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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Yamana Gold posts big Q4 loss of US$583.9M; cuts dividend almost in half

TORONTO - Yamana Gold (TSX:YRI) has cited a US$672-million impairment charge on mineral properties and other assets in posting a big net loss in its most recent quarter.

The Toronto-based gold miner also cut its quarterly dividend almost in half — to 3.75 cents per share from seven cents.

Yamana, which reports in U.S. dollars, said its net loss in the three months ended Dec. 31 was US$583.9 million or 78 cents per share, compared with a net profit of US$169.2 million or 23 cents per share in the same year-earlier period.

Revenue fell to US$420.6 million from US$629.5 million.

Adjusted earnings were US$36.7 million or five cents per share compared with $197.4 million or 26 cents in the prior-year period.

For the full year, Yamana reported a net loss of US$446.2 million or 59 cents per share on revenue of US$1.84 billion, compared with net earnings of US$442.1 million or 59 cents per share on revenue of US$2.34 billion in 2012.

Yamana, in explaining the reason for the dividend cut, said it was taking into account reduced margins since late 2012 because of lower metal prices.

"The rapid change in metal prices the past year has significantly compressed margins not withstanding mostly successful efforts to reduce costs," it said.

"(The cut) also takes into account a need to balance distributions to shareholders with the capital needs of prospective and high-quality opportunities," it added.

Yamana said the average realized gold price in the fourth quarter was US$1,277 per ounce, down from US$1,692 in the same 2012 quarter, while silver prices slumped to US$20.63 per ounce from US$31.37 and copper fell to US$3.37 a pound from US$3.54.

Yamana is a gold producer with producing, development stage and exploration properties and in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia.

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