Cash balance increased by $80 million during 2021
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Hecla Mining Company (NYSE:HL) today announced its preliminary silver and gold production for the fourth quarter and full year 2021 and year-end cash position.1
Silver and gold production of 12.9 million ounces and 201,326 ounces, respectively.
Zinc and lead production increased 1% and 26%, respectively.
Silver equivalent production of 37.6 million ounces and gold equivalent production of 525,531 ounces.2
Lucky Friday silver production increased 75%.
Casa Berardi increased gold production 11%.
Year-end cash position of approximately $210 million with the credit facility undrawn.
Quarterly (compared to 3rd Quarter 2021)
21% and 14% increase in silver and gold production, respectively.
Greens Creek increased silver production 23%.
Lucky Friday silver production increased 15%.
Casa Berardi increased gold production 25%.
“All three mines reported strong production with significant production growth at Lucky Friday and Casa Berardi,” said Hecla’s President and CEO Phillips S. Baker, Jr. “Lucky Friday increased production by 75% over the prior year primarily because in 2021 the mine was in full production for the entire year. In the fourth quarter, the expected higher silver grades and benefits of the new mining method delivered a 15% increase over the third quarter. The 2020 and 2021 investments helped Casa Berardi produce 11% more gold ounces than in 2020 and 25% more than in the third quarter. At Greens Creek, silver grades improved after resolving the third quarter mine sequencing issues, as a result fourth quarter production was 2.3 million ounces of silver and over 9 million ounces for the year.”
Baker continued, “Even with doubling our exploration expenditures from 2020 and further enhancing our silver-linked dividend, our strong operational performance in 2021 delivered an increase of $80 million to our cash balance. With a strong operational and financial year behind us, we expect to continue to build on these achievements in 2022.”
At the Greens Creek Mine in 2021, 9.2 million ounces of silver and 46,089 ounces of gold were produced. For the fourth quarter, 2.3 million ounces of silver and 10,229 ounces of gold were produced. Silver and gold production were lower for the year by 12% and 5%, respectively, primarily due to lower grades and mine sequencing, partially offset by higher mill throughput. However, silver and gold production increased in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter of 2021 by 23% and 5%, respectively, with the increase in silver due mainly to higher grades. The mill operated at an average of 2,307 tons per day (tpd) in 2021.
At the Casa Berardi Mine, 134,510 and 37,266 ounces of gold were produced in 2021 and the fourth quarter, respectively, increases of 11% and 25% over 2020 and the third quarter of 2021, respectively. The mill operated at an average of 4,187 tpd in 2021, which was a record, with ore production commencing from the new 160 pit in the fourth quarter of 2021.
At the Lucky Friday Mine, 3.6 million and almost 1.0 million ounces of silver were produced in 2021 and the fourth quarter, respectively. Silver production increased compared to 2020 and the third quarter of 2021 by 75% and 15%, respectively. The increase for the year reflected a full year of production, following the return to full production in the fourth quarter of 2020. The increase for the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter is due to higher grades and increase in milled tonnage. The mill operated at an average of 882 tpd, and approximately 86% of mine production for the year came from the newly developed Underhand Closed Bench mining method.
At the Nevada operations in 2021, production totaled 20,727 gold ounces and 46,319 silver ounces from remaining stockpiled non-refractory material, a bulk sample of refractory material processed at a third-party roaster, and additional refractory material processed at a third-party autoclave. The mine and mill facilities have been placed on care-and-maintenance while exploration at multiple targets and development of a decline to the Hatter Graben area at the Hollister mine continues. Underground exploration drilling from platforms available at Hollister commenced in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Fourth Quarter December 31, Third Quarter September 30, Twelve Months December 31, 2021 2021 2021 2020
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