770x434-LuckyFridayMine-minIn its recently released Q4 2023 production report, Hecla Mining said the Lucky Friday mine restarted production on January 9 and is expected to ramp up to full production during Q1 2024. The company said plans to resume production, which consisted of developing a new secondary egress including a 1,600- ft ramp and a 290-ft vertical escape-way, were completed on schedule. Hecla also received a favorable coverage determination letter from its insurer and it expects to start receiving proceeds soon.

During 2023, Hecla produced 14.3 million oz of silver, compared to 14.2 million oz in 2022, despite the temporary shutdown of the Lucky Friday mine since August 2023. The Lucky Friday mine produced 3.1 million oz of silver in 2023, 30% lower than in 2022. The Greens Creek mine produced 9.7 million oz of silver and 60,896 ounces of gold for the year. Silver production at Greens Creek remained the same as 2022, despite its own set of challenges in Q4 2023. The Keno Hill mine in Yukon produced 1.5 million oz of silver in 2023.

“Hecla faced multiple challenges in 2023 with the fire at the Lucky Friday mine and improving the safety culture at Keno Hill, but despite these challenges, silver production exceeded last year as Greens Creek delivered another strong year, Lucky Friday’s production through July with our patented UCB method produced more silver than the mine typically produced in a full year with the old mining method, and the roughly half year of production at Keno Hill shows its potential to be a meaningful producer,” said Phil Baker, president and CEO, Hecla Mining. “As planned, we began the transition of Casa Berardi’s production to surface mining, which lowered production but increased margins.”

Production at Greens Creek was impacted by two significant weather events in November and one in December, causing road blockages and unplanned mill downtime, resulting in approximately 12 days of lost production. The Greens Creek mill’s annual throughput averaged 2,506 tons per day, an increase of 9% over the prior year. Annual gold production increased by 26% due to higher throughput, grades, and recoveries.

“We look forward to a strong year in 2024 as we execute our growth strategy to deliver up to 20 million oz of silver production by 2025,” Baker said. “With silver’s critical role in energy transition and its application in solar electricity generation, Hecla will play an important role in producing silver as the world’s fastest-growing established silver producer and the dominant producer of silver in the U.S. and soon Canada.”