

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That's a process where we would apply those payments on that basis with the benefit of external tax and legal opinion as well, yes. And then there's always a final true-up assessment through what's called the consolidation process in Brazil. So what I maybe the -- what I can add further on this is, we do feel our case is pretty strong. I mean, we can't say there's any amount of certainty to it in timing. But we will pursue that aggressively. And then really if -- my confidence in saying there is no repeat here is that this is it, our worst case scenario is that we made this last payment, and it's over. And we're not successful in our attempt to challenge and recover this payment. So there's no construct for any further payments here.

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Michael Parkin, National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - Mining Analyst [6]

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Right. Okay. And then just on Cerro Moro. You guys have given us some good detail there in terms of how that silver inventory comes in, in the first half of this year. Would that be -- is there kind of a level that we should expect in terms of ounces sold? Like it seems like there's kind of a max amount you're able to kind of pull it out of the system based on the furnace restraints. Is there -- is that going to be fairly consistent kind of Q1 to Q2 or a little more in Q1 versus Q2?

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [7]

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I think to be conservative, I assume it's probably a little bit more geared to Q2.

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Michael Parkin, National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - Mining Analyst [8]

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Okay. And then one last question. With the reserves and resources at Cerro Moro, in the kind of fall, we've kind of been led to believe that -- I felt at least that it'd be more of kind of a flat or maybe even modestly up year-over-year, which wasn't the case. Can you just give us a bit more detail in terms of how the exploration program was kind of laid out? And what your potential expectations are this year? Is there a little more infill work where we could see more significant addition to reserves this year?

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Henry Marsden, Yamana Gold Inc. - SVP of Exploration [9]

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Certainly. Last year, we didn't discover the Veronica vein. But we've only pulled a part of the Veronica resources up into reserve status. So we'll be continuing to infill on Veronica. We'll also be doing some infill on some of the Escondida zones. But our main focus really on Cerro Moro is longer term. We're trying to -- we're developing a large inventory of potential targets. And I would hope to see our largest increase in 2019 will be largely in the inferred category as we discover new vein systems and ensure a longer-term mine life at Moro.

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Operator [10]

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The next question is from Dan Rollins with RBC Capital Markets.

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Dan Rollins, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Head of Global Mining Research and Analyst [11]

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Just wondering if you could provide a little bit more color on the working capital flows? I know in past years, you've expected it to be balanced, and it's coming more negative than positive. Obviously, you have the benefit of Cerro Moro silver drawdown. But net-net, do you expect positive change in working capital this year or negative working change in capital? And if so what sort of magnitude are you looking at within the outlook for 2019?

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [12]

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Again -- it's Jason here again. Yes, so I'd assume bit more flattish over the course of the year. You remember what we faced in 2018 was the build-out of Cerro. So we had a few things going on there in terms on first fills on inventory, VAT tax, which will start to chew into this year. And then I talked about the normalization of payables from the 2017 basis. So I feel like that's on a more sustainable basis now. Q4, I did say previously, I felt like we'd have an improvement in Q4 of '18, and really the reconciliation on that is what I mentioned the precipitate level at that Cerro Moro there. So that really accounted for my -- for being under on the working capital side.

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Dan Rollins, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Head of Global Mining Research and Analyst [13]

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Okay. And then when you noted positive free cash flow, if -- just looking the Q3 MD&A, your free cash flow definition doesn't include growth capital. So the free cash flow -- your statement of being positive free cash flow in 2019, does that include nonsustaining capital expenditures as well as exploration?

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [14]

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Yes, Dan. Yes, exactly, that would be bottom line after everything to a final change in cash. And you know take a step back even on Q4, I think that if not for the inventory levels that I mentioned, the precipitate, we had the tax payment. And then we did put in our disclosure. We've got some metal tied up with one of our refiners, if you tally all those guys up, you've got about $75 million that -- for not those items, we would've had pretty strong final change in cash for 2018 Q4.

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Dan Rollins, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Head of Global Mining Research and Analyst [15]

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Okay. And just moving on to Chapada. Obviously, now that you've got everything sort of up and running, the operational consistency is being delivered from the company, one of the goals that the company has been to naturally delever the balance sheet. But my question is like, is it necessary to continue to run the mining rates so hard at Chapada right now? Or would it be maybe more prudent just to sort of idle some trucking -- some trucks reducing the amount of low-grade; stockpile and doing -- and sort of use that next couple of years to generate that -- improve that balance sheet? And then allow you to generate a little bit more additional capital to fund out the Phase 1 and potentially Phase 2 expansions at Chapada. It just seems to be a very large number this year on the low-grade stockpiles?

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [16]

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Dan, we always do the evaluation depending on metal prices, what's the best for us to do at Chapada. And then if you look at our actual budget, we're going to slow down a bit at Chapada compared to 2018, and the year before. We have less movement of rock. But it all depends. Sometimes if it makes more sense and generate more cash flow for us to mine these tonne and stockpile some of it, we're going to do it. But at the end of the day, it's the free cash flow of the operation. If each operation, they have to generate cash, and -- what's the best return on each mine, this is -- it's not only Chapada, all of them. This is where we're doing our job is to look at each of them and see what's the best option. Chapada, of course, generate big stockpile, but we have also in mind that we have -- we're studying what's the future of Chapada. So we have to balance what's the best. Yes, you're right, we can slow down Chapada, but then we're going to produce 70,000 ounces and then 120 million tonne of copper. And then if you do the math on this, you can see, there's a huge impact compared to being at 100 and 120 and above. So there's always a balance to do.

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Dan Rollins, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Head of Global Mining Research and Analyst [17]

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Okay, understood. Again, appreciated the company, guys, in adopting the more conservative cost guidance going forward. I think that's something that is great to see and brings you, I think, more in line with your peers. So appreciate taking more conservative approach.

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [18]

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Thank you, Dan.

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Operator [19]

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The next question is from Steven Butler with GMP Securities.

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Steven Howard Butler, GMP Securities L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research & Gold Analyst [20]

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Questions -- 2 questions on Cerro Moro. Given, of course, you've been feeding fairly high grades, which has been some of the bottleneck, I guess, for the furnace. Do you have any plan to retrofit or add to furnace capacity at Cerro Moro? Or as you see grade profile kind of abating, it will no longer be an issue going forward?

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [21]

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Yes, actually, Steve, we have ordered a new furnace that will be installed in this quarter. This is why Jason said that's more toward Q2 that we'll see the decrease in inventory. One of the main reason is we're installing a third furnace with unexpected very high grade because the grade is higher than planned for silver that generate bottleneck at the refinery. It's a good problem to have, to have better grade. But yes, we brought a third furnace. It's going to be installed and then in production for Q2.

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Steven Howard Butler, GMP Securities L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research & Gold Analyst [22]

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Jason, then just to clarify again on your -- on Slide 15, you talked about the new export -- new Argentina export tax being temporal or temporary ending in 2000. Remind us again the reason for it to end in 2020? Is it just the deal you have? Or is that the structure of the...

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [23]

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Yes, the approval by Congress was, frankly, in place through 2020. That's where it stands now.

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Steven Howard Butler, GMP Securities L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research & Gold Analyst [24]

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Okay, that's fine. And what is the Bocamina sales tax rate again?

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [25]

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At 3%, Steve.

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Operator [26]

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The next question is from Josh Wolfson with Desjardins.

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Joshua Mark Wolfson, Desjardins Securities Inc., Research Division - Analyst [27]

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Most of my questions have been asked. Just one on the stockpile movement. Longer-term, or I guess, what the plan is for stockpiling? Should we continue to expect that Chapada outflow for a number of years going forward? Or is there a point at which that stops?

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Yohann Bouchard, Yamana Gold Inc. - SVP of Operations [28]

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Yohann, here on the line. You know regarding stockpile at Chapada, I'd like to say that we're reassessing stockpile on a yearly basis. As Daniel said, it's based on the metal price, it's based on recovery or per type of ore. So we run through optimizers every year. And as long as we're having higher-grade zones to mine, for us, it makes sense to stockpile. Again, this is to generate and to focus on cash flow generation. So for sure, the moment, I would say that the grade is going to be quite similar to all of our pits. You're going to see less movement of stockpile on surface. There's no doubt about that.

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [29]

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Okay. And it's also just to add on Yohann's comment. It's also why we're doing study on Phase 2 in order to do a mill increase. Because by doing this, then there will be no more stockpile generation. Actually, we'll slowly start to deplete the stockpile with that. It won't happen in the next couple of years. But in the year after 2020, '22, '23, we should not see stockpile increase anymore, if we go ahead with the project.

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Joshua Mark Wolfson, Desjardins Securities Inc., Research Division - Analyst [30]

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Okay. Is it safe to assume then the current expenditures for the stockpiling until 2022 or 2023 will stay similar, though?

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [31]

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No, because like, Yohann mentioned, it -- each year, we put that in our optimizer; our guys are doing it. And then it varies. It all depends on -- there's so many factors and then we have different pit at Chapada. If we go mine barrels sooner than planned, that's higher grade, and then we won't need as much stockpile as we have right now. So it's a balance we guide this year what will be the amount for Chapada and Malartic and that will change next year. They will be different numbers. There will be some stockpile for sure for both, for Malartic it's still a couple of years when we're going to be in Barnat, then the stockpile will decrease. So they will continue to increase this year and next year and probably 2021. And then after that, they will decrease. I can see a similar trend for Chapada if we go ahead with the expansion project. So to be conservative, you can assume that 2020 will be similar to what we are forecasting for 2019.

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Operator [32]

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The next question is from Mark Llanes with Crédit Suisse.

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Mark Llanes, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Analyst [33]

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Most of my questions have already been asked, but just 2 quick questions on Chapada again. I know you mentioned various stockpiles at 99 tonnage at 0.16 grams per ton gold. Could you remind me again what your criteria is to the grade and tonnage and what goes into the stockpile this year? And what was even the cost when determining the $57 million in your stockpile CapEx guidance?

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [34]

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Jason, on the cost?

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [35]

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Yes, we showed you the cost, Mark. What are you looking for? You want the tonnage?

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Mark Llanes, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Analyst [36]

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The unit cost when gold -- for the $57 million? Like what's the tonnage going into the stockpile?

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [37]

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At Chapada or Malartic?

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Mark Llanes, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Analyst [38]

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Chapada.

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [39]

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Chapada? Yes, it's about $4 per ore tonne, I think, something like that.

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Mark Llanes, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Analyst [40]

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Okay. And my next question is, for the impairments at Malartic and Minera Florida, can you give me some color as to what the indicative of impairment there? And what was the main drivers for the write-down?

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [41]

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Yes, sure, Mark. I'll start with Malartic first. So with goodwill, you have to tax for goodwill every year, so there doesn't necessarily to be -- need to be any indicator there. So we taxed it in relation to the overall value of the operation. In this case, we did have that slight impairment of the tax on goodwill that arose from the acquisition at Malartic. In the case of Florida, as we've outlined in the disclosure, it's really taken the -- taken a look at how the mine has had been performing over the course of 2017 and 2018. So that's the primary factor there. So with the cost, with the underperformance, that's really the trigger. We also looked at some of the fixed capital there in terms of the PTR plan so that would have been another driver of us having to look a little closer at Florida.

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Operator [42]

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The next question is from Anita Soni with CIBC.

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Anita Soni, CIBC Capital Markets, Research Division - Analyst [43]

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Just a follow-up on that goodwill impairment at Malartic. I'm just a little curious about the magnitude of that versus the one that Agnico took, about $250 million. So could you comment on the criteria you use? I'm assuming it's something to do with gold price where you may have written this -- written some of this down previously? Or the swap that you did with Upper Beaver?

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Jason LeBlanc, Yamana Gold Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & CFO [44]

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Yes, okay. Anita, so it's -- our understanding is that I think when you wade through some of the details, it would be a similar impairment. What you need to do is go back and look in 2014, how each of the companies would have completed their purchase price allocation. I believe the other company had more allocation to goodwill, which resulted in higher impairment compared to what you monitored here.

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Operator [45]

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The next question is from Carey MacRury with Canaccord Genuity.

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Carey MacRury, Canaccord Genuity Limited, Research Division - Analyst of Metals and Mining [46]

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Just a question on Cerro Moro. You've been targeting roughly 1 million ounces of GEOs to add over the next a little while. I'm just wondering what's your time frame do you put on that And is that still the target?

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [47]

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Yes, it's still that target of 1 million GEO. Henry can comment on this. But our target is within the next 3 years to achieve that target.

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Henry Marsden, Yamana Gold Inc. - SVP of Exploration [48]

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Yes certainly, Carey. We had our first really strong year of exploration last year. The intention in that year was really to kind of build our capacity and our inventory of targets. The company has given us a much stronger budget for the upcoming year. And we expect to continue doing that for 2 years afterwards. So I think we're on target for that. And we should be seeing -- as I mentioned earlier, hopefully, we'll be seeing some good increases in our inferred inventory by the end of next year.

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Carey MacRury, Canaccord Genuity Limited, Research Division - Analyst of Metals and Mining [49]

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And then maybe on the Chapada guidance. Does that include the expected 2% increase in recovery?

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [50]

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Yes, for the second half of this year, Carey. That project will be completed in -- at the end of the first half. So at second half, we have increased recovery by 2% for both gold and copper.

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Carey MacRury, Canaccord Genuity Limited, Research Division - Analyst of Metals and Mining [51]

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And then maybe one final question. I know you're working on the Chapada Phase 2 study. But is there any sort of guidance you can give on the range of capital you'd expect for that? Or is it too soon?

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [52]

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No, it's in our -- on our website on many presentations we did last year. It's about $250 million for both the expansion and the pit wall pushback. If I remember right, it's $140 million for the expansion.

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Operator [53]

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And the next question is from Tanya Jakusconek with Scotiabank.

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Tanya M. Jakusconek, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [54]

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Maybe Daniel, can we talk a little bit about Minera Florida? We did see the change in reserves there. I think the comment was on the underperformance of 217, 218 (sic) [2017, 2018] and relooking at the cost. I just want to get an idea of longer term, I think the target had been to get to 120,000 ounces by 2021, in terms of a mine plan. Can you talk a little bit about how you see this operation going now that you've relooked at your reserve base?

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [55]

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Yes, Tanya, first, we have used more conservative ways of doing our resources and reserve at Florida. We've decided to be more consistent around the 90,000 ounces for next few years. We built that resources reserve at Florida. We -- this year, finally, we will be able to drill really well PVS and Pataguas where last year, it was challenging. As you know, when you know the topography there is difficult from surface, from underground, we had to do a ventilation raise to make sure there was enough ventilation for our drillers to go there. So we have adopted a more conservative approach on Florida to rebuild the base. And then we'll see what happen this year. I think it's a very critical year for Florida on exploration. If you -- look, we have lowered our budget there, but we all know that we're going to spend more money than what we've put in our guidance on our budget for Florida. We're still very optimist on Florida. But we better lower our expectation, adjust our cost and then Yohann and the team, this is what they have done, I think, mainly in the past few months, they had great cost in November and December. And then it's going to continue in this quarter and then this year. So we want to generate. The first objective is to generate free cash flow from that mine. Then after that, reinvest. We better go slowly, but achieve what we're seeing. So that target of 120 to 130, it's further away now than in 2000. It will still be an increase this year compared to last year and then 2020 and '21 compared to this year. But it will be a smaller increase than we first start, maybe Henry will want to add.

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Tanya M. Jakusconek, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [56]

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So maybe in your guidance for 2020, 2021, should we look at this mine producing under 100,000 ounces?

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [57]

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Yes, that's the guidance we've put out yesterday. In both cases, Florida is around 85,000 ounces. So you can then meet the numbers for the others. But I can tell you, the Florida is 85,000 ounces for the next 2 years.

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Operator [58]

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There are no further questions registered at this time. So I would like to turn the meeting back over to Mr. Racine.

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Daniel Racine, Yamana Gold Inc. - President & CEO [59]

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Thank you very much, operator. We don't have any further comments. Thank you.

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Operator [60]

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Thank you. The conference has now ended. Please disconnect your lines at this time, and we thank you for your participation.