Mining News: Greens Creek Ag costs negative
Hecla Mining Company Nov. 7 said the zinc, lead and gold produced at Greens Creek more than paid for the production costs at the Southeast Alaska mine during the third quarter. As a result, the cost to produce an ounce of silver at Greens Creek was negative US15 cents from July through September. This compares to US$4.80/oz during the same period last year. The all in sustaining costs to produce and ounce of silver at Greens Creek, after by-product credits, was US$4.47/oz during the quarter, compared to US$11.02 during the same period last year. The mine produced 2.3 million ounces of silver and 12,563 oz of gold during the third quarter of this year. This Southeast Alaska operation produced 6.2 million oz of silver through the first nine months of 2017, putting it on pace to produce around 8.5 oz for the year. Mill throughput at Greens Creek averaged 2,391 tons per day during the third quarter, the highest since the mine went into operation in 1989.
Greens Creek, however, was not the lowest cost silver producer in Hecla’s portfolio. During the third quarter, the San Sebastian Mine in Mexico produced 880,885 oz of silver at negative US$3.12/oz after crediting for the 6,432 oz of gold also produced there. Hecla’s Casa Berardi Mine in Quebec produced 44,141 oz of gold during the third quarter, a record for the eastern Canada operation. A labor strike continues at Hecla’s Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho. "The third quarter continued Hecla's strong operating performance, which coupled with higher zinc and lead prices, resulted in silver cash costs, after by-product credits, of negative US63 cents per ounce, the lowest in seven years and allows us to lower our cost guidance," said Hecla President and CEO Phillips Baker Jr. "Both Casa Berardi and Greens Creek set records for throughput and San Sebastian had its strongest silver production of the year. The operating performance combined with lower capital expenditure allows Hecla to continue to generate positive cash flow and strengthen our balance sheet."