By Paul Ploumis 17 Jul 2015 Last updated at 01:50:17 GMT
(Kitco News) - Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL), the largest primary silver producer in the U.S., Thursday increased its guidance for silver production in 2015.
The company said estimated silver output for this year was increased to between 10.5 million and 11.0 million ounces from 10.5 million ounces previously.
The company reported that second-quarter silver output fell 2% year-on-year to 2.48 million ounces, while gold production climbed 3% to 44,692. Silver-equivalent production was 8.7 million ounces, the same as in the second quarter of 2014.
"Higher grades and recoveries at Greens Creek (in Alaska) during the quarter continued to improve the mine’s already strong performance,” said Phillips S. Baker, Jr., Hecla’s president and chief executive officer. “For a mine producing over 7 million ounces of silver a year, an 8% increase in silver recovery is a significant value driver, especially when coupled with the higher grades. We expect these recoveries and grades to continue at Greens Creek through the remainder of the year.”
Greens Creek’s second-quarter production of 1.86 million ounces of silver exceeded the second quarter of 2014 by 10%, while gold production of 13,753 ounces was 8% lower.
Second-quarter silver production at the Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho was 613,474 ounces, 25% lower than the second quarter of 2014, due to lower tonnage and grade, Hecla said. A failure of the underground booster fan reduced ventilation capacity, leading to the temporary closure of a higher-grade production stope.
Lucky Friday has returned to normal production rates by extending the work schedule to seven days per week from six, but is mining lower-grade material until the fan is replaced, expected in the fourth quarter, Hecla said. In addition, there are 10 days of scheduled downtime in the third quarter for hoist mechanical maintenance.
At the Casa Berardi Mine in Quebec, second-quarter gold production of 30,939 ounces was 8% higher than the same quarter a year ago because of higher grades, partially offset by lower tonnage and recovery, Hecla said. The mine experienced higher grades as a result of mine sequencing.
Courtesy: Kitco News