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Hecla's silver mining costs hit 5-year low


Last updated 1/16/2018 at 7:27pm

Hecla Mining Company April 20 reported that its Greens Creek Mine produced 1.9 million ounces of silver and 14,022 oz of gold during the first quarter of this year. While this is down from the 2.5 million oz of silver and 15,891 oz of gold recovered at the Southeast Alaska operation during the first three months of 2016, it is higher than the company expected.

This drop in metals production is primarily due to lower grades.

Mill throughput at Greens Creek averaged about 2,190 tons per day during the first quarter of this year, which is roughly the same as the same period of 2016.

Overall, Hecla's four mines - Greens Creek, San Sebastian (Mexico), Casa Berardi (Quebec) and Lucky Friday (Idaho) - produced 3.4 million oz silver and 56,113 oz gold, along with 15,537 tons of zinc and 8,636 tons of lead, in the first quarter.

Thanks to higher metals prices, Hecla's cost per ounce of silver produced during the first quarter was US84 cents after credits for the gold, zinc and lead also produced.

This is the lowest silver production cost for the miner in more than five years and well below the US$2.75/oz cost the company projected for 2016.

"This strong operating performance allowed us to add US$14 million of cash since the end of the year, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of increasing cash balances," said Hecla President and CEO Phillips Baker, Jr.

The Idaho-based miner ended the first quarter with roughly US$213 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments.



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