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Mining Explorers 2015: Hecla Mining Co.

 

Last updated 11/1/2015 at Noon



HL: NYSE

President and CEO: Phillips Baker Jr.

Chairman: Ted Crumley

Senior VP, Exploration: Dean McDonald

The low cost of producing silver at the Greens Creek Mine in Southeast Alaska is helping Hecla Mining Co. weather low metals prices. In addition to Greens Greek, the Idaho-based miner operates the Lucky Friday silver mine in Idaho and the Casa Berardi gold mine in Quebec. In June, Hecla bought Revett Mining Co. in an all-share transaction valued at roughly US$19 million. Hecla now owns the Rock Creek mine project in Montana, considered one of the largest undeveloped silver-copper deposits in North America. The San Sebastian project in Mexico, however, is expected to be the next Hecla mine to go into production.

Greens Creek has been the primary revenue generator for Hecla in recent years and much of the company's exploration is focused on replacing reserves at the mine with underground drilling and seeking new deposits across the 27-square-mile (70 square kilometers) property from the surface.

The company budgeted US$5.8 million for definition drilling that primarily consists of infill drilling aimed at developing mine plans for the Lower NWW, Deep 200 South, East Ore, Deep Southwest and 9a zones of the underground operation.

Hecla said drilling of the lower NWW zone has generally confirmed and upgraded the resource model of the shared and upper limbs.

Highlights include: 6.0 feet grading 107.3 ounces per short ton silver, 0.73 oz/ton gold, 4.0 percent zinc and 2.1 percent lead; and 6.2 feet grading 50.5 oz/ton silver, 0.14 oz/ton gold, 13.1 percent zinc and 7.3 percent lead.

Drilling at 200 South cut 6.2 feet averaging 61.9 oz/ton silver, 0.04 oz/ton gold, 2.1 percent zinc, and 1.3 percent lead over and 7.0 feet averaging 41.2 oz/ton silver, 0.04 oz/ton gold, 3.7 percent zinc and 3.2 percent lead along the upper limb.

Deep 200 South consists of three stacked folds of high-grade mineralization that has been traced for 600 feet of down-dip.

The mineralization remains open to the south, an area being tested in the second half of 2015.

Another US$2.4 million was allotted for exploration drilling targeting the Deep 200 South, 5250 and 9a zones trends; down-plunge of the Central West and East ore zones; and along the Southwest Bench upper contact and Gallagher Fault Block area.

Drilling at 9a has defined continuous mineralization along the southernmost portion of the mine contact within the Maki Fault.

Highlights include: 14 feet averaging 26.8 oz/ton silver, 0.01 oz/ton gold, 3.8 percent zinc and 2.4 percent lead; and 10.2 feet averaging 10.4 oz/ton silver, 0.06 oz/ton gold, 18.4 percent zinc, and 7.9 percent lead.

This year's exploration drilling at Gallagher, along with past intercepts, defines mineralized zones with 95 to 425 vertical feet of continuity over 1,000 feet of strike.

The first hole of a planned 10,000-foot surface program was drilled in the southeast portion of Killer Creek, an exploration target less than a mile west-northwest of the mine.

In August, Hecla reported that this hole intersected the "mine contact" at 1,580 feet.

This contact is located about 3,100 feet away from NWW mine infrastructure.

The surface program also tested the High Sore target which has surface base metal mineralization and is less than a mile southeast of the mine.

Cash and short-term deposits: US$196.2 million (June 30, 2015)

Working capital: US$220 million (June 30, 2015)

Market capitalization: US$838 million (Sept. 18, 2015)

6500 N Mineral Dr., Suite 200

Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815-9408

Tel: 208-769-4100 • Fax: 208-769-7612

http://www.hecla-mining.com

 

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