The company has initiated re-opening studies of mines that operated within the last 25 years in price environments that were significantly lower than current prices. There are currently a number of identified resources with good exploration potential – the Bulldog and the Equity-North Amethyst mines in Colorado’s Creede Mining District, the Hugh Zone/Andrea Vein at San Sebastian in Durango, Mexico, and the Star Complex in North Idaho’s Silver Valley. These re-opening studies will quantify existing resources, expand those resources with exploration and develop plans for rehabilitating accesses that could support both exploration and operations. Activities are under way that will provide access for underground drilling at the Bulldog mine and eventual mine planning and production.
Pre-development activities in 2013 will focus on completing scoping work and preliminary economic evaluations to potentially re-open the San Juan Silver and San Sebastian properties which would contribute to Hecla’s goal of 50% silver production growth over the next five years. Based upon the current plan in 2013, the pre-development budget is expected to be approximately $21.0 million.