Hecla Mining Company

Hecla Mining Company, one of the centenarians in the precious mining industry in the US, with 118 years of business history, was first founded in 1891 in the Silver Valley, northern Idaho. This miner is the oldest company in the precious mining sector, with headquarters and primary operations in the United States. At present Hecla Mining is the most important publicly traded producer of silver in the country. The corporate headquarters are located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The company has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “HL” for more than 40 years. The miner is tier II producer. Its name has became a synonym for precious metals in the minds of investors, due to its long presence in the sector and its quality gold, silver, and base metals produce for the local and the overseas markets.

Currently, Hecla mines refines and markets silver, gold, lead, and zinc. The company has operation and exploration units in the United States (Greens Greek mine, Admiralty Island, Alaska; Lucky Friday site, Mullan, Idaho; and San Juan Silver mine, Creede, Colorado), and Mexico (San Sebastian mine, Durango).

For 2008, Hecla Mining produced 8.7 million ounces at an average total cash cost of $4.20 per ounce (bear in mind that total cash costs per ounce of silver and gold represent non-U.S. GAAP measurements). The overall gold production for 2008 was 54 thousand ounces; and lead production equaled to 35 thousand tons, while zinc production amounted to approximately 61 thousand tons. The market capitalization of the company for year 2008 was 505 million dollars with book value per share at $2.42.

In 2008, the company acquired, by means of multiple subsidiaries, 100 percent ownership of the underground silver mine Greens Greek. As a result, the miner became very competitive on the silver market. The annual silver produce increased considerably while Couer was able to sustain low cash cost per ounce of silver. For the full-year 2008, the underground mine produced a total of 5.8 million ounces of silver for the company’s account and 54,650 ounces of by-product gold. In the first quarter of 2009, the production of silver was a record 2.86 million ounces compared to 1.25 in the first quarter of 2008. The increase was primarily due to the Greens Greek’s mining and consolidation of ownership. The produce of the mine for the period was 2.0 million ounces of silver, at $3.21 million of average total cash cost per ounce. The main methods of mining employed in Greens Greek are cut and fill and longhole stopping, while ore is processed on-site at a mill. The operation there includes both, production and exploration, with completed or planned drillings at the Gallagher, Lower Southwest, and Northwest-West zones.

The Lucky Friday unit, having been the company’s property since 1958, is another major underground silver, lead, and zinc mine, located in the Coeur d’Alene Mining District, Idaho. The unit is reported as having two ore bearing structures, the Lucky Friday vein and the Lucky Friday Expansion Area. The latter, because of operating agreement with Independence Lead Mines Company (“Independence”), has been mined since 1997. In November 2008, Hecla Mining acquired all the assets of Independence. The most widely employed mining method at the Lucky Friday is ramp access, cut and fill; and ore is processed in a conventional flotation mill.

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