Since 1891, Hecla Mining Company has distinguished itself as a respected precious metals producer. Our code of conduct demonstrates our commitment and standards of ethics and integrity in every aspect of our business.
Hecla operates in the lowest risk-rated jurisdictions with the most robust regulatory frameworks for environmental compliance, health and safety protections, community engagement, and corporate governance. For example, Alaska, Nevada and Idaho were named by the Fraser Institute as being among the top 10 jurisdictions in the Investment Attractiveness Index in the world.
88% of company production comes from Canada and the United States which are rated #12 and #23 respectively in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.
Hecla Québec, as a member of the Mining Association of Canada and Québec Mining Association, is complying with the required Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative which is recognized as one of the best in class mining management systems.
As Hecla is a publicly traded company, our CEO and senior officers are held to an especially high set of ethical standards as described in our Code of Ethics.
Hecla’s Code of Conduct demonstrates our commitment to seeking and delivering best practices in ethics and integrity in every aspect of our business. Our directors and employees are required to abide by our Code of Conduct to promote the conduct of our business in a consistently legal and ethical manner. We expect our leaders to set the example by being a role model in every respect, and all those with supervisory responsibility to exercise that responsibility in a manner that is caring, receptive, considerate, and respectful.
The Governance Committee has adopted procedures to receive, retain, and react to complaints received regarding possible violations of the Code of Conduct, and to allow for the confidential and anonymous submission by employees of concerns regarding possible violations. Our employees may submit any concerns regarding apparent violations of the Code of Conduct to their supervisor, our General Counsel, the Chair of the Governance Committee, or through an anonymous telephone hotline.
The Board of Directors, directly and through the Governance Committee, seeks to maintain corporate governance practices that are aligned with our strategic, financial and operational goals. We do this by conducting processes at least annually to evaluate, optimize, and update governance guidelines, including a director resignation policy and majority voting for director elections. Our Corporate Governance Guidelines also provide shareholders with the best-practice principles of our corporate governance program and board framework. Board committees have written charters that clearly establish their respective roles and responsibilities and are composed exclusively of independent directors. The Governance Committee oversees and conducts an annual performance evaluation of our board. The Health, Safety, Environment and Technology Committee oversees associated risks and strategic plans and progress to ensure the sustainability of our operations and social license.
The primary responsibility of the Compensation Committee, which consists entirely of independent members of the Board of Directors, is to oversee executive compensation decisions. The pay-for-performance philosophy of Hecla’s executive compensation program plays a significant role in its ability to produce strong operating, exploration, strategic, and financial results. Review our proxy statement to learn more.
Hecla is actively engaged with state and federal trade associations via membership and leadership roles. Our President and CEO, Phillips S. Baker, Jr., is currently chairman of the National Mining Association’s Board of Directors, and Hecla has representatives on governing committees of the Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Mining Association of Canada and Québec Mining Associations.
Common stockholders are allowed to vote on important issues, and we actively seek their feedback. In addition, during 2019, Hecla reached out to 50 of our top shareholders to help us understand expectations of performance, maintain transparency and share corporate governance and compensation policies. Some tangible examples of the results of our 2019 shareholder outreach activities include:
- Enhanced disclosure on our pay-for-performance;
- Continued to update and strengthen our ESG reporting and metrics on our website and in other publicly available materials, and enhanced disclosure on our ESG efforts; and
- Included more disclosure on enterprise risk management for Board and Committee oversight.
Other corporate governance topics discussed in our shareholder outreach program included board diversity and refreshment. In response, we added two new directors in 2016, and one new director in 2017, thereby reducing the average tenure of the Board. We also have several directors who are within one to two years of retirement age and will not be standing for reelection at the end of their respective terms, thus allowing us to refresh the Board further within the next few years.
Hecla is committed to respecting and observing all human rights along the value chain. We do not tolerate any infringement on the human rights of our employees, workers in our supply chain and members of the communities where we operate. We also expect everyone who works for us, either as an employee, contractor or as a supplier to respect the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility throughout our supply chain and to act responsibly and ethically to respect each individual’s human rights when doing business on our behalf. We regularly engage with our stakeholders, including members of our local communities and indigenous peoples, to address concerns, including human rights. Our operations are based in North America and we operate in jurisdictions that are highly rated by the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of mineral and mining companies for following the most stringent regulatory frameworks for environmental compliance, health and safety protections, community engagement, and corporate governance. We also operate in areas that have been rated by the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for low corruption. In addition, our operations are not located in or near areas of conflict, and have low risk for child labor, human trafficking, and modern slavery. We fully support child labor laws and do not hire anyone not above the minimum required age to be employed in each jurisdiction in which we operate. Our human rights commitment and performance is governed by Hecla’s Board of Directors.
At Hecla, our Integrated Corporate Responsibility Policy begins with the belief that a safe mine is a productive mine – and that we will strive to guard the safety and health of both our employees and our communities. Second, we will be responsible environmental stewards who strive to minimize the effects of exploration, development, and operations – and then reclaim our projects to productive post-mining land uses. Third, we believe that by becoming responsive to community needs, we’re able to build trust and relationships that foster our social license to operate. This encompasses taking a mutually beneficial approach to issues affecting the communities where we operate, treating others with respect, and engaging in open and honest communication. Each of these aspects is considered key to our core business strategy and continued profitability and will therefore be fully integrated into our business planning.
In the 2019 Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies, Alaska, Nevada and Idaho were named among the top 10 jurisdictions in the Investment Attractiveness Index in the world.
The Audit Committee assists the Board of Directors in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities – the integrity of the financial statements, the independent auditor’s qualifications and independence, the performance of the internal audit function, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements (including disclosure controls and procedures), and the effectiveness of the internal controls over financial reporting.
We have a Whistleblower Policy adopted by our Audit Committee that encourages our employees to report to appropriate Company representatives, without fear of retaliation, certain accounting information relating to possible fraud. Our employees may submit any concerns regarding financial statement disclosures, accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters to the Audit Committee, our General Counsel, or through an anonymous telephone hotline or website. The goal of this policy is to discourage illegal activity and business conduct that damages Hecla’s reputation, business interests, and our relationship with shareholders.