Hecla: Second-Highest Annual Silver Output Ever Despite Strike
In particular, output was down sharply at the company’s Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho due to a strike. Limited production is being carried out by salaried staff.
Company-wide silver output in the fourth quarter was roughly 3 million ounces, down 25% year-on-year. Gold output of 60,964 ounces was down 4% from the same quarter of 2016. Output of lead and zinc, produced as a by-product, also fell.
For all of 2017, silver production of 12.5 million ounces was down 27% from 2016, yet also was Hecla’s second highest behind the company record 17.2 million achieved in 2016. Full-year gold production of 232,685 ounces was marginally lower than 233,929 the year before, but was the third highest in company history. Gold production at Casa Berardi highest since its acquisition, Hecla reported.
Lead production of 22,734 tons and zinc production of 55,109 tons were down 47% and 20% year-on-year, respectively.
“Our mines finished the year strongly, with Greens Creek exceeding our estimates again this year and Casa Berardi and San Sebastian performing at the upper end of our estimatesâ€¦,” said Phillips S. Baker, Jr., Hecla’s president and chief executive officer. “Their performance is a result of the focus on increasing throughput, with Greens Creek and Casa Berardi both achieving records.
“Although annual silver production has declined from 2016 as a result of the strike at the Lucky Friday, two things about 2017 stand out. First, silver production was better than any other year in our history except last year. Second, our cash position increased $20 million, reflecting what a good year it was for Hecla. We are well-positioned for 2018.”