Hecla Mining Produces 17.2 Million Ounces of Silver and 233,929 Ounces of Gold in 2016
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hecla Mining Company (NYSE:HL) today announced preliminary silver and gold production results¹ for the fourth quarter and full year 2016 that exceeded the Company’s expectations.
2016 HIGHLIGHTS (compared to 2015)
- Silver production of 17.2 million ounces, a 48% increase.
- Gold production of 233,929 ounces, a 24% increase.
- Silver equivalent production of 46.1 million ounces, or gold equivalent production of more than 631,000 ounces, a 23% increase.2
- Lead production increased 6% and zinc production decreased 2%.
- Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of approximately $198 million at December 31, 2016, an increase of about $43 million for the year.
“The 17.2 million ounces of silver produced and the 46 million silver equivalent ounces produced mark the third consecutive year we have broken our 125-year production record, a result of our strategy of investing in organic growth,” said Phillips S. Baker, Jr., Hecla’s President and CEO. “Through the down cycle we continued to build our production capacity with the start up of San Sebastian, the development of the pit at Casa Berardi and the construction of the #4 Shaft at Lucky Friday. The performance of these investments plus the ongoing strong performance of Greens Creek allowed Hecla to generate substantial cash flows this year and we expect well into the future.”
At the Greens Creek mine for 2016, 9.3 million ounces of silver were produced, the highest silver production since Hecla acquired 100% of the project in 2008, and 53,912 ounces of gold were produced. For the fourth quarter, 2.2 million ounces of silver and 14,415 ounces of gold were produced. Increased silver production for the year resulted from higher grades and higher recovery, and lower gold production resulted from lower grades. The mill operated at an average of 2,229 tons per day (tpd) in 2016.
(1) See cautionary statement regarding preliminary statements at the end of this release.
(2) Silver equivalent calculation based on average actual price for each metal in the respective year. For 2016, the average actual prices were: $17.10 for Ag, $1,248 for Au, $0.85 for Pb, and $0.95 for Zn. Guidance calculation based on the following prices: $17.25 for Ag, $1,225 for Au, $0.90 for Pb, and $1.00 for Zn.
At the Lucky Friday mine for 2016, 3.6 million ounces of silver were produced, the most in 16 years, and 874,019 ounces of silver were produced in the fourth quarter. The 19% increase in silver production for the year was due to higher mill throughput, grades and recoveries. The mill operated at an average of 803 tpd in 2016.
The #4 Shaft Project is essentially complete and the shaft is now operational.
At the Casa Berardi mine for 2016, 145,974 ounces of gold were produced, including 8,547 ounces from the East Mine Crown Pillar pit which began operating in July. For the fourth quarter, 41,692 ounces of gold were produced including 5,034 ounces from the East Mine Crown Pillar pit. The mill operated at an average of 2,726 tpd in 2016, a record.
At the San Sebastian mine for 2016, 4.3 million ounces of silver and 34,042 ounces of gold were produced and, for the fourth quarter, 860,071 ounces of silver and 7,042 ounces of gold were produced. The mill operated at an average of 391 tpd in 2016.
|Fourth Quarter Ended||Twelve Months Ended|
|December 31, 2016||December 31, 2015||December 31, 2016||December 31, 2015|
|Silver||3,976,551 oz.||3,644,309 oz.||9||%||17,177,315 oz.||11,591,602 oz.||48||%|
|Gold||63,149 oz.||60,350 oz.||5||%||233,929 oz.||189,327 oz.||24||%|
|Lead||10,631 tons||11,439 tons||(7||%)||42,471 tons||39,965 tons||6||%|
|Zinc||18,195 tons||19,036 tons||(4||%)||68,516 tons||70,073 tons||(2||%)|
|Greens Creek||2,232,855 silver oz.||2,568,025 silver oz.||(13||%)||9,253,543 silver oz.||8,452,153 silver oz.||10||%|
|Greens Creek||14,415 gold oz.||17,198 gold oz.||(16||%)||53,912 gold oz.||60,566 gold oz.||(11||%)|
|Lucky Friday||874,019 silver oz.||985,698 silver oz.||(11||%)||3,596,009 silver oz.||3,028,134 silver oz.||19||%|
|Casa Berardi||41,692 gold oz.||42,282 gold oz. 1||(1||%)||145,974 gold oz.||127,891 gold oz.||14||%|
|San Sebastian||860,071 silver oz.||81,677 silver oz.2||N/A||4,294,123 silver oz.||81,677 silver oz.1||N/A|
|San Sebastian||7,042 gold oz.||869 gold oz.2||N/A||34,042 gold oz.||869 gold oz.1||N/A|
(1) Casa Berardi also produced 9,606 ounces of silver in the fourth quarter 2016 and 33,640 ounces of silver for 2016.
(2) San Sebastian produced its first doré on December 22, 2015.
Hecla expects to report fourth quarter and 2016 financial results as well as its expectations for 2017 on February 23, 2017.
Founded in 1891, Hecla Mining Company (NYSE:HL) is a leading low-cost U.S. silver producer with operating mines in Alaska, Idaho and Mexico, and is a growing gold producer with an operating mine in Quebec, Canada. The Company also has exploration and pre-development properties in seven world-class silver and gold mining districts in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and an exploration office and investments in early-stage silver exploration projects in Canada.