Hecla Mining announced it has reached an agreement that will allow it to lease the Velardeña mill, located near San Sebastian, for an additional 24 months. “San Sebastian has been a major component of Hecla’s success over the past year and a half, and we see this continuing into the future,” said Phillips S. Baker Jr., president and CEO. “We started production with a two-year mine life, expecting exploration success to extend it further. It has, and today, we see a combination of reserves, resources and exploration discoveries enabling production through 2020. All of this has been done with a minimal capital investment by using a contract miner and leasing a mill. San Sebastian has allowed Hecla to deliver production growth, cash flow and triple-digit-plus returns.”

The exploration budget at San Sebastian has been increased by $1.1 million for additional drilling and will bring the 2017 exploration budget at the project to $5.3 million. Goals with this funding include identifying another sulphide zone at depth, similar to the previously discovered Hugh Zone, and discovering additional oxide ore. Strong intersections from a recently discovered zone on the East Francine Vein, including 0.72 oz/ton gold and 288 oz/ton silver over 4.6 feet.