Yamana Lights Up the Gold World


Like TheA-Team's cigar-toking kingpin, I love it when a plan comes together.

A little more than a year has elapsed since I declared Yamana Gold (NYS: AUY) the best bargain in gold, and already the shares have advanced more than 75% as the company's long-awaited glory days finally arrived. Following a remarkable operating performance in 2011, Yamana has lit up the gold world again this week with a massive cash margin of $1,517 for each of the 1.1 million gold-equivalent ounces (GEOs) the company produced. Revenues for the full year grew 29% to $2.2 billion, while cash flow from operations surged 48% to reach an astonishing $1.3 billion.

Delivering on another important aspect of this Fool's longstanding plan -- Yamana delivered substantial organic reserve growth, expanding reserves (net of production) by 11% to reach 18.6 gold-equivalent ounces. That total includes 82.9 million ounces of silver, which surpasses (for now, anyway) even the noteworthy silver reserves held by the fast-growing primary silver producerFirst Majestic Silver (NYS: AG) ! With 2.6 billion pounds of copper in reserves, Yamana boasts a stash equivalent to 60% of the reserve base at Taseko Mines' (ASE: TGB) flagship Gibraltar mine. More important for investors to understand is that much of Yamana's reserve growth in 2011 came from existing mines, including reserve additions of 20% each at El Penon and Jacobina

Referring to the El Penon mine in Chile, Yamana's top producer by volume, the company averred, "Continuous exploration effort on high-grade areas at El Penon is expected to return significant near surface gold and silver values, improve production, provide mining flexibility for a sustainable production level of at least 440,000 GEO per year, and ultimately increase mine life." In fact, Yamana's remarkable and sustained success at organic reserve growth overall permitted the company to convey heightened confidence in its effort to reach -- and then sustain -- 1.75 million GEOs of annual output by 2014.

I have a long-term plan in place to enjoy sustained dividend income and share-price appreciation from my stake in Yamana Gold, and the company continues to execute its growth trajectory in such a way as to leave me supremely confident in a profitable outcome. Since I pounded the table to explain why "Yawanna Have Yamana" back in 2008, the stock has grown more than 350%! With an industry-leading cost structure that not even low-cost marvelGoldcorp (NYS: GG) can match, as well as a steadily advancing dividend that currently yields 1.2%, I look forward to following this stock straight through $30 per share and beyond.

My bullish CAPSCall on Yamana Gold has been in place since 2006, and I have every intention of keeping this pick open for quite some time yet to come. Although deep-value turnaround story Primero Mining (NYS: PPP) remains my own favorite stock in the gold patch today, I freely concede that Yamana deserved a spot somewhere among my top 10 gold picks for 2012. To follow all my ongoing coverage of Yamana Gold and the precious metals miners at large, please bookmark my article list, follow me on Twitter, or add your favorite stocks using the Fool's MyWatchlist feature.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorChristopher Barkercan be foundblogging activelyand acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the usernameTMFSinchiruna. HeTweets. He owns shares of First Majestic Silver, Goldcorp, Primero Mining, Taseko Mines, and Yamana Gold.The Motley Fool owns shares of Primero Mining. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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