COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Hecla Mining Company (NYSE:HL) today reported the highest levels of silver, gold and lead reserves in its 127-year history, as well as the highest zinc reserve in the last five years.
HIGHLIGHTS (Comparisons to 12/31/16)
- Record gold reserves of 2.3 million ounces, an increase of 12%.
- Record silver reserves of 177 million ounces, an increase of 3%.
- Record lead reserves of 737,290 tons, an increase of 8%.
- Zinc reserves of 840,870 tons, an increase of 15%.
- Greens Creek increased gold reserves 8% and zinc 7% with silver and lead slightly up.
- Casa Berardi surface drilling increased reserves almost 250,000 ounces from two new proposed pits, part of a 14% increase in reserves.
- San Sebastian’s gold reserves increased 17% while maintaining silver reserves of more than 5 million ounces.
- Maintained the same price assumptions for reserves as 2016: silver $14.50, gold $1200, zinc $1.05, and lead $.90.
- Exploration in 2018 is projected to be between $30 and $37 million, up from $23.5 million in 2017, reflecting the continued growth in targets at Hecla’s properties.
“It is a remarkable achievement for a 127-year-old company to have record reserves for three of the four metals it produces, particularly using price assumptions significantly below spot and among the lowest in the industry. It speaks to the quality of our properties and the expertise of our people. We believe that our investment in exploration is a key step towards generating real value for shareholders. As we grow our reserves and increase our already long mine lives, we can improve productivity by increasing throughput or lowering costs so the mines can generate returns regardless of the metals price,” said Phillips S. Baker, Jr., Hecla’s President and CEO. “In addition to reserve growth, we are increasing the San Sebastian polymetallic resource which is quickly becoming an important part of the future of this mine. Our exploration budget is increasing again this year, because we have more exploration opportunities at our operating properties and beyond than any time in my tenure at Hecla.”