Hecla official: We're on the move
Shoshone news press online newspaper
Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013 1:11 pm | Updated: 10:04 pm, Fri Jan 11, 2013.
CALEB SOPTELEAN |
Hecla Mining Co. is on the move.
That’s the word from Hecla Chief Financial Officer Jim Sabala, who made an upbeat presentation Wednesday during the fourth annual Emerging Miners Conference in New York City.
During his 20-minute presentation, Sabala highlighted the financial status of the company and informed conference attendees about a potential connection between the Star Morning Mine in Burke and the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan.
At the end of the fourth quarter 2012, Hecla had $233 million in the bank, a $150 million line of credit and no debt. “We have tremendous liquidity,” he said.
In regard to the Star Morning-Lucky Friday connection, “We’ve opened up the You Like — 30 Vein Trend,” Sabala said. This would potentially connect the Star Morning’s “You Like Vein” and the Lucky Friday’s “30 Vein.”
These two veins are separated by two faults and 4,000 feet, he said.
Through surface and underground drill holes, Hecla has intercepted mineralization in the You Like — 30 Vein Trend.
This is part of the company’s aggressive exploration program, which it invested $53 million in during 2012.
Other areas of exploration include the “gap area” of the Lucky Friday, located between the 4,050-foot level and the surface, a historical production area. Holes were drilled up from the 4,050-foot level and down from the surface, Sabala said.
“We’ve identified underground resources at the Star Morning and Noonday deposits” and identified Star Upper Country veins at the 2,500-foot level from a minability study.
Hecla is the largest “first and foremost” silver producer in the United States, Sabala said, adding that exceptional growth is going to happen from 2013 to 2017. It also is second in zinc production and third in lead.
The Lucky Friday produced 3 million ounces of silver in 2011 prior to a one-year shutdown by the Mine Safety ad Safety Administration (MSHA). It plans to start up production sometime in the first quarter, produce 2 million ounces of silver this year and 5 million ounces by 2017.
“We have 30 years in our mine plan,” Sabala said. “The Lucky Friday has never been stronger.”
Hecla expects to have the entire Silver Shaft restoration complete by the end of the month, and will resume work on the new No. 4 shaft in the first quarter.
Sabala also detailed efforts at the company’s Greens Creek mine, its “flagship operation” located near Juneau, Alaska.
During the first nine months of 2012, Hecla produced silver for $2.34 an ounce at Greens Creek. With it selling for $30 an ounce, “That’s my definition of a very good mine,” he said. “Over time, we maintained a very low cash cost per ounce of between $0 and $4 an ounce. This isn’t a flash in the pan.”
A rehabilitation project was completed at the mine in the first quarter of 2012.
Hecla invested $30 million in exploration and $23 million in pre-development activity in 2012, including $7 million in Alaska, $12 million in Idaho, $28 million in Colorado, and $6 million in Mexico.
Sabala closed his presentation by praising silver. “It’s the metal of this age,” he said.
Silver has the highest electrical conductivity of all the metals, has superior thermal conductivity — it transfers heat efficiently but doesn’t overheat — and has the highest reflectivity (94 percent) in visible light, he said.
This explains why there is a growing demand for silver.
After reading Sabala’s presentation to the “Emerging Miners V=Conference in New York, one can’t but help to think that Hecla has reached synergetic critical mass, and will now finally be able to fully exploit it to the benefit of the common shareholders
I am guessing there will be a further delay. The Feds are in NO HURRY. They will make sure LF
is as clean as a whistle. I would be VERY SURPRISED if it repoens on schedule.
Whenever there is a Government shutdown like this it always go longer than expected. Always, count on it.
LF opening?...HL performance?...Management 's performance?.....Does anyone besides me think that there is some kind of cooperation between management and wall street gurus to get a stagnant stock while management's compensation and stock options grow very nicely.
LF is a mile deep mine - very complex and dangerous to operate. Baker says when LF in operation it will add 1.5-2M oz of Ag to around 7M oz they get from Greens Creek. Thus total will be around 9-10M oz Ag per year. this is peanuts compared to CDE or PAAS.
Now if Baker says they will mine 1.5-2M oz from LF, cut it in half to get the realistic number.
Also how come LF is still not reopen? They said production will restart in December last year, and so far no news from them?
I have some bad feeling in the stomach again.
The regulators obviously hate these guys and will make it very hard for them to reopen. The best solution for this company is new management that knows something about mining. They need engineers running this company not a BS artist like Baker. If Baker anounces his departure, you will see the stock take off.
Do you think we will ever see this reopening? This management team is so incompetent, I wonder if they can actually get this done. An update from the company would be nice around now given that the mine is supposed to be open by early 2013.
reeopening will occure supposedly witinn a mouth . Spect a jump fur POS two maybee 7$, for MSHA (Precaution) hav sell odor at 6.05. Haz but preformend beyond 6.15, so nut taking a chance with dis worst ov breed PM stock!!! BrrrupRup!! flatuant phonetics.