Idaho company sees record silver production at Alaska mine

January 18, 2017

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A metal mine in southeast Alaska has reached its highest level of silver production since an Idaho-based company took full ownership of the property in 2008.

Hecla Mining Co. released its 2016 results last week for the Greens Creek mine west of Juneau, The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported (http://bit.ly/2jm23O2).

The mine produced 9.3 million ounces of silver last year, an increase of about 10 percent from 2015.

The Idaho-based company operates other mines in Idaho, Canada and Mexico.

“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 company CEO Phil Baker in a news release.

Silver production at the Greens Creek mine has increased each year since 2012. Baker attributes the growth to better grade and resource recovery.

Investments to increase production through a period of depressed commodity prices along with “ongoing strong performance of Greens Creek allowed Hecla to generate substantial cash flows this year and we expect well into the future,” Baker said.

Hecla ended 2016 with $198 million in cash and short-term investments. That represents a $43 million increase from 2015, according to the company’s operational report.

While silver production is on the rise at Greens Creek, the mine’s gold production fell by 11 percent from 2015 to 2016. Production of both metals in the fourth quarter was down more than 10 percent compared to 2015.

Meanwhile, the nearby Kensington mine recorded a slight decrease in gold production during that same period. Chicago-based Coeur Mining Inc., which owns the mine north of Juneau, said 2016 production was in line with company expectations and production this year should be similar.


Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce, http://www.alaskajournal.com