Lucky Friday, Casa Berardi Pushes Hecla Metals Production High North of 60 Mining News – July 15, 2022
Hecla Mining Company announced on July 12 that its Greens Creek mine in Southeast Alaska produced 2.4 million ounces of silver and 12,413 ounces of gold during the second quarter of 2022.
Second-quarter silver production from the underground operation near Juneau, Alaska is approximately 8% lower than the 2.6 million ounces produced in the same period of 2021 and roughly equal to the first quarter of this year. Q2 gold production, however, is only about 3% lower than Q2 2021 and 9% higher than Q1 2022 due to higher gold grades.
The Greens Creek mill produced an average of 2,303 tonnes per day in Q2 2022, down 3% from 2,366 tpd in Q2 2021 and down 2% from Q1 2022.
Greens Creek accounted for approximately 67% of the 3.6 million ounces of silver and 27% of the 45,718 ounces of gold produced by Hecla during the second quarter.
Lucky Friday exceeds 1 million ounces of silver
Most of the rest of the silver came from the company’s iconic Lucky Friday mine in Idaho, which produced 1.2 million ounces of the precious metal during the second quarter, a sharp increase from 888,000 ounces produced in the first quarter of this year.
Hecla attributes the higher silver production to a 25% increase in throughput and 9% higher grades. The higher throughput was achieved through improved equipment availability and the commissioning of new underground equipment, better suited to the mining method currently used at the Idaho mine.
The Lucky Friday mill operated at a record average throughput of 1,071 tpd for the quarter. The plant averaged 1,140 tpd in June, indicating continued improvements through the second half of 2022.
“Lucky Friday silver production topped the 1 million ounce mark for the quarter, totaling 1.2 million ounces, a 38% increase over the prior quarter as we see the benefits of throughput resulting from continuous improvement of the UCB mining method, and increased grades,” said Hecla Mining President and CEO Phillips Baker, Jr.
More Gold Casa Berardi
Hecla’s Casa Berardi mine in Quebec produced 33,306 ounces of gold during the second quarter, a 10% increase from 30,240 ounces the previous quarter. The increase in production is the result of higher throughput, recoveries and grades.
The Casa Berardi plant operated at an average of 4,413 tpd during the first quarter, compared to an average of 4,291 tpd in the previous quarter.
In addition to silver and gold, Hecla’s Greens Creek and Lucky Friday mines produced 16,766 tonnes of zinc and 13,331 tonnes of lead. Although these base metals are not separated by operation, Greens Creek tends to be more zinc enriched and Lucky Friday is more lead focused.
Acquisition of Keno Hill
In addition to the strong performance of its current operations, Hecla announced earlier this month that it is acquiring Alexco Resource Corp., owner of the Keno Hill Silver District project in Yukon, Canada.
“In addition to being the largest silver producer in the United States, with the completion of necessary development at Keno Hill, Hecla has the potential to become the largest silver producer in Canada,” Baker said.
Further details of the Alexco acquisition can be read at Hecla to Acquire Keno Hill Silver Mine in the July 8, 2022 edition of North of 60 Mining News.