At its 100%-owned Casa Berardi gold mine in Quebec, underground exploration has been successful on several fronts.
In the newly accessed, historically high-grade East mine, recent half-ounce intersections had defined a series of lenses over a long strike length, some of which appeared to have potential for bulk mining, CEO Phillips Baker Jr said.
These lenses had defined a strike length of more than 610m and may be added to the 2020 production plan.
Underground drilling in the West mine continues to define high-grade mineralised trends down-plunge, near the bottom of the mine and along strike. The large, potentially bulk-mineable area beneath the proposed 160 openpit also continues to expand.
Hecla also said the recent acquisition of the Dieppe claims from Agnico Eagle to the west of Casa Berardi added another 10km to the Casa Berardi deformation corridor.
In Mexico, Hecla exposed more mineralisation on the newly discovered El Toro vein at San Sebastian. The discovery has the potential to extend the project's oxide mine life, since mineralisation has been traced over 1,220m, 160m from surface.
At the Greens Creek mine in Alaska, Hecla has confirmed and expanded the high-grade resources in the upper and central parts of the mine with in-fill drilling comparing well in thickness and location to existing trends. Drilling in the southern part of the mine on the 200 south zone is evaluating southern extensions to the mineralised trends.
"The future of Greens Creek remains bright as we continue to find high-grade mineralisation and upgrade resources," Baker Jr said.
Meanwhile, development activity at Fire Creeek in Nevada has highlighted areas at Spiral 2, Spiral 4 and Spiral 9 for near-term production, including high-grade intersections in Spiral 2 and 4 which are currently being evaluated.
Hecla reported drilling in Spiral 4 confirmed mineralisation along the margins of steeply dipping dikes, while surface drilling on Fire Creek and the Hollister mine's Hatter Graben mineralisation is currently underway. The company also discovered several large outcrops of silicified vein material east of the Hatter Graben showing along trend.
Hecla said there were up to 21 drills operating at its five mines in North America during the June-quarter, working on an exploration budget of US$4.2 million. This figure was $3.3 million lower than in the second quarter of 2018 and exploration activity is expected to decline to 12 drills in the third quarter as the company tightens the purse strings.
The company has guided for 2019 production of 10.1Moz silver and 274,000oz gold.
Despite some recent equity gains on the back of a higher gold price, Hecla's New York-quoted (NYSE:HL) shares are at $1.98 down 35% over the past 12 months and down 14% in the year to date, valuing the company at $972.46 million.