Hecla’s ongoing reserve replacement program this past year succeeded again with year-end 2014 proven and probable silver reserve levels reaching the highest level in Company history, increasing for the 9th consecutive year, up 1.9% over December 31, 2013, to 173 million silver ounces. In addition, measured and indicated silver resources increased by 10.3% over December 31, 2013, to 165 million ounces of silver while inferred resources increased by 2.5% to 146 million ounces of silver. The Casa Berardi mine in Quebec contains 1.34 million ounces of gold reserves.
Last year’s exploration program included the following highlights:
- Silver proven and probable reserves were up 1.9% to a company record 173 million ounces. In addition, total indicated silver resources total 165 million ounces, and total inferred silver resources total 146 million ounces.
- Proven and probable gold reserves decreased by 1.5% to 2.1 million ounces. Measured and indicated resources were unchanged at 4.7 million ounces of gold and inferred resources increased 7.2% to 1.9 million ounces of gold.
- At Lucky Friday, there was of 2.1% increase in proven and probable silver reserves to 78.9 million ounces this year. The total measured and indicated resources increased 7.7% to 125 million silver ounces, while inferred resources decreased 25% to 41.2 million silver ounces.
- After replacing 2014 production at Greens Creek, both silver and gold reserves increased in spite of using reduced metals prices for the calculation. This replacement of precious metal reserves at Greens Creek has been a trend that has continued for the last 11 years. The primary addition came from the net conversion of 575,500 tons of resource material to reserve, mostly in the Deep 200 South, 200 South and Northwest West (NWW) zones.
- At Casa Berardi, there was a loss of 4.1% in the proven and probable reserve to 1.34 million gold ounces. Estimates of measured and indicated resources decreased by 5.0% to 1.35 million gold ounces, and inferred resources increased by 0.5% to 604,100 gold ounces.
- At San Sebastian, the East Francine Vein has an inaugural silver equivalent indicated resource of 4.5 million ounces at an average grade of 0.22 oz/ton gold and 64.1 oz/ton silver and an inferred resource of 2.6 million silver equivalent ounces at an average grade of 0.20 oz/ton gold and 18.5 oz/ton silver.
Discoveries on Hecla’s district-sized, high-quality land packages in the United States, Canada and Mexico are anticipated to generate resources, which we hope to convert into reserves and then production – all leading to valuable organic growth for the company.