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Hecla sees 23% gold production drop in 2020, other metals up

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(Kitco News) - Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL) today announced its preliminary silver and gold production for the fourth quarter and full-year 2020 and year-end cash position.

The company said that its silver production was 13.5 million ounces in 2020, an increase of 7% compared to 2019, and second highest production only to 2016.

Gold production in 2020 amounted to 208,962 ounces, a 23% decline over 2019, which was Hecla’s highest gold production.

Zinc and lead production in 2020 increased by 7% and 41%, respectively, due to the ramp up of the Lucky Friday mine.

Cash and cash equivalents were $131 million on December 31, 2020.

The company added that it has reduced net debt by approximately $75 million, or 16%, from March 31, 2020.

“Despite the challenges of operating during the pandemic, 2020 marked a year of very strong operational performance with silver production significantly exceeding guidance,” said President and CEO Phillips S. Baker, Jr. “Our U.S. silver production was 15% higher than the year before and more than 50% higher than 2018, strengthening our position as the United States largest silver producer. The strong performance allowed Hecla to reduce net debt, increase dividends, and double exploration expenditures while more than doubling last year’s cash position. At current prices, we could repeat these results in 2021,” continued Baker.

Founded in 1891, Hecla Mining is a leading low-cost U.S. silver producer with operating mines in Alaska and Idaho and is a growing gold producer with an operating mine in Quebec.

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