Hecla acquired the Rock Creek project in June 2015 with the acquisition of Revett Mining Company. The Rock Creek project is located approximately five miles northeast of Noxon, Sanders County, Montana (about 50 miles north of the Lucky Friday mine in Idaho).
The project as proposed will encompass approximately 481 acres and be developed in two phases: (1) the construction and development of the evaluation adit, approximately 20 acres, and (2) the development of the mine and construction of the mill facilities. The evaluation program will further define the technical and economic aspects of the project and result in a feasibility study. Presuming a positive feasibility study, and the receipt of the necessary construction permits, Hecla intends to develop Rock Creek as an underground room and pillar mine with conventional crushing and flotation processing.
Consistent with Hecla’s core values, protection of the environment and wildlife is paramount and the Rock Creek Grizzly Bear Mitigation plan will contribute to both the protection and recovery of the species.
Information with respect to inferred resources is set forth below.
|(As of December 31, 2020 unless otherwise noted)|
|(000)||(oz/ton)||(oz/ton)||(%)||(%)||(%)||(000 oz)||(000 oz)||(Tons)||(Tons)||(Tons)|
|Inferred Resources (1)||100,086||1.5||–||–||–||0.7||148,736||–||–||–||658,680|
- (footnotes)(1) Inferred resource at Rock Creek reported at a minimum thickness of 15.0 feet and a cut-off grade of $24.50/ton NSR and adjusted given mining restrictions as defined by U.S. Forest Service – Kootenai National Forest in the June 2003 ‘Record of Decision, Rock Creek Project’.
Reporting requirements in the United States for disclosure of mineral properties as of December 31, 2020 and earlier are governed by the SEC’s Securities Act Industry Guide 7, entitled “Description of Property by Issuers Engaged or to be Engaged in Significant Mining Operations” (Guide 7). Effective January 1, 2021, the SEC has issued new rules rescinding Guide 7. Mining companies are not required to comply with the new rules until the first fiscal year beginning on or after January 1, 2021. Thus, the Company will be required to comply with the new rules when filing its Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021. The Company is also a “reporting issuer” under Canadian securities laws, which require estimates of mineral resources and reserves to be prepared in accordance with Canadian National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101). NI 43-101 requires all disclosure of estimates of potential mineral resources and reserves to be disclosed in accordance with its requirements. Such Canadian information is included herein to satisfy the Company’s “public disclosure” obligations under Regulation FD of the SEC and to provide U.S. holders with ready access to information publicly available in Canada.
Reporting requirements in the United States for disclosure of mineral properties under Guide 7 compared to the new SEC rules (Item 1300 of Regulation S-K under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934) and the requirements in Canada under NI 43-101 standards are substantially different. This document contains a summary of certain estimates of the Company, not only of Proven and Probable reserves within the meaning of Guide 7, but also of mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates estimated in accordance with the new SEC rules and definitional standards of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum referred to in NI 43-101. Under Guide 7, the term “reserve” means that part of a mineral deposit that can be economically and legally extracted or produced at the time of the reserve determination. The term “economically”, as used in the definition of reserve, means that profitable extraction or production has been established or analytically demonstrated to be viable and justifiable under reasonable investment and market assumptions. The term “legally”, as used in the definition of reserve, does not imply that all permits needed for mining and processing have been obtained or that other legal issues have been completely resolved. However, for a reserve to exist, Hecla must have a justifiable expectation, based on applicable laws and regulations, that issuance of permits or resolution of legal issues necessary for mining and processing at a particular deposit will be accomplished in the ordinary course and in a timeframe consistent with Hecla’s current mine plans. The terms “Measured resources”, “Indicated resources,” and “Inferred resources” are mining terms as defined in accordance with the new SEC rules and NI 43-101. These terms are not defined under Guide 7 and prior to January 1, 2021, were not normally permitted to be used in reports and registration statements filed with the SEC in the United States, except where required to be disclosed by foreign law. The term “resource” does not equate to the term “reserve”. Under Guide 7, the material described herein as “Indicated resources” and “Measured resources” would be characterized as “mineralized material” and is permitted to be disclosed in tonnage and grade only, not ounces. The category of “inferred resources” is not recognized by Guide 7. Investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of the mineral deposits in such categories will ever be converted into Proven or Probable reserves. “Resources” have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence, and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of such a “resource” will ever be upgraded to a higher category or will ever be economically extracted. Investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of a “resource” exists or is economically or legally mineable. Investors are also especially cautioned that the mere fact that such resources may be referred to in ounces of silver and/or gold, rather than in tons of mineralization and grades of silver and/or gold estimated per ton, is not an indication that such material will ever result in mined ore which is processed into commercial silver or gold.
The U.S. Forest Service issued its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in late June 2017. In 2018, a Record of Decision (ROD) was issued by the US Forest Service in response to litigation completed in 2011.
The Revett acquisition also brought the Troy mine to Hecla, which was put on care-and-maintenance by Revett and is now currently undergoing reclamation.