Hecla Mining has announced a friendly agreement to acquire Mines Management Inc. in an all-share transaction that values the latter company at about $37 million. Mines Management’s key asset is its Montanore silver-copper project in northwest Montana, which hosts in-situ mineralization estimated at more than 230 million oz of silver and nearly 2 billion lb of copper, not considering dilution or subeconomic mineralized zones. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016.

Following closing of the transaction, Hecla intends to advance the evaluation program of Montanore, which is located 10 miles from Hecla’s Rock Creek project and 50 miles north of Hecla’s Lucky Friday mine in Idaho.

“Hecla is the logical company to move Montanore forward, with its close proximity to Rock Creek, as well as its similar geology and scale,” said Hecla President and CEO Phillips S. Baker.

The project has already undergone extensive engineering based on a proposed and initial production capacity of approximately 12,500 st/d and estimated production of 8 million oz/y of silver and 60 million lb/y of copper.

The Montanore deposits were discovered in the 1980s and explored by previous operators at a cost of more than $100 million, which ceased in the 1990s when metals prices were low. Mines Management acquired the project in 2002 and has since spent more than $75 million on dewatering and partial rehabilitation of a 14,000-ft decline, construction of site infrastructure, revised and updated resource estimates, and a preliminary economic assessment, as well as repermitting the entire project.

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