More silver, management shift for Hecla
Greens Creek boosts silver output, Lauren Roberts returns North of 60 Mining News – August 9, 2019
Last updated 9/26/2020 at 5:18am
Hecla Mining Company sees higher grades at its Greens Creek Mine in Southeast Alaska as a catalyst for higher companywide silver production this year.
"Silver production at Greens Creek continued to be strong due to higher grades, so we are increasing our estimates for silver production for the year," said Hecla Mining CEO Phillips Baker, Jr.
Through the first half of 2019, the Greens Creek Mine has produced 4.6 million ounces of silver, which accounts for roughly 77 percent of Hecla's 5.9 million oz of companywide silver production for the year.
During the three months ending June 30, this operation near Juneau produced 2.4 million oz of silver, which is 19 percent higher than the same period of 2018. Hecla said higher ore grades from the underground mine is the primary reason for this increase.
"Our strong silver production reflects the continued outperformance of Greens Creek, which had higher grades and recoveries during the quarter as expected," said Baker.
With higher grades expected for the balance of 2019, the Idaho-based miner expects its Alaska operation to churn out 9 million oz of silver this year. This is a roughly 17 percent increase from the 7.7 million oz predicted from the mine at the onset of 2019.
Thanks to this increase, coupled with slightly more silver from its Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho and Nevada Operations, Hecla anticipates companywide silver production to be 11.7 million oz this year.
With 9.23 million tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 11.5 oz/t (107.1 million oz) silver; 0.09 oz/t (840,000 oz) gold; 7.6 percent (706,470 tons) zinc; and 2.8 percent (227,740 tons) lead, Greens Creek has enough high-grade ore to continue churning out similar silver production with healthy byproduct credits for the next decade.
And drilling continues to expand and upgrade reserves and resources at this cornerstone mine for Hecla.
For the latest updated on drilling at Greens Creek, see Drilling continues to expand Greens Creek in the current edition of North of 60 Mining News.
In addition to increased silver production, Hecla announced a shift in its management team.
This includes Lauren Roberts returning to the company after more than two decades.
Roberts advanced to more senior roles at Kinross and was general manager at the Fort Knox gold mine in Alaska before being elevated to the role of senior vice president and chief operating officer for the global gold mining company.
In April, however, Roberts position at Kinross was eliminated as part of a corporate restructuring. The mining engineer, however, left with a strong endorsement from his former employer.
"During his long and successful career at Kinross, Lauren was a relentless champion of safety and delivered many accomplishments, including achieving our annual production and cost guidance over the past two years," said Kinross Gold President and CEO J. Paul Rollinson. "He provided strong operational leadership and was instrumental in the success of our sites across all regions, from permitting, operations and closure."
Hecla is pleased to have the strong operational leadership back on its executive team as senior vice president and chief operating officer.
"Lauren Roberts has held key leadership roles at Kinross, and I am excited that he has elected to return to Hecla," said Baker.
Larry Radford, who previously served as Hecla's senior vice president and COO, is shifting to a temporary role of chief technical officer. He will assist with transition responsibilities to Roberts, as well as head the technical services and project development teams.
At the same time Roberts is coming onboard, Hecla's longtime senior vice president of exploration, Dean McDonald, is retiring.
Since joining Hecla in 2006, McDonald has been instrumental in the company achieving record silver reserves in 10 of the past 11 years, as well as strong gold reserves growth in recent years.
"I want to thank Dean for his significant contributions to Hecla over the past 13 years and wish him well in his retirement," said Baker.
Keith Blair, who becomes chief geologist, and Kurt Allen, who becomes director of exploration, will fill McDonald's former role.