Hecla Mining Co. announced preliminary silver and gold production results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2015 that exceeded the company’s expectations. The results are due to strong performance from all three mines. In addition, the newly developed San Sebastian mine in Mexico commenced commercial production late in the fourth quarter.
Hecla reported silver production of 11.6 million oz for 2015, a company record, which exceeded the upper end of the company’s guidance by 600,000 oz. The company also reported 189,162 oz of gold production.
“Despite a difficult metals market, Hecla’s production continues to grow, setting the second consecutive annual silver production record,” said Phillips S. Baker Jr., Hecla president and CEO. “All three mines exceeded guidance and San Sebastian has begun production. We are continuing to see results from our strategy of investing in production growth, causing our silver equivalent production to be the most in our 125-year history. This growth, along with cost controls and focused investment, puts Hecla in a good position now and when metals prices rebound.”
Greens Creek’s annual silver production of 8.5 million oz was the highest since 2007 when the annual tonnage was 11% lower and the grade was 13% higher, and exceeded 2014 production by more than 600,000 oz. Greens Creek’s mill operated at an average of 2,231 tons per day (t/d) in 2015.
Lucky Friday posted a strong increase in silver production over the fourth quarter as the new ventilation system enabled normal operations to resume. Lucky Friday’s fourth quarter production of 985,698 oz of silver was 32.2% higher than the fourth quarter 2014 production of 745,766 oz. Annual production of 3 million oz of silver was 6.5% lower than the prior year. The mill operated at an average of 815 t/d in 2015.
Casa Berardi’s fourth quarter production of 42,282 oz of gold was 7.4% higher than the fourth quarter 2014 production of 39,385 oz, and represented the highest quarterly production since Hecla acquired the mine on June 1, 2013. Annual gold production was 127,891 oz, a 0.3% reduction over the prior year. The mill operated at an average of 2,313 t/d in 2015.
San Sebastian began processing ore on December 10, and produced its first doré on December 22. The mine produced 75,552 oz of silver and 705 oz of gold at year-end.