Jump in 3Q earnings, dividend announced by Hecla

Hecla Mining, operator of Greens Creek mine on Admiralty Island, reported third quarter earnings this week. Company officials say higher metals prices this year are responsible for increased third quarter revenue and more cash flow. The first-ever dividend linked to the price of silver is also going out this month.

Total sales for the third quarter of 2011 were up slightly to $120.5 million. The amount of cash flow was nearly $61 million. Net income for the quarter was $55.8 million, or about $0.20 a share. That’s easily twice the net income for third quarter of 2010 at nearly $19.8 million. Earnings after adjustments were $35.4 million, or $0.13 a share.

Hecla Board of Directors also announced this week the first quarterly silver price-linked dividend. It’s $0.20 a share based on the average silver price last quarter of $37.02 an ounce. It’ll be paid out November 29th to shareholders-of-record on November 18th.

Production at Greens Creek, considered one of the top silver producers in the country, is down this year compared to last year. About 1.4 million ounces for the third quarter of 2011 and 4.5 million ounces for the first nine months of this year. Mining and milling costs are up this year because of lower ore volume and higher electricity costs, blamed in part to lower precipitation that feeds Juneau’s hydroelectric facilities.

Hecla also operates the Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho. Production of 2.5 million ounces so far this year is identical to last year’s production levels.

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