Hecla Mining Company announced its 2019 year-end results Tuesday, saying overall the company had a good year.
“2019 marked a year of higher metal production and in the second half of the year, strong cash flow generation and an improved balance sheet,” said Phillips Baker, Hecla’s president and CEO. “While gold and silver prices have increased, Greens Creek’s record silver production combined with the most gold production in Hecla’s history were the primary reasons for the cash flow strength.”
The Greens Creek mine in southeast Alaska, which Hecla says is one of the largest and lowest-cost primary silver mines in the world, produced 9.9 million ounces of silver and 56,624 ounces of gold in 2019, up from 8 million ounces of silver and 51,493 ounces of gold in 2018
Hecla, which is based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, produced 12.6 million ounces of silver in 2019, an increase of 22 percent over 2018, and the company produced 272,873 ounces of gold, an increase of 4 percent from 2018. The company had a net debt reduction of about $136 million, or 23 percent, from the net debt high in mid-2019. Hecla said it generated sufficient free cash flow to fully repay the $50 million drawn from the revolving line of credit at the end of the third quarter. The company had year-end cash and cash equivalents of approximately $62 million.
You have free articles remaining.
Hecla also announced that the Lucky Friday Union workers have ratified a collective bargaining agreement, reversing the result of the vote held in early December. In an 86 to 78 vote, the union voted to accept the collective bargaining agreement Monday.
“We are pleased that the union has ratified the collective bargaining agreement at Lucky Friday and are expected to return to work,” Baker said. “While this has been a challenging time for the mine and the local community, we believe the return of the workforce will help it reach full production by year-end 2020 and help the Silver Valley community.”
Lucky Friday is a silver, lead and zinc mine in northern Idaho. The company anticipates re-staffing the mine in stages.
In July 2018 Hecla returned to having operations in Nevada when the company acquired the Fire Creek, Midas, Hollister and Aurora mines from Klondex Mines Ltd. However, Hecla said in 2019 that some of the Nevada operations were being scaled back because they were not generating enough cash flow. Mining was put on hold at the Hollister Mine in Elko County in the summer of 2019, but Hecla continued exploring the mine’s Hatter Graben deposit. Hecla has been putting its focus in Nevada on the Fire Creek underground mine near Crescent Valley in Lander County.
At Hecla’s Nevada operations in 2019, 66,167 ounces of gold and 181,741 ounces of silver were produced. That compares with 32,887 ounces of gold and 172,301 ounces of silver produced in 2018 after Hecla acquired the mines in July of that year.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, Hecla’s Nevada operations produced 20,727 ounces of gold, up slightly from 19,099 ounces in the fourth quarter of 2018. The silver production at Hecla’s Nevada operations in the 2019 fourth quarter was 21,476 ounces, down 76 percent from 88,156 ounces in the fourth quarter of 2018.