Hecla Mining Company (NYSE:HL) today provided an update of its exploration and drilling programs during the second quarter.
There were up to 21 drills operating at 5 mines in North America, with spending of $4.2 million, a $3.3 million reduction over the second quarter of 2018. Exploration activity is expected to decline to 12 drills in the third quarter as expenditures are reduced.
Because of the momentum of our exploration program, we have made a number of discoveries of higher-grade material that could impact mine plans next year and extend the mine lives, despite lower spending levels,” said Phillips S. Baker, Jr., president and CEO. “At Casa Berardi underground exploration has been successful on several fronts. In the newly accessed, historically high-grade East Mine, recent half ounce grade intersections have defined a series of lenses over a long strike length. Some of those lenses appear to have potential for bulk mining. Drilling has also defined high-grade extensions in the West Mine. In Mexico, the discovery of additional mineralization on the newly discovered El Toro Vein could extend oxide production. The future of Greens Creek remains bright as we continue to find high-grade mineralization and upgrade resources.”
Casa Berardi – Quebec
During the second quarter, up to six underground drills were used in the East and West mine areas with the goal of upgrading and expanding resources in several promising areas and potentially extending the underground mine production (Figure 1). Up to three surface drills completed in-fill and exploration drilling at the high-grade 128 Zone at depth of the Principal Pit and extensions to the West Mine Crown Pillar (WMCP) to the west and the eastern potential of the 160 Pit.
The East Mine has a history of high-grade mine production. Since access has been re-established in the last six months, underground drilling confirmed and expanded a series of high-grade lenses from the 148 to 160 zones. Recent drill intersections in the 148 Zone include 0.45 oz/ton gold over 16.1 feet, 0.65 oz/ton gold over 22.3 feet and 0.63 oz/ton gold over 26.6 feet (Figure 2). Drill intersections in the last couple of weeks continue to show quartz veins with some visible gold grains that suggest the lenses remain open at depth. Exploration drilling of the 152 Zone is evaluating the down-plunge potential of the area between the 148 and 160 zones. A series of steeply plunging, high-grade lenses were defined by recent intersections of 0.50 oz/ton gold over 5.9 feet, 0.48 oz/ton gold over 2.8 feet and 0.37 oz/ton gold over 9.8 feet. Results of this drilling suggest the lenses are en echelon (along strike and down-dip) and may represent a series of zones similar to what has been observed in the 123 Zone.
Definition drilling continues in the upper part of the East Mine and has defined multiple lenses that include discrete quartz veins and massive sulfide styles of mineralization that contain good gold grades. Recent intersections in the 160 Zone include 0.67 oz/ton over 7.2 feet, and 0.42 oz/t gold over 4.8 feet and suggest mineralization is steeply plunging to the west and at depth. Exploration drilling east of the 160 Pit has intersected mineralization that may extend the resource to the east.
Drilling at depth in the Principal area of the West Mine focused on the western extension of the 118 Zone (Figure 3). This drilling has confirmed the continuity of multiple mineralized lenses to the west and at depth outside the current resource boundary. Recent intersections, including 0.25 oz/ton gold over 9.8 feet and 0.19 oz/ton gold over 9.3 feet, suggest an extension of the resources over 400 feet below the 1200-level at depth and to the west. There is potential at depth for the 113 Zone to intersect or link with the 118 Zone to the east. In the lower part of the 123 Zone, in-fill and step-out drilling from the 1010 and 1030-levels to the west shows the continuity of high-grade mineralization down-plunge for over 400 feet and remains open to the west and at depth. Recent intersections include 0.35 oz/ton gold over 32.0 feet. In the Upper Principal Zone of the mine, drilling from the 290-level confirmed the upward extension of the 124 Zone with an intersection of 0.25 oz/ton over 6.9 feet.
Drilling from surface below the proposed Principal Pit in the 128 Zone has defined a series of high-grade, steeply plunging lenses south of the Casa Berardi Fault that have been defined vertically for over 600 feet and extend from surface to below the 290 Level. These drill holes contain quartz veining with sulfides and localized visible gold. Recent drill intersections include assay intervals of 0.78 oz/ton gold over 7.9 feet and 1.15 oz/ton gold over 5.6 feet (Figure 3). Step-out drilling suggests the high-grade mineralization is open at depth to the west and near-surface to the east.
A small surface drill program at the WMCP, included an intersection of 0.03 oz/ton gold over 68.9 feet that shows mineralization extends west of the current WMCP Pit. Within these broad mineralized zones there are higher-grade intervals including 0.19 oz/ton gold over 8.5 feet and 0.26 oz/ton gold over 3.3 feet. This drilling is part of an update of resources and pit optimizations of the series of pits across the Casa Berardi property (Figure 4). During the third quarter, drilling is planned in the Principal area and East Mine to follow on the recent successes below the proposed open pits. In the fourth quarter, exploration is planned to evaluate the west down-plunge of the lower 118 Zone and the depth extensions of the 128 and 148 zones.
The purchase of the Dieppe Claims to the west of the Casa Berardi Mine from Agnico Eagle Mines has been concluded. The Dieppe East Block consists of eight claims that cover 219.0 hectares (0.85 square miles) and the Dieppe West Block consists of 44 claims for 1,836.44 hectares (7.1 square miles) for a total of 52 claims for 2,055.47 hectares (7.9 square miles) (Figure 5). This acquisition is important because it will add another 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) to the Casa Berardi deformation corridor that is the loci of many orebodies.
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 by copying and pasting the following URL into your Internet browser: http://ir.hecla-mining.com//interactive/newlookandfeel/4130678/Hecla_Q2-2019_ExplorationUpdate.pdf.