StockMarketWire.com - Precious metals company Yamana Gold reported a sharp increase in fourth-quarter profit following a jump in production.

The company reported fourth quarter net earnings were $103.0 million or $0.11 per share basic and diluted compared to net earnings of $14.6 million or $0.02 per share basic and diluted a year earlier.

Fourth quarter Gold equivalent ounce, or GEO, production was 255,361 GEO including gold and silver production of 221,659 ounces and 2.59 million ounces, respectively.

'The strong gold production followed standout performances from Jacobina and Minera Florida, and silver production was underpinned by an exceptionally strong performance from El Penon,' the company said.

Full year GEO production of 901,155 GEO, exceeded original guidance for the year of 890,000 GEO, and was within the plus or minus three per cent variance range of the company's revised guidance.

Looking ahead to 2021, the company expected total cost of sales within a range of $1,140 to $1,190 per GEO sold, compared to $1,151 in 2020.

The company also forecast total exploration to rise to $110 million in 2021 from $72.7 million in 2020.

The company declared a first quarter dividend of $0.02625 per share.

Shareholders of record at the close of business on March 31, 2021, would be entitled to receive payment of this dividend on April 14, 2021.

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