Hecla Registers Near-Record Silver Production in 2023, Expects More Growth

Latest reports from Hecla Mining Company (NYSE: HL) show that the company recorded its second-highest yearly production in its history last year. In total, the mining company produced 14.3 million ounces of silver. Hecla, which is the biggest primary producer of silver in America, had silver reserves totaling 238 million ounces at the end of 2023, its second-biggest reserves ever as well.

This is quite a feat, especially if one considers that the company lost five months of production after a fire incident occurred in the Idaho Lucky Friday mine. The Lucky Friday mine resumed operations in January of this year, after proceeds from insurance were allocated to the company.

The Keno Hill project, which was acquired by Hecla when it took over Alexco Resource, also began producing silver last year.

In total, the Yukon-situated project produced 1.5 million ounces of silver. Once major infrastructure installation is complete, it is expected that production from the mine will increase, with forecasts expecting production to reach about 3 million ounces in 2024.

In Quebec, the Casa Berardi mine, which primarily produces gold, recently started its transition to surface-only mining. Results have surpassed expectations as the mining company operates its own surface fleet.

Meanwhile in Alaska, Greens Creek recorded another year of strong performance as the biggest silver mine in the United States. In total, it produced 9.7 million ounces of silver, which aligns with figures from 2022. It is expected that silver production from Greens Creek will reduce this year because of lower grades. This differs from production guidance for Lucky Friday, which stands at between 5 to 5.3 million ounces, with the move to full production expected by the end of the first quarter.

In the future, Hecla mining expects that total production of silver will grow by no less than 15% to reach about 17.5 million ounces in 2024. By 2026, forecasts expect consolidated silver production to have hit 20 million ounces, which represents about a 30% increase. According to Phillips S. Baker Jr., the company’s CEO, this production forecast would make the mining company the fastest-growing producer of silver globally.

Regarding gold, consolidated production is expected to drop to about 133,000 ounces this year, from the 151,259 ounces recorded last year. This change will mainly be attributed to the transition at Casa Berardi.

As of two weeks ago, the market capitalization of Hecla Mining Company was $2.3 billion, with shares trading at $3.68/piece.

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