Hecla Mining Company was established in 1891 and mines & processes silver, gold, lead and zinc in the United States, Mexico and Venezuela. Hecla currently produces silver from three silver mines, Greens Creek (Alaska), San Sebastian (Mexico) and Lucky Friday (Idaho), as well as mining gold at the La Camorra mine (Venezuela). 

Hecla Mining Company   HL   (NYSE)

Wears two faces in Mexico - one through Hecla's 100% controlled Mexican subsidiary, Minera Hecla S.A. de C.V. and one sort of indirectly through a majority interest in ConSil Corporation. Through a purchase completed 25Jun99 Hecla acquired all of the mining assets of Monarch Resources in Venezuela as well as Mexico.

Press Release 25June99

San Sebastian Mine, Saladillo District, Durango. The San Sebastian mine, an underground mine and exploration project, is located in central Mexico's historically silver-rich Durango district. 

The San Sebastian silver mine in Mexico was truly a success story in 2002, producing 3.4 million ounces of silver and nearly 42,000 ounces of gold at an average total cash cost per ounce of silver of just $1.09. Incredibly, during the fourth quarter of the year, San Sebastian produced silver at an average total cash cost of $0.58 per ounce. Baker said, "Let me illustrate how successful San Sebastian is by telling you that at the beginning of 2002, we had a net equity investment there of about $4 million. During 2002 alone, it generated cash flow of about $10 million. And thanks to San Sebastian, Hecla was the lowest-cost primary silver producer in the U.S. and Canada."

It produced over 950,000 ounces of silver and nearly 16,000 ounces of gold in 2001, after only six months of operation. San Sebastian has 8.6 million ounces of proven and probable silver reserves and more than 91,000 ounces of proven and probable gold reserves. Ore production during 2001 has consisted of surface mining and bulk sampling from four vein systems and underground mine development of the Francine vein. Underground development started in May 2001, and surface mining ceased during the fourth quarter of 2001. Limited underground ore production from development started in September and increased gradually as stopes were developed during the remainder of 2001. Underground mining production is expected to ramp up to full production (approximately 450 short tons per day) during the second quarter of 2002. The current mine plan for the Francine vein produces ore through the first half of 2004. Exploration is active on nearby vein systems to expand ore reserves. There are also downdip exploration targets beneath the current mine plan on the Francine vein.

CURRENT NEWS 2002: Headgrades at San Sebastian ran 22 ounces/ton of silver and 0.28 ounces/ton gold during the second quarter, at an average of 520 tons/day. Drilling along the Don Sergio vein is returning good results, and further drilling is planned for the fourth quarter. At Hecla's San Sebastian silver mine, definition drilling on the Francine vein continues to confirm and enhance the geologic resource model. The most recent intercepts within the mining plan average more than 38 ounces of silver per ton (1,314 grams per tonne) and 0.46 ounce of gold per ton (15.6 grams per tonne). According to Baker, if the current drilling program and mining operation continue to experience these high grades, Hecla's production estimates for San Sebastian would likely increase. Hecla will evaluate these estimates at quarter end. Current production estimates showed San Sebastian mining about 2 million ounces of silver and 25,000 ounces of gold in 2002, at less than $2.50 total cash cost per ounce of silver. Also at San Sebastian, a 14-hole drilling program has commenced on the Cerro Pedernalillo vein system, with very encouraging early results. All of the holes have intersected the vein system, with a significant number of the holes encountering ore-grade mineralization. The drilling program has given indications of an ore shoot with a strike length of over 100 meters in length, with good opportunities to increase the strike length. This initial drilling program will allow Hecla to follow up with very focused targets to define the resource envelope. Baker said, "Drilling success continues to be a characteristic of the San Sebastian exploration program, where last year we brought 8 million ounces of silver into the proven and probable reserve category at a cost of 10 cents an ounce. We are in a great geologic environment at San Sebastian with tremendous future potential there."

HISTORY: Recon exploration over 130,000 ha controlled by Monarch (now Hecla) located 120 km NE of city of Zacatecas and south of Guadalupe Victoria. Includes San Sebastian and Cerro Pedernalillo precious metal targets located within an historic Hg district.  Core area (Francine Vein and North Vein targets) totaling 60,000 ha consists of several claims known as the "Saladillo Block"  and includes Saladillo, Saladillo1 and Saladillo5. The Saladillo2 and  the 21,150 ha Saladillo3 are lower priority. Saladillo Block: Third round of drilling on core area completed. Since Sep. '96 over 50 diamond drill holes have been drilled on San Sebastian prospect testing the Francine Vein, a narrow, high-grade Au-Ag bonanza-style ore shoot. Drilling 7,200m in 51 holes on 50m centers to depths 50 to 200m beneath the surface has established a 329,000 oz Au-equivalent resource in the Francine Vein based on 1,628,000 tonnes at 6.28 Au-equivalent. (NOTE: Au:Ag is 1:80). The Francine Vein is now known to be mineralized over a strike length of at least 1.5 km. Plans were to continue exploration towards pre-feasibility by end of 1997. 1998 saw an additional 8,800m of core drilled on the Francine and North veins. In April, 1999 Monarch reported a mineable reserve at the Francine Vein as 75,000 oz Au and 8Moz Ag in 550,000 tonnes grading 0.13 opt Au and 14.6 opt Ag. Other less well tested prospects on property include Cerro Orona where stockwork has been identified. 

NMN v85#7 April 12-18, 1999

Magallanes Project, Durango. High-grade epithermal vein target located near Saladillo Project. Manitou Minerals had optioned this property from Monarch but  returned it in Feb. '99. This makes it yet another property in Hecla's portfolio acquired in the 2Q99 acquisition..

San Agustin Property, Durango A 4,802 ha concession located 85 km N of Durango (about 1 1/2 hours) which is the central block of third party mining claims in which Monarch acquired a 100% interest (now its' Hecla's). Soil and rock chip sampling (N>2,500 samples) defined large Au anomaly (greater than 100 ppb) over a 5 sq km roughly circular area. Core is greater than 400 ppb and 1000m long by 450m wide. Mineralization associated with eroded volcanic dacite dome intruded into Cretaceous sediments. A 3,500m RC program began 28Apr97 with around 35 holes planned to depths around 100m. As of August, 1997 35 holes into the altered dacite porphyry had defined a metal-enriched zone 1,600m by 400m. . The best hole is reported to have intersected 184m of 1.7 gpt Au, 18 gpt Ag and 0.276% Zn. DDH twins planned. a Phase II drill program slated for 3Q97. By October '97 mineralization had been extended to depths of 250m and the best intercept reported was 244m grading 0.025 opt Au, 0.038 opt Ag and 0.25% Zn.  Located just south of Battle Mountain Gold's "El Cairo" property which reportedly is geologically similar. 1998 brought an additional 29 holes totaling 5,799m and assay results were marginally lower than those obtained in 1997. The majority of holes bottomed in mineralized dacite or sediments. Estimates are that zone contains 73,800,000 tonnes at 0.5 gpt Au, 7.2 gpt Ag and 0.33% Zn. This includes a 50m thick oxide zone at 0.65 gpt Au and 13.5 gpt Ag. Hecla dropped it

LAMR, September, 1998
MBD September, 1998
MBD Aug, Oct., 1997PR Newswire 13May97

Other Au prospects in Durango include:  Sabinas property 170 km N of Durango (431 ha) and the Nazas Property consisting of 22,000 ha. that hosts multiple epithermal hot spring targets. In Zacatecas, Monarch controlled the 1,003 ha. La Virgen Au prospect 

Randol Mexico Mining '97 Exhibitor: Booth #28
NMN v82 #40 12/02/96
LAMR, v3, #5 May 96
CMH 1996-1997

La Pitarilla, Durango. Optioned 15802 ha property located 175 km NNW from Durango City from La Cuesta International S.A. de C.V. Hecla dropped it back. Epithermal Au-Ag target near Cerro La Pitarilla with two separate target Zones: Fluorite Mine target and Pena de Guerrero where historic antimony production occurred in the past. Located immediately NNW of area called Boca de Alamo drilled by Monarch Resources in 1996-1997. 

La Choya OP/HL Au Mine
, Sonora. Bulk-tonnage low-grade mineralization in northern Sonora originally defined by the Anaconda Company back in the early 1980's. Grew into Hecla's first OP/HL Au operation in outside of the US and Canada. La Choya produced 60,000 to 70,000 oz Au/yr. Hecla optioned property in May, 1992 and La Choya officially opened in the spring of 1994 and was only expected to have a 4 yr mine life. It was initially planned to end in 1997 with 45,000 to 50,000 expected in the first year. In 1995 stripping ratio at La Choya was 3.3:1 using a cutoff grade of 0.012 opt Au. During its four-year mine life, La Choya's reserves were increased from the original 150,000 ounces of known gold reserves to the final pit configuration that yielded nearly 300,000 ounces of gold. In March 1997, a new mine plan was developed to recover an additional 24,000 ounces of gold. This allowed for the mine at La Choya to continue through 4Q98 by engineering another extension to the pit. After mining activities cease at La Choya, processing will continue at least through 1999 to recover any gold remaining in the heap. (Some very cheap ounces out the back end!)

As La Choya nears the end of its mine life, reclamation at the site is ongoing. A unique nursery for transplanting cacti back to the mine site has been developed. Some waste rock piles have already been reclaimed and re-vegetated. Once the heap is rinsed and all gold has been recovered, the heap will be re-contoured and seeded.

Recorded production at 100% owned mine was:

Year Ounces Au Ounces Ag Cost $/oz
1996 80,200   $190
1995 72,144   $194
1996 80,171 7,708  
1997 78,170 8,130 $184
1998     cheap

Noche Buena, Sonora. Optioned a 70% interest in property from Dakota Mining and subsequently increased by another 25%. Located about 25 mi south of company's La Choya Mine Initial 50 hole program by USMX identified 70,000 oz resource. Hecla continued exploration by in-fill and step-out RC drilling about 100 more holes and conducting metallurgical testing. Could use existing facilities at La Choya. Geologic resource has been increased to 250,000 ounces or 4 times original estimate. Property is still open in several directions. Feasibility study expected by 2Q99. Mine permitting activities have commenced.

LAMR November, 1998
LAMR September, 1998

Golden Horseshoe, Pinos District, Zacatecas. Optioned from International All-North way back in Feb. '95 (via Donald MacLeroy and others). A 12-hole, 8000' program was initiated in September, 1995. VSE accepted terms of Hecla option agreement sated 15Feb95 in May, 1997 (What took them so long?). Must spend $3 M by November, 1997.

GCN #99 23May97

(Jojoba Gold Property), Sonora. Hecla dropped it. Initially entered into letter of intent with Aquiline Resources for exclusive option to acquire up to 60% of Jojoba (or the company that holds it) by paying Aquiline US$2.1M. Subscribed to $670,000 (Canadian) private placement in Aquiline at $1/share. Reimbursed Acquiline $400,000 property payment of December, 1996 and plans to spend a minimum of $1.1 million by December, 1997. 

On September 3, 1997 Hecla terminated its interest in Aquiline's La Jojoba gold property in northern Mexico after a nine month evaluation. Hecla has spent the first nine months of 1997 evaluating the property under an agreement in which it could have earned a 60% interest. Hecla completed a drilling program consisting of six core holes totaling 742 meters and 52 reverse circulation holes totaling 5,314 meters. This program confirmed the existing northeast zone resource and identified two new areas of interest to the north and west. Additionally, Hecla completed a property-wide geologic mapping and geochemical sampling program and performed extensive check assaying of previous core and reverse circulation drilling. Hecla reviewed previous metallurgical data, completed additional metallurgical analysis work, and developed a geologic resource and preliminary pit design. Although this work was successful in expanding the resource, Hecla determined that the project does not meet its current requirements for further work.

MBD October, 1997News Release 3Sep97
NMN v83#10 05/05/97
NMN v83#3 03/17/97
MBD January, 1997

(La Fortuna Ag Property) near Alamos, Sonora. Hecla dropped it. Optioned Las Minitas/Alamos area from War Eagle Mining, drilled then dropped the property after failing to confirm previous Ag results announced by War Eagle.

(Ojocaliente District). Zacatecas. Hecla dropped it. Explored Ag veins in through one time subsidiary ConSil. ConSil subsequently evolved a relative independence from Hecla. ConSil dropped property back to original vendors Cia. Minera Portree S.A. de C.V. in 1997.

MBD Jan, Mar, 1997
CSW 29Nov96
NMN 05/20/96
LAMR, v3, #5 May 96
NMN v82 #8 04/22/96
NMR v81 #35, 10/30/95