Hecla: 1Q Silver Output Falls Year-on-Year; Gold Production Rises
(Kitco News) - Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL) reported Wednesday that silver output in the first quarter fell from the same period a year ago as the Lucky Friday Mine strike continues, but gold production increased slightly.
Silver production for the January-March quarter was 2.5 million ounces, down from 3.4 million in the same period of 2017.
Unionized workers at Lucky Friday have been on strike since March 2017, with limited output being carried out by salaried staff. As a result, output there fell to 99,780 ounces from 680,782 a year ago. San Sebastian silver production fell to 512,192 ounces from 750,803, although Hecla said this topped expectations.
Meanwhile, gold production was 57,808 ounces, up from 56,113. The company also mines some base metal as a by-product. This included 5,627 tons of lead and 15,211 tons of zinc.
The cumulative output came to 10.7 million silver-equivalent ounces or 134,903 gold-equivalent ounces.
During the quarter, Hecla also agreed to buy Klondex Mines Ltd. and its three Nevada gold mines, potentially adding 162,000 ounces of annual gold-equivalent production.
“Greens Creek continues growing throughput, primarily due to increased efficiency at shift change as we utilize new technologies like remote monitoring systems and automated use of the LHD,” said Phillips S. Baker, Jr., president and chief executive officer. “Casa Berardi is now fully an underground and open-pit mine and continues to set throughput records. San Sebastian’s production is primarily from stockpiled open-pit material as we transition to the underground.
“The cash position is the second highest in the past six years, and we expect to deploy it to acquire Klondex in the second quarter.”