Hecla Mining Company is forecasting a rise in silver production for 2023, surpassing the previous year's numbers despite the temporary closure of its Lucky Friday mine due to a fire. The Idaho mine, which is Hecla's third-largest silver producer, resumed operations on Tuesday.

Strong Performance and Potential of Other Mines

According to the U.S. mining company, silver production for the year reached 14.3 million ounces, exceeding the 2022 production of 14.2 million ounces. President and Chief Executive Phillips S. Baker Jr. attributed this success to the strong performance of Greens Creek and the use of their patented UCB method at Lucky Friday mine, which generated more silver than the mine typically produces in a full year using the old mining method. Baker also highlighted the potential of Keno Hill, which displayed promising production during the approximately six months it operated.

Gold Production and Other Metals

While silver production saw an increase, annual gold production experienced a 14% decrease of 151,259 ounces. This decline in gold output was primarily due to the transition of Casa Berardi into an open pit mine. On the other hand, Greens Creek reported a 26% increase in gold production.

Lead production is expected to decrease by 16%, with an estimated 40,347 short tons produced in 2023. Zinc production is also anticipated to decrease by approximately 5%, totaling 60,579 tons.

Fourth Quarter Results

In the fourth quarter of 2023, silver production is projected to decline by 17% compared to the previous year, with an estimated 2.9 million ounces produced. Gold output is predicted to slide by 5%, amounting to 37,168 ounces. The production of other metals is also expected to decrease, with lead down by 36% (5,282 short tons) and zinc down by 15% (12,669 tons).

Lucky Friday Mine Update

Hecla reported that their Lucky Friday mine produced 3.1 million ounces of silver in 2023, which was a 30% decrease from the previous year. The decline was caused by the mine's temporary shutdown since August due to a fire breakout in the secondary escapeway (#2 shaft). Fortunately, the mine resumed production on January 9th and is expected to reach full production capacity during the first quarter.

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