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energy|fire|generation|gold|mining|repairs|safety|solar|surface|underground

Lucky Friday silver mine restarts production

11th January 2024

By: Creamer Media Reporter

     

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 The Lucky Friday silver mine, in Idaho, has restarted production, after repairs were completed following an underground fire last year, precious metals miner Hecla reported on Thursday.

Lucky Friday produced 3.1-million ounces of silver in 2023, which is 30% lower than the previous year, owing to the suspension of production since August owing to a fire in number two shaft.

Despite the temporary shutdown of the Lucky Friday mine, Hecla still managed to beat its 2022 group production, delivering 14.3-million ounces in the year.

"Hecla faced multiple challenges in 2023 with the fire at the Lucky Friday mine and improving the safety culture at Keno Hill, but despite these challenges, silver production exceeded last year as Greens Creek delivered another strong year, Lucky Friday's production through July with our patented UCB method produced more silver than the mine typically produced in a full year with the old mining method, and the roughly half year of production at Keno Hill shows its potential to be a meaningful producer,” commented president and CEO Phillips Baker.

The Greens Creek mine, in Alaska, produced 9.7-million ounces of silver and 60 896 oz of gold for the year. Fourth-quarter production was 2.3-million ounces of silver and 14 651 oz of gold.

Keno Hill, in Yukon, produced 1.5-million ounces of silver in 2023, with 608 301 oz produced in the fourth quarter. Throughput for the quarter averaged 214 t/d with silver grades of 32 oz/t.

The Casa Berardi mine, in Quebec, produced 90 363 oz and 22 517 oz of gold in 2023 and the fourth quarter, respectively. Yearly gold production declined by 29%, owing to wildfire-related closures in June and lower underground tonnage as the mine transitions to a surface operation by mid-2024. Fourth quarter gold production was 7% lower than the third quarter, owing to lower milled grades partially offset by higher throughput.

“As planned, we began the transition of Casa Berardi’s production to surface mining, which lowered production but increased margins,” said Baker.

Hecla is targeting silver production of up to 20-million ounces a year by next year, noted Baker.

“With silver's critical role in energy transition and its application in solar electricity generation, Hecla will play an important role in producing silver as the world’s fastest-growing established silver producer and the dominant producer of silver in the US and, soon, Canada."

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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