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Hecla Mining reports higher earnings

Hecla Mining Co. on April 28 reported net income of $21.8 million for the first quarter compared to $7.3 million a year earlier, the Coeur d’Alene-based company said in a release. After dividend to holders of preferred stock, the company reported net income applicable to common shareholders of $18.4 million, or 8 cents per basic share, compared to $3.9 million in the first quarter of 2009. The mandatory convertible preferred stock must be converted to common stock in January.

Strong revenues and lower unit costs drove results in the recent quarter, President and CEO Phillips S. Baker, Jr., said. Average prices for all metals were above year-earlier levels. From the fourth quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2010, average prices for silver and lead were lower, and average prices for zinc and gold were higher.

Hecla said it produced 2.5 million ounces of silver in the first quarter of 2010 at a cash cost of minus- $3.03 per ounce, after by-product credits. That compared to 2.9 million ounces of silver in the first quarter of 2009 at a cash cost of $4.67 per ounce and 2.4 million ounces of silver in the fourth quarter of 2009 at a cash cost of minus- $2 per ounce. Lower cash costs in the first quarter of 2010 from the year-earlier period reflect higher prices for by-product credits and increased production of zinc and lead, Hecla said. Silver production in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2009 was lower due to normal variation in the mine plan, resulting in lower silver grades at both mines, the company said. Hecla operates the Greens Creek silver mine in Alaska and the Lucky Friday silver mine in northern Idaho.



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