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Hecla Mining Company reported the highest silver, lead, and zinc reserves in its 129-year history and provided an update on its exploration programs during the fourth quarter of 2019. Company-wide reserves increased 11% for silver ounces including 22% more silver ounces at Greens Creek, reflecting a commitment to exploration and improved data use. The company also reported that high-grade intersections were drilled at Greens Creek and Casa Berardi.
Hecla replaced silver production in 2019 (15.4 million silver ounces contained) and proven and probable reserves increased 11%, despite using $14.50/oz for the reserve calculation. In the last 12 years, Hecla has replaced silver production and also added another 234 million ounces through exploration. Both zinc and lead production were replaced, and reserves increased by 8% and 5%, respectively. About 60% of gold production was replaced (341,064 gold ounces contained) and proven and probable reserves decreased only 5% over 2018; gold reserves were calculated at $1,300/oz.
Measured and indicated silver ounces increased 4% to a record 217 million ounces, an increase of 9 million ounces over 2018 with increases at Greens Creek, Lucky Friday, and San Sebastian. Measured and indicated gold ounces decreased 19% to 5.8 million ounces, a reduction of 1.34 million ounces over 2018. Inferred gold resources increased 35% to 4.9 million ounces with the 1.3 million ounce gain primarily due to reclassification of some resources at Casa Berardi and Fire Creek.
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