Hecla Mining Co. announced preliminary silver and gold production results for the second quarter of 2016 this week. During the second quarter, the company produced 4,241,338 oz of silver, a 71.2% increase, and 62,965 oz of gold, a 40.9% increase. This amounts to a silver equivalent production of 11.8 million oz, a 38.4% increase.
“Our strategy of accelerating growth has silver and gold production up 71% and 41% over last year just as prices are starting to rise,” said Phillips S. Baker Jr., Hecla’s President and CEO. “With increased production and higher prices we are generating free cash flow and have more cash than when we started the year. Our increasing production outlook puts Hecla on track for another record setting year of silver production.”
The company has increased its silver production estimate for 2016 to 15.75 million ounces, a 5% increase. Similarly, it increased its gold production estimate for 2016 to 233,000 ounces, a 13% increase. This would be an increase to 44 million silver equivalent oz, a 7% increase.
At the Greens Creek mine, more than 2.1 million ounces of silver were produced in the second quarter of 2016, a 14.1% increase over the 1.9 million oz produced in the prior-year period. Increased silver production resulted from higher grades, as well as slightly higher production.
At the Lucky Friday mine, 857,542 oz of silver were produced in the second quarter, 39.8% higher than the 613,474 oz produced in the prior-year period. The increase in silver production was due to higher grades in the current period
and ventilation repairs made in the prior year period. The focus of the No. 4 Shaft Project, having reached its final depth of 8,600 ft below surface in early May, is on equipping the shaft with steel sets, guides, skip loading facilities and electrical infrastructure, with the goal of the shaft being fully operational in the fourth quarter of this year, and to beginning the lateral development necessary to provide access to higher-grade material.
At the Casa Berardi mine, 41,954 oz of gold were produced in the second quarter, 35.6% higher than the 30,939 oz produced in the prior year period.
The higher gold production was principally the result of higher grades.
The East Mine Crown Pillar (EMCP) pit excavation has exposed the vein closer to surface than expected; processing of EMCP ore is estimated to begin in the third quarter. The EMCP pit is expected to add 5,000 ounces of gold production.