- Casa Berardi has expanded the resources that could increase the potential size of the current East Mine Crown Pillar (EMCP) pit and the proposed 106, Principal and West Mine Surface Pillar open pits.
- Underground drilling of the 118, 121 and 123 zones at Casa Berardi continues to discover high-grade mineralization along trends. Surface drilling has defined high-grade extensions of the 160 Zone and south perimeter of the Principal Crown Pillar (123 Zone).
- Drilling of the Lac Germain satellite occurrence adjoining the Casa Berardi Mine has intersected strong, near surface mineralization along trend of the mine mineralization.
- San Sebastian continues to expand high-grade, polymetallic zones similar to the Hugh Zone on the Middle and Francine veins. Additional oxide mineralization is defined along the Professor and East Francine veins.
- Greens Creek exploration drilling continues to expand the resource along East Ore, Upper Plate, Deep 200 South and Deep Southwest mineralized trends.
“In the first quarter we continue to see our strategy of investing in exploration adding value, with considerable exploration success across the portfolio,” said Phillips S. Baker, Jr., President and CEO. “At Casa Berardi, discoveries near surface and at depth continue to reinforce our positive opinion of the long-term potential of the mine, and interesting drill results at the Lac Germain satellite occurrence reinforce that view. We continue to expand both the polymetallic and oxide mineralization zones at San Sebastian, which is important for the future of that project. Finally, drilling at Greens Creek continues to discover high-grade mineralization that could enhance the already exceptional mine economics and mine life. In the second quarter, we plan to initiate drilling programs at Kinskuch in northern British Columbia, Little Baldy in Idaho and on surface at Greens Creek.”
Casa Berardi – Quebec
During the first quarter, six underground drills were used to refine stope designs, expand reserves and resources in the 118, 121, and 123 zones and confirm further potential at depth and to the east and west. Up to four drills on surface completed infill and exploration drilling at the West Mine, Principal, EMCP and 160 Zone. It is anticipated that once the resource is update and pit optimization studies are completed, these results will extend the current EMCP pit to the west, and potentially expanded the proposed Principal and West Mine Surface Pillar pits. This drilling also has identified high-grade zones that extend from the Principal and 160 pits into the underground.
At the Lower 118 Zone, drilling confirmed the continuity of multiple mineralized lenses to the east and at depth outside the current resource boundary. Recent intersections include 0.39 oz/ton gold over 20.7 feet and 0.29 oz/ton gold over 34.1 feet and drilling continues to expand this trend of mineralization. Drilling along the Lower 121 Zone intersected 1.37 oz/ton gold over 1.7 feet at the bottom margin of the resource that appears to link up with stacked lenses of the 123 Zone in the area. Drilling will continue during the second quarter to expand the 121 Zone both at depth and evaluate high-grade extensions to the east to determine if there is a continuous mineralization to the 123 Zone. Below this elevation drilling of the central 123 Zone includes 0.44 oz/ton gold over 46.4 feet and the mineralized zones to the east include an intersection of 0.58 oz/ton gold over 13.8 feet.
Drilling of the 123 Zone below the bottom of the mine returned 0.19 oz/ton gold over 22.9 feet and 3.81 oz/ton gold over 1.9 feet at depth and 0.29 oz/ton gold over 12.0 feet to the west suggesting these mineralized lenses are open. Drilling to the east of the lenses intersected 1.63 oz/ton gold over 18.6 feet and mineralization remains open in that direction. Higher in the mine at the top of the 123 Zone resource, step-out drilling intersected 1.34 oz/ton gold over 7.9 feet and 1.62 oz/ton gold over 5.0 feet in a vein that is along a north-south trend. Drilling of stacked, high-grade lenses of the 123 Zone is defining the connection of multiple mineralized lenses for over 1,800 feet of strike length and over 3,500 feet down-dip below the 1010 level.
Surface and shallow underground drilling have identified extensions of potential pits that are being evaluated for production. Drilling on the west extension of the current EMCP pit has returned 0.07 oz/ton gold over 31.8 feet and 0.05 oz/ton gold over 62.3 feet to define an extension over 750 feet to the west of the current pit outline. Shallow drilling should be completed during the second quarter, and then the resource model will be updated for a final pit design. Surface exploration drilling will follow up on the high-grade mineralized cores that were defined in this campaign and will be evaluated for the underground potential.
Surface drilling of the 160 Zone below the limits of the proposed pit intersected steep west plunging, high-grade veins within a broad mineralized zone. Recent drill intersections include 0.15 oz/ton over 24.6 feet and 0.14 oz/ton over 19.6 feet. This drilling campaign is expected to continue from surface in the second quarter and then switch to underground drilling in the summer to define these prospective zones to depth. Drilling to the south of the proposed crown pillar in the Principal Pit area confirmed continuity and includes intersections of 0.08 oz/ton gold over 18.6 feet and 0.04 oz/ton gold over 42.5 feet. Surface exploration and definition drilling for second quarter will focus on the downward extension of the 129 and 134 zones near the Principal Pit.
Exploration drilling of the West Mine Surface Pillar to the west of the West Shaft intersected a mineralized zone of 0.10 oz/ton gold over 11.2 feet and shows the continuity of mineralization within 800 feet of surface. There is also potential for deeper, high-grade mineralized shoots with underground mining possibilities. The exploration campaign should finish in May and a planned infill program in the crown pillar mining area in the second quarter could define enough mineralization for a future West Mine Crown Pillar pit.
Aggressive surface drilling programs are planned through 2018 at the 123-124 Zone (Principal area), 146/EMCP, West Mine Surface Pillar and 160 zones to define a possible series of open pits along the Casa Berardi Fault. Underground drilling is expected to continue to expand and refine the lower 118, 121 and 123 zones lower in the mine.
More complete drill assay highlights from Casa Berardi can be found in Table A at the end of the release and a presentation showing drill intersection locations is available at the following: http://www.snl.com/interactive/newlookandfeel/4130678/Hecla-Q1-2018ExplorationUpdate.pdf.
Casa Berardi Regional – Quebec
Surface drilling at the Lac Germain prospect, 4.5 miles to the northeast of the Casa Berardi mining lease and along the Casa Berardi Deformation Zone, has intersected gold-bearing, sulfide mineralization in sheared veins within altered banded iron formation and mudstones that could potentially define an inferred resource that is close to surface. Surface drilling to the west of the Casa Berardi Mining Lease has extended mineralization along and north of the Casa Berardi Deformation Zone. Drilling of the Heva prospect, east of the City of Rouyn-Noranda, has identified localized concentrations of veining within broad mineralized halos. All drilling from this season’s program are completed for each of these areas and assays are pending.
San Sebastian - Mexico
During the quarter, up to five core drill rigs operated, including two drills concentrated on infill drilling of the polymetallic zone along the Francine Vein. Three exploration core drills were directed toward expansion of high-grade polymetallic mineralization along the Middle and Francine veins and shallower exploration drilling of oxide mineralization along the Professor and East Francine veins.
On the Francine Vein, drilling continues to intersect high-grade, polymetallic mineralization extending 700 feet to the west and 850 feet east of the current resource for a total of over 5,300 feet of strike length. Recent vein exploration intercepts suggest this polymetallic mineralization is closer to surface to the west (within 500 feet of surface). Recent assay results include 35.3 oz/ton silver, 7.9% copper, 23.5% lead, and 18.5% zinc over 4.4 feet and 10.1 oz/ton silver, 1% copper, 0.7% lead, and 12.8% zinc over 2.6 feet to the west. Drilling will continue to the west and at depth where mineralization is open. Further to the east along the East Francine Vein, areas of oxide mineralization, including intersections of 38.3 oz/ton silver and 0.16 oz/ton gold and over 5.2 feet, are open to the east and up-dip. Drilling is now concentrated on the 1,000 feet of open area that is present between these new intercepts and the previously defined mineralization in the shallower portion of the East Francine Vein resource area.
Exploration drilling of the 97 Zone along the West Middle Vein was directed toward a new zone of high-grade, polymetallic mineralization with similar mineral characteristics as the previously discovered polymetallic mineralization on the Francine Vein. The 97 Zone extends 1,500 feet along strike and 1,100 feet down-dip and is open to the east and at depth. This mineralization is located about 100 to 300 feet below the new Middle Vein underground mine ramp and work on a development drift has begun to facilitate the collection of a bulk sample of the polymetallic mineralization this year. A recent intersection approximately 600 feet below the current underground ramp includes a narrow, but high-grade intercepts of 10.2 oz/ton silver, 3.0% copper, 10.1% lead, and 18% zinc over 4.4 feet and 9.8 oz/ton silver, 3.8% copper, 8.5% lead, and 9.4% zinc over 2.8 feet. This intercept represents the deepest high-grade mineralization at the Middle Vein to date and demonstrates that, like the Francine Vein, polymetallic mineralization also occurs in the deeper (>1,200 feet from surface) portions of the Middle Vein. Drilling of this mineralization along the Middle Vein is expected to continue to depth and to the east.
The Professor Vein is located approximately 300 feet south of the Francine Vein and some ore shoots in this vein are located near a programmed Francine Vein crosscut and could be accessed by extending this ramp. Drilling of this vein includes intersections of 19.1 oz/ton silver and 0.05 oz/ton gold over 5.2 feet and 18.1 oz/ton silver and 0.29 oz/ton gold over 3.5 feet. Drilling continues to expand resources and evaluate polymetallic targets along the Middle and Francine veins and will also evaluate near-surface, oxide mineralization at the East Francine, North and Esperanza veins.
More complete drill assay highlights from San Sebastian can be found in Table A at the end of this release and a presentation showing drill intersection locations is available at the following: http://www.snl.com/interactive/newlookandfeel/4130678/Hecla-Q1-2018ExplorationUpdate.pdf.
Greens Creek – Alaska
At Greens Creek, drilling in the first quarter upgraded and expanded the East Ore, Deep 200 South, Gallagher, East and Upper Plate zone resources. Strong assay results were also received from previous drilling on the East Ore, Upper Plate, Deep 200 South and Deep Southwest zones.
In the East Ore Zone intersections from definition drilling, including 47.2 oz/ton silver, 0.76 oz/ton gold, 23.1% zinc and 12.6% lead over 12.9 feet and 10.2 oz/ton silver, 0.09 oz/ton gold, 8.1% zinc and 4.3% lead over 31.5 feet, compare favorably to previously modeled resource estimates, particularly at higher elevations. Step-out drilling, including an intersection of 23.2 oz/ton silver, 0.02 oz/ton gold, 3.97% zinc and 1.68% lead over 10.4 feet, suggest strong mineralization continues beyond the resource to the south and at depth. Aggressive drilling of the East Ore Zone will continue throughout 2018 and into 2019 targeting the northern extent of the East Ore Zone.
Definition drilling of the southern portion of the Deep 200 South Zone, including 28.9 oz/ton silver, 0.05 oz/ton gold, 2.1% zinc and 1.2% lead over 16.4 feet, confirmed the high-grades and upgraded it to indicated resource. Exploration drilling south of the current resource has extended 200 South Bench mineralization another 400 feet with an intersection of 24.0 oz/ton silver, 0.02 oz/ton gold, 0.9% zinc and 0.5% lead over 31.9 feet. Recent exploration drilling further south suggests the bench mineralization remains robust.
Drilling of the Upper Plate Zone suggests the two, flat-lying ore zones, that are near the mine portal elevation, could be thicker than modeled and higher in elevation toward the west; drilling has also extended mineralization to the west and south. Recent definition drilling includes 32.1 oz/ton silver, 0.18 oz/ton gold, 4.8% zinc and 2.5% lead over 13.8 feet and step out drillholes intersected 15.9 oz/ton silver, 1.7% zinc and 0.9% lead over 4.1 feet over 100 feet south of the current resource. Drilling from underground and surface in the second quarter could expand this resource further.
At the end of the mine drilling targeting the Deep Southwest Zone (extension of the Southwest Zone and 200 South Zone) intersected 22.04 oz/ton silver, 10.18% zinc, and 5.14% lead over 2.49 feet. Drilling of the Gallagher Zone confirmed modeled thicknesses and may have increased the resource by defining mineralization further to the west beyond the current resource. Intersections from this program include 7.2 oz/ton silver, 0.12 oz/ton gold, 10.5% zinc and 5.6% lead over 4.6 feet. Exploration drilling also intersected ore lithologies west of the Gallagher Fault over 750 feet away but on trend. Future drilling is planned to further evaluate this area to see if the current precious metal-rich mineralization transitions into broader and higher-grade precious and base metal-rich mineralization.
Underground drilling will continue to focus on the East Ore, Upper Plate, Deep 200 South zones throughout 2018 with additional drilling targeting the Lower Southwest, Northwest West and Southwest Bench zones. Surface drilling will start in June and will evaluate expansions to the Upper Plate, North Gallagher, Southwest Bench and 5250 zones.
More complete drill assay highlights from Greens Creek can be found in Table A at the end of this release and a presentation showing drill intersection locations is available at the following: http://www.snl.com/interactive/newlookandfeel/4130678/Hecla-Q1-2018ExplorationUpdate.pdf.
Hecla is anticipating a very aggressive exploration program for the remainder of 2018. Drilling in the next quarter should build on successes at or near the mines and programs will be initiated at Kinskuch in northern British Columbia, Little Baldy in Idaho and on surface at Greens Creek. Field programs are also anticipated at Heva-Hosco and Opinaca-Wildcat projects in Quebec.
Founded in 1891, Hecla Mining Company (NYSE:HL) is a leading low-cost U.S. silver producer with operating mines in Alaska, Idaho and Mexico, and is a growing gold producer with an operating mine in Quebec, Canada. The Company also has exploration and pre-development properties in seven world-class silver and gold mining districts in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and an exploration office and investments in early-stage silver exploration projects in Canada.
Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward Looking Statements
Statements made or information provided in this news release that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and "forward-looking information" within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. Words such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “expects”, “intends”, “projects”, “believes”, “estimates”, “targets”, “anticipates” and similar expressions are used to identify these forward-looking statements. The material factors or assumptions used to develop such forward-looking statements or forward-looking information include that the Company’s plans for development and production will proceed as expected and will not require revision as a result of risks or uncertainties, whether known, unknown or unanticipated, to which the Company’s operations are subject.
Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, anticipated, expected or implied. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, metals price volatility, volatility of metals production and costs, litigation, regulatory and environmental risks, operating risks, project development risks, political risks, labor issues, ability to raise financing and exploration risks and results. Refer to the Company's Form 10K and 10-Q reports for a more detailed discussion of factors that may impact expected future results. The Company undertakes no obligation and has no intention of updating forward-looking statements other than as may be required by law.
Qualified Person (QP) Pursuant to Canadian National Instrument 43-101
Dean McDonald, PhD. P.Geo., Senior Vice President - Exploration of Hecla Mining Company, who serves as a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101, supervised the preparation of the scientific and technical information concerning Hecla’s mineral projects in this news release. Information regarding data verification, surveys and investigations, quality assurance program and quality control measures and a summary of sample, analytical or testing procedures for the Greens Creek Mine are contained in a technical report prepared for Hecla titled “Technical Report for the Greens Creek Mine, Juneau, Alaska, USA” effective date March 28, 2013, and for the Lucky Friday Mine are contained in a technical report prepared for Hecla titled “Technical Report on the Lucky Friday Mine Shoshone County, Idaho, USA” effective date April 2, 2014, for the Casa Berardi Mine are contained in a technical report prepared for Hecla titled "Technical Report on the Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve Estimate for the Casa Berardi Mine, Northwestern Quebec, Canada" effective date March 31, 2014 (the "Casa Berardi Technical Report"), and for the San Sebastian Mine are contained in a technical report prepared for Hecla titled "Technical Report for the San Sebastian Ag-Au Property, Durango, Mexico" effective date September 8, 2015. Also included in these four technical reports is a description of the key assumptions, parameters and methods used to estimate mineral reserves and resources and a general discussion of the extent to which the estimates may be affected by any known environmental, permitting, legal, title, taxation, socio-political, marketing or other relevant factors. Copies of these technical reports are available under Hecla's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
The current Casa Berardi drill program was performed on core sawed in half and included the insertion of blanks and standards of variable grade in every 24 core samples. Standards were generally provided by Analytical Solutions Ltd and prepared in 30-gram bags. Samples were sent to the Swastika Laboratories in Swastika, Ontario, a registered accredited laboratory, where they were dried, crushed, and split for gold analysis. Analysis for gold was completed by fire assay with AA finish. Gold over-limits were analyzed by fire assay with gravimetric finish. Data received from the lab were subject to validation using in-built program triggers to identify outside limit blank or standard assays that require re-analysis. Over 5% of the original pulps and rejects are sent for re-assay to ALS Chemex in Val d’Or for quality control.
Dr. McDonald reviewed and verified information regarding drill sampling, data verification of all digitally-collected data, drill surveys and specific gravity determinations relating to the Casa Berardi mine. The review encompassed quality assurance programs and quality control measures including analytical or testing practice, chain-of-custody procedures, sample storage procedures and included independent sample collection and analysis. This review found the information and procedures meet industry standards and are adequate for Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve estimation and mine planning purposes.
|Table A – Assay Results – Q1 2018|
|Casa Berardi (Quebec)|
|Zone||Drill Hole Number||Drill Hole Section||Drill Hole Azm/Dip||Sample From||Sample To||True Width (feet)||Gold (oz/ton)||Depth From Mine Surface (feet)|
|Lower 118 - 990 Area||CBP-0990-046||12180||22/-19||65.0||69.0||11.7||0.38||3307.8|
|Lower 121/123 - 530-550 Area||CBP-0530-380||12368||230/-1||82.0||85.8||7.9||1.34||1729.9|
|Lower 123 - 870-910 Area||CBP-0870-133||12178||224/34||77.0||80.5||8.4||0.23||2670.0|
|Lower 123 - 950 Area||CBP-0950-070||12374||180/1||1.0||5.7||13.8||0.58||3111.7|
|Surface EMCP Pit||CBF-148-056||14434||2/-45||219.0||224.4||13.8||0.15||511.0|
|East Mine 160||CBF-160-071||15867||360/-55||384.0||405.5||69.5||0.05||1031.5|
|Surface - NW-SW Area||CBS-17-817||9858||360/-57||51.0||52.5||3.6||0.10||161.2|
|Surface Principal Area||CBS-18-831||12512.19||360/-45||90.0||108.0||42.5||0.04||222.4|
San Sebastian (Mexico)
|Zone||Drill Hole Number||Sample From (ft)||Sample To (ft)||Width (feet)||True Width (feet)||Gold (oz/ton)||Silver (oz/ton)||Zinc (%)||Lead (%)||Copper (%)|
Greens Creek (Alaska)
|Zone||Drill Hole Number||Drillhole Azm/Dip||Sample From||Sample To||True Width (feet)||Silver (oz/ton)||Gold (oz/ton)||Zinc (%)||Lead (%)||Depth From Mine Portal (feet)|
|Deep 200 South||GC4775||337/-44||213.00||230.00||16.4||28.9||0.05||2.1||1.2||-800|