Greens Creek maintains 10M oz silver pace
Alaska mine produces 2.6M oz silver, 13,266 oz gold during Q1 North of 60 Mining News – April 9, 2021
Last updated 4/29/2021 at 4:08pm
Hecla Mining Company April 8 reported that its Greens Creek Mine produced 2.6 million ounces of silver and 13,266 oz of gold during the first three months of 2021.
The Southeast Alaska mine's first quarter silver output is down about 7% from the 2.8 million oz produced during the same period last year. The quarterly gold production, however, increased by about 8% over the 12,273 oz produced during the first three months of 2020.
Hecla says ore grades, lower for silver and higher for gold, was the primary reason for the metal production changes from last year. The Greens Creek mill operated at an average of 2,156 tons per day during the first quarter of this year, down only about 1% from the 2,185 tpd during the first quarter of 2020.
Hecla's four mines – Greens Creek, Lucky Friday in Idaho, Casa Berardi in Quebec, and Nevada Operations – produced 3.5 million oz of silver and 52,004 oz of gold during the first quarter of this year. The silver production is a roughly 7% increase over the 3.2 oz produced during the same period last year, while gold production dropped 12%.
The company said the increased silver output is due to increasing production at the restarted Lucky Friday Mine and the drop in gold output is due to reduction in less profitable production of the precious metal.
Increased activity at Lucky Friday also contributed to significant increases in Hecla's zinc and lead production.
During the first quarter, the company produced 16,107 tons of zinc, up 25% over the 12,847 tons produced during the first three months of 2020, and 10,703 tons of lead, an 82% jump over the 5,893 tons produced last year.
Greens Creek also produces zinc and lead as byproduct metals, but Hecla does not break down the production of these base metals by operation.
Hecla ended the first quarter with roughly $135 million in cash and cash equivalents and now draws on its revolving line of credit.
"Greens Creek, Lucky Friday and Casa Berardi all had strong operating performance which combined with current silver prices enabled us to close the quarter with more than $135 million in cash," said Hecla Mining President and CEO Phillips Baker, Jr. "This is our fourth consecutive quarter of increasing cash balances, all attributable to free cash flow generation."
Baker recently delivered a keynote address – Silver: The Technometal – New Demand, New Policy, New Future – at the Extractive Industry Investment Options Conference. Coverage of this presentation on the evolution and near-term future of silver demand can be read at A brief evolutionary history of silver in the April 7 edition of Metal Tech News https://www.metaltechnews.com/story/2021/04/07/tech-metals/a-brief-evolutionary-history-of-silver/517.html.