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Hecla Mining achieves record gold production in FY'18

Hecla Mining Co. reported a 16% year-over-year increase in fourth-quarter 2018 gold production to 70,988 ounces, while silver production over the same period fell 9% to 2.7 million ounces.

Zinc production for the quarter rose 13% to 13,711 short tons, and lead production increased 9% to 4,703 tons, according to a Jan. 15 release.

There was a drastic 81% drop in silver production at the Lucky Friday mine in Idaho to 13,026 ounces in the fourth quarter of 2018 attributed to a strike unionized employees started in March 2017.

Hecla Mining said it achieved record gold production of 262,103 ounces for the full year, a 13% jump compared to 2017.

Silver production in 2018 fell 17% to 10.4 million ounces, largely due to the union issues at Lucky Friday and the transition to underground mining at the San Sebastian mine in Mexico, which started in early 2018.

President and CEO Phillips Baker noted that the company started mining a sulfide bulk sample at San Sebastian that it will use for metallurgical studies and to test a nearby mill.

Hecla Mining reported a 12% decrease in annual lead production to 20,091 tons and a 2% increase in zinc production to 56,023 tons.

The company ended 2018 with cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaling approximately US$27 million.