Why Mining Matters

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Around the world, mineral resources and metals are the cornerstone of establishing and maintaining standards of living in countries and communities of all sizes. Hecla is often among the largest private-sector employers in the rural areas where our long-lived mines are located, and our company takes pride in mining the minerals that are an essential part of everyday life.

Mined minerals are used to construct roads, hospitals, and critical infrastructure; they are the foundation of renewable energy technologies; they are used in transportation and aviation; they provide and facilitate essential energy sources; and they are indispensable components of technology and consumer goods from cell phones and computers to appliances and toys. Hecla applies deep geologic experience and embraces innovation to safely and efficiently operate mines that produce these essential metals.

Not surprisingly, the mining industry is an important economic driver, especially in the United States. As home to one of the world’s most robust reserves of natural resources, the U.S. is a leading consumer and exporter of critical mineral commodities, most notably silver and gold. In fact, Hecla is the largest primary silver producer in the United States and is a growing gold producer.

As an industry and as a company, we also have a responsibility to not only manage these resources responsibly, but to also take steps to ensure that the extraction and conveyance of those resources is safe, responsible, and efficient. Hecla operates in the jurisdictions with the most robust regulatory frameworks for environmental compliance, health and safety protections, community engagement, and corporate governance.

Learn more about how these metals work, how they impact our daily lives, and what we must to do to ensure that Hecla and others can continue to discover, extract, produce, and market these minerals for years to come.

The Importance of Minerals

Gold is durable to the point of virtual indestructibility, highly malleable, and usually found in nature in a comparatively pure form. It does not corrode or tarnish, and it is an excellent conductor of electricity.

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Silver is the most electrically conductive element, and it is also has the highest thermal conductivity of any element. This is why silver is used in electronic components such as wires, switches, and printed circuit boards.

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Global population growth, and the fact that the renewable energy sector needs a significant amount of minerals for their energy resources and products means there will be an even greater demand for mineral resources.

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The gold we mine is used in memory chips found in phones and in many places in the standard desktop or laptop computer. In fact, every time you type an e-mail on your computer, gold circuits relay the keyboard data to the microprocessor.

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Why Metals Work

Silver and gold are known as precious metals because they are scarce relative to other minerals and they have high economic value. In addition to their historic uses as currency, jewelry, and outward signs of wealth, the value of silver and gold to modern life is directly tied to their unique and important properties as metals.

Silver conducts electricity and heat at higher levels and more efficiently than any other metal. It is more reflective at most temperatures than any other metal, and it can be combined with metals such as nickel or palladium to form important alloys. Chemically speaking, silver is one of the most noble minerals, meaning it is one of the least chemically reactive of elements.

Gold is one of the densest metals of all, and it is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Gold is also soft and the most malleable ductile of the elements: one ounce of gold (28 grams) can be beaten out to 187 square feet (about 17 square meter) in extremely thin sheets called gold leaf. In additional to being extremely workable, gold does not tarnish or corrode. Learn more…

  • Silver Keeps Engines Safe
  • Silver as the Power Behind Household Items
  • Top Conductor: If It Has an On/Off Button, It Probably Contains Silver or Gold
  • Reflections at Home and in Outer Space
  • Silver and Gold’s Powerful Contributions to Medicine
  • Silver as a Solder for Stronger, Safer Joints
  • Silver and Gold as a Lubricant
How Metals are Put to Work

From the moment you hit the alarm to wake up in the morning until you turn off the light to go to bed at night, your daily life is touched and powered by metals and minerals. Silver and gold are embedded in essential electronics such as cell phones and computers. They are components of important medicines and medical devices. And they are a vital part of renewable energy sources and emerging technology that are defining America’s future. Learn more…

  • Minerals are a Key Ingredient for Renewable Energy Resources
  • Silver and Your Car: More Than Attractive Exterior Color
  • Strong and Flexible – Silver Does it All
  • The Lasting Strength of Silver
  • Silver and Water Purification: An Ancient Solution Applied to Modern Problems
  • Silver and Gold’s Powerful Contributions to Medicine
  • Dig Deeper: Facts about Silver and Gold
  • The Gold Standard Goes Beyond Currency
  • Prized but Practical – the Many Uses of Gold
  • Going for Gold: Shining Examples of a Versatile Metal
  • Why Gold: History, Legacy, and Future of the World’s Most Precious Metal
Keep Metals Working

Every day, economies around the world seek solutions to meet energy, infrastructure, and technology demands of their growing populations. Minerals and metals are essential to meeting those demands, and America’s abundant natural resources play an important role in fulfilling domestic and foreign needs. Still, policy here at home often disrupts or prevents efficient exploration, access, and supply chain management that enables getting these important to market. As a result, the U.S. is in a position to rely other countries for critical minerals, yet those countries do not have the stringent labor, safety, and environmental standards. This negatively impact jobs and economic opportunity in America. Learn more…

  • Winning the Clean Energy Race Means Making Mining a Priority
  • It’s Time to Take Action to Protect the Critical Mineral Supply Chain
  • Positive Forecast for Silver Demand
  • Global Demand for Gold is Steady and Diverse
  • U.S. Needs to Develop our Critical Mineral Supply Chain
  • Minerals that Keep Americans Safe