The gold miner headquartered in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, also provided an updated cash balance, which was $213 million at the end of March. This is an improvement from the previous quarter's $198.89 million and also an improvement from the comparable quarter of 2016. At that time, the company reported a quarterly decrease in cash and securities of $21 million.
Phillips S. Baker Jr., Hecla Mining's president and CEO, commented on the liquidity improvement, saying “strong operating performance allowed us to add $14 million of cash since the end of the year, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of increasing cash balances.”
The production for the quarter at Greens Creek mine (1.9 million ounces of silver and 14,022 ounces of gold) and at San Sebastian mine (750,803 ounces of silver and 6,284 ounces of gold) surpassed the company's expectations. Production at these two mines offest the production lost at Lucky Friday (680,782 ounces of silver versus 977,084 ounces of silver produced in the comparable period a year ago), where there was a union workers strike.
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The company expected lower production from a year ago due to lower grade ore bodies.
As a result of increased throughput at its open-pit operations at Casa Berardi in Quebec, Canada, Hecla produced 35,807 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2017, a 17.9% increase from the comparable quarter of 2016. Even though the latter determined higher cost of sales, Hecla's cash cost per ounce declined 73% from the first quarter of 2016 to 84 cents per silver ounce.
In 2017, the company expects to produce between 14 million ounces and 15.5 million ounces of silver and between 230,000 ounces and 250,000 ounces of gold. Silver-equivalent output is forecasted to range between 46.5 million and 49.4 million ounces, which would represent an average 4% increase from the output in 2016.
The company will report its financial results for the first quarter on May 8.
The stock is trading around $5.55 per share on the New York Stock Exchange with a price-sales (P/S) ratio of 3.41 and a price-book (P/B) ratio of 1.49. The EV/EBITDA ratio is 10.62.
Disclosure: I have no position in Hecla Mining Co.
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